South Asia requires resilient and cost-effective regional supply chains. This can be achieved through Indian investment, fostering local linkages while reducing dependency on Chinese financing of regional partners. A new approach enhances India's regional influence, creating a win-win scenario for the entire South Asian neighbourhood in a changing global landscape.
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As Pakistan heads to the polls, debt restructuring and economic recovery are on the ballot. The winner of the contest will inherit a weak economy while wielding little authority to implement reform, and will eventually shoulder the blame for the inevitable crisis.
Sri Lanka has demonstrated signs of recovery following the stabilising policies implemented by the Wickremesinghe government. However, the road ahead for economic recovery is long, with risks associated with the upcoming Presidential elections, geopolitical tensions and debt restructuring.
Bhutan’s newly elected People’s Democratic Party is inclined to modernize the bilateral ties with India through investment and commercial ties with cities like Mumbai and Bangalore. This is the moment for New Delhi to view Bhutan with a new, non-linear lens, to deepening ties with a valuable neighbhour.
Maldives’ President Mohammed Muizzu’s desire to have an independent foreign policy has steered it away from India and closer to China. It has added a new dimension to the strategic contestation in the Indian Ocean. Rajiv Bhatia, Distinguished Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies, shares his insights on the Maldives’ strategic importance in the region, the ‘India Out’ campaign, and the way forward for Indian diplomacy in South Asia.
A tiny nation of half a million people, Maldives has drawn enormous attention from the media, diplomats and informed public since Muizzu’s election last September. The interest has only risen after the recent diplomatic row with India and Muizzu’s increased bonhomie with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
At the COP28, Sri Lanka’s President Ranil Wickremesinghe stated the need for $12 billion in FDI for renewable energy sources by 2030 to fulfill the country’s climate commitment. For that funding to yield benefits and translate into long-term growth, Sri Lanka must now work hard to enhance its overall business environment and revisit its foreign investment strategy to focus on renewable energy and manufacturing.
The parallel political and security crises in Myanmar and Manipur have led Indian authorities to consider abolishing the Indo-Myanmar Free Movement Regime (FMR). However, without long-term policy efforts to ameliorate the political and economic situation along the border, ending the FMR and fencing the Indo-Myanmar border is unlikely to resolve India’s security problems in the region.
The more India enjoys cooperative relations with its neighbours, the greater its ability to exert influence in the world. Meanwhile, neighbours looking at India with a reasonable mindset may internalise that cooperating with the world’s fifth largest economy is clearly in their interest.
A well-supplied oil market, along with new investments in oil exploration and production means that pending a major disaster, India will not have to worry about oil prices in the coming year.