Scattered concerns mulled over by leaders of emerging countries, changes and conflicts being dealt with and ideals of the masses being deliberated and exploited. The current conditions in South Asia could be considered analogous to the parables of the Game of Thrones.
The conditions that we are highlighting relate to the constant feuds between the nations which aren’t that unusual but are still increasing due to the rise of centralizing authoritarians – each of whom has strong support in their respective nations and each of whom has a chip on their shoulder.
The geo-political status quo of the subcontinent was recently brought into light through the happenings in Doklam, the Rohingya crisis and the ousting of the Pakistani premier. All these developments apart from the rather skewed and radical perspectives of the masses signal towards more tumultuous times for the future of a few nations.
For the sake of argument, we will include China as a nation of concern in this argument since it is now pretty much involved in the dynamics of Southern Asia.
Nationalism and the Scrounge for regional dominance
In 2014 India witnessed a drastic change in the usually dull, coalition-fueled politics of the nation. Narendra Modi was elected as the country’s Prime Minister as he rode on the aspirations and hopes of the populace.
Now, apart from the clichéd promises in the manifesto of the party, Modi ensured a period of consolidation for the country’s security and strategic policies. The Prime Minister stormed Delhi and subsequently the international arena in 2014 propelling India once again to the centre stage in world affairs bringing some decisiveness in governance.
But these aspects also brought a stronger viewpoint of the nation which revolved around protecting the sovereignty of the nation. That of course had to come at the cost of tense relations between India and its bully neighbor. China obviously couldn’t shy away from its projected stance as the most powerful nation in the country – especially when there was a new kid on the block to bully into submission.
However, China perceived the developments didn’t really matter in the next years since the People’s Liberation Army of China went into a proxy war mode by supporting the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor and refusing to incriminate known terrorists funded by Pakistan.
Nevertheless, these events culminated to an anti-climactic situation through the Doklam crisis where the efforts of the PLA to stifle the Chicken’s neck were stalled by the Indian Army.
These events brought another aspect into play – the fight for regional dominance wasn’t lopsided anymore.
Global Implications – Trade and the UN
Changes brought on by the stand-offs between the nations armies are reflected in brevity in the cultural, diplomatic and trade based relations. The occasional snub at an international summit or calling off sports-based ties seems cut on the surface but actually involves several layers of diplomacy and loss of many years of work.
Furthermore, there are several trade based implications for the international community where the relations between the sub-continental nations affect the monetary status of several companies around the world. This can be attributed to the fact that there are at most five to eight emerging (would be) economies in the region – in addition to the gargantuan purchasing powers of China and India.
The geopolitics of South Asia has become more complex and more unpredictable. The evolution of all nations in concern and increasing interest of outside powers is bringing new folds into the subcontinent’s innate plays. The rising competitive dynamics between India, Pakistan and China along with the transforming stances of Nepal, Myanmar and Bangladesh are bound to affect India.
Therefore, these shifting dynamics carry not only the seeds of potential conflict but also the hope for greater cooperation among regional powers. That said these issues and changes cannot be shortchanged by the Indian government. Hence it is necessary for our nation to recalibrate its assertions and policies to leverage the current roiled geo-politics of the subcontinent.