Two recent developments point to the new directions in which the north-western Subcontinent could evolve.
In the face of unexpected and significant pressure from the United States to deliver some top militants of the Taliban and the Haqqani Network, the generals in Rawalpindi are locked in a serious debate.
Russia’s growing defense cooperation with Pakistan and contacts with the Taliban are a matter of concern for India.
New Delhi must find ways to effectively intervene in the limited but inviting strategic space that is opening up between the United States, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
India should focus on shaping the outcomes of the U.S.-Pakistan negotiations, since those talks will not only influence the situation in Afghanistan but could also have significant implications for the subcontinent as a whole.
India will inevitably have to do more in Afghanistan, since the United States will not bear the security burden forever. Any substantive India-U.S. strategic coordination, however, could presage a major change in the regional politics of South Asia.
By condemning Pakistan-based terror groups, China has signaled that it is willing to hold Islamabad accountable for harboring terror in order to protect Chinese investments and security in the region.
While the Trump administration’s efforts to get tough on Pakistan face challenges and potential dangers, the change in stance signals a new political will to pursue previously untried measures which offer some hope of success.
India must its increase its economic diplomacy and security cooperation with Afghanistan while countering the narrative that the success of the revised U.S. policy toward South Asia hinges on Kashmir.
The tragedy of partition was compounded by the economic division of South Asia, an outcome that did not need to accompany the political separation. India’s efforts at regional economic integration will have implications for both peace and development.