Ring Of Crises


Super Mod
Mar 24, 2009
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Nations like to think of themselves as autonomous, but are never really so. It's been observed that nations prosper when the geographical regions they are a part of and tied to by intimate trade and cultural relations also prosper. By that yardstick, India is having a singular run of bad luck everywhere you look from its borders. Strife appears to breaking out all around. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has noted that developments in Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka will have their repercussions on India. Therefore, an urgent task of any new government, once it is formed after the general elections, will be to fashion a policy designed to cope with the fallout of multiple crises in our neighbourhood.

While there's turmoil in Pakistan and Sri Lanka, Nepal could be the next casualty after Maoist prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda quit his post. His resignation came after government allies as well as President Ram Baran Yadav refused to back his controversial decision to sack the army chief. The dispute is over integrating former Maoist guerrillas, now living in UN-supervised camps, into the Nepali military. The Maoists are the biggest bloc in Nepal's parliament, although not an absolute majority. It will be difficult to cobble together a government without their presence, while Maoists in opposition could paralyse the country. With free movement of people between India and Nepal, civil strife in Nepal can spill over into India.

Conflict between the Sri Lankan armed forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has taken a heavy toll on civilians caught in the war zone, and India could be looking at a refugee crisis from Sri Lanka as well. While there's no free movement between India and Bangladesh, borders are highly porous and unchecked Bangladeshi migration can create problems for social stability, particularly in India's north-eastern states.

The biggest threat, however, emanates from Pakistan where the Taliban are on a roll and it's unclear as yet whether civilian and military authorities have the will to check it. Senior US officials have expressed concerns about the security of Pakistan's nuclear weapons facilities, which could be seized by insurgents. Do we have a strategy in place about what to do if Pakistan should begin to implode? Even short of that, the Taliban's penetration of Pakistan's cities and institutions is cause for serious worry. Multiple security threats in India's neighbourhood must be on the front burner of any new administration as soon as it is formed.

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