Pax Indica – C Raja Mohan’s view

India has no choice but to get pro-active in South Asia

Indian strategic commentators are warming up to Pax Indica. JNU professor C Raja Mohan echoes The Acorn in this op-ed, revealing by the way, that India’s response was partly responsible for the end of the blockade of Kathmandu by Maoist rebels.

…most difficult, will be to develop the political gumption in New Delhi to insist on positive political change within the neighbourhood. The crisis in Nepal cannot be addressed through military means alone. Unless India brings sufficient pressure on King Gyanendra to end his futile effort to strengthen his own power, push the political parties to get their act together, and initiate serious internal reform, the Maoists will continue to gain the upper hand. In Bangladesh, too, India must press the two main political parties to end their bitter rivalry, which has allowed the growth of extremist forces in that country. And in the Maldives, New Delhi must warn President Gayoom to either shape up through democratisation or ship out.

Non-intervention in the internal affairs of the neighbouring countries is indeed a sensible proposition. Yet given the deepening crises in the region and the long-term consequences of state failure, India might have no option but to develop a pro-active policy to encourage internal political change within the subcontinent. That is part of the burden of being a responsible power in the international system. India will have to develop both the instruments of persuasion as well as define the limits to its use of force in the region. [The Hindu]

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