Alternative Regional Strategy for India: A Charm Offensive to Win the Hearts and Minds
Given the social inequalities and political instability, India is likely to face a neighbourhood, which is either failing or with substantial ungovernable spaces in its backyard. Though India is not involved in the internal problems in its neighbourhood, the possibility that regimes that emerge out of the instability blaming India, remains high. Even now , anti-Indian sentiments seem to have become an ideology that could unite the different groups within, and even provide some legitimacy to unpopular regimes.
In South Asia, according to the latest annual report on the Failed States Index (2010), published by the Fund for Peace, except for India, Bhutan and Maldives, other countries figures highly on the list of potential failed states. While Pakistan and Afghanistan figure amongst the top ten, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal and Sri Lanka figure in the top 30 among a list of 177 countries.
Cleary, India is in the midst of a region, with states surrounding it facing state failure. India is, in fact, surrounded by a ring of fire. What can New Delhi do about this? How can India ensure, that instability in its neighbourhood, does not spill into its own borders? How can India protect its own territory from instability, and secure its interests in the region? Recently, the Brookings Institution has undertaken a study, on how the US could manage global insecurity and protect its interests. India should also look into, how it could manage the regional insecurity in South Asia and protect its own interests.