In the midst of tremendous security and other challenges in South Asia, India is being seen as a great hope for the region because of its ability to use its economic and human potential to drive regional trade and development , says a US think tank report.
”India is also an increasingly important factor in the region as geopolitical forces begin to reshape its importance to Asia, and the United States and India will grow closer than ever in their history,” says the National Intelligence Council in its just released ”Global Trends’ report said. ”Geopolitically, the region’s greatest hope is India’s ability to use its economic and human potential to drive regional trade and development,” says the National Intelligence Council in its just released ”Global Trends’ report taking view of next five years.
At the same time, the report takes note of Afghanistan’s ”uncertain prospects, extremism and violence in Pakistan, and the ever-present risk of war between India and Pakistan” as probably the greatest challenge to unlocking the region’s potential.
It said that persistent problems like violent extremism and tension between its two nuclear powers, India and Pakistan, the region’s global relevance was changing, as Iran opens up economically after sanctions relief and China turns its focus westward.
The Report says political turmoil, resilient insurgencies, and poor border security?along with Afghanistan’s conflict and the presence of violent extremist groups will be the primary drivers of regional instability.
More than 30 violent extremist groups threaten regional stability, and drugs will remain an important revenue source for nonstate actors, including jihadi groups, in Afghanistan. The threat of terrorism from groups such as Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, and al-Qa`ida and its affiliates?as well as ISIL expansion and sympathy for associated ideology?will remain key drivers of insecurity in the region, the report said.
Moreover, the report says, Pakistan, unable to match India’s economic prowess, will seek other methods to maintain even a semblance of balance. It will seek to maintain a diverse set of foreign partners, from which it can draw economic and security assistance, and to develop a credible nuclear deterrent by expanding its nuclear arsenal and delivery means, including “battlefield” nuclear weapons and sea-based options.
In its efforts to curtail militancy, Islamabad will also face multiple internal security threats, as well as a gradual degradation of equipment used in these operations, declining financial resources, and a debate over changes needed to reduce the space for extremism.
While violent extremism is unlikely to present an existential threat to Pakistan during this period, it will have negative implications for regional stability, the Report said. The Think Tank sees New Delhi reinforcing its cooperation in regional trade and infrastructure investment with Bangladesh, Burma, Iran, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. Such cooperation could encourage stability and prosperity across much of the region, particularly if India enlists the support of political parties in the region, the report said.