India’s external and internal security overlap in a number of ways, meaning that case-by-case policy making may not be advisable. Likewise, several key issues will require a fundamental shift in thinking if they are to be resolved.
India faces a number of social, political and security challenges over the next two decades, not all of which are within its control. Whether it successfully addresses them could depend upon several contingent factors.
The North African nation of Djibouti is situated on one of the most important trade routes in the world. Its small physical size and small economy bely its strategic geographic significance to global trade and security. Increasingly, superpowers are looking to Djibouti as a politically stable base from which to enhance their global influence but motivations and consequences have yet to be revealed.
Melanesia faces demographic, environmental and nutritional challenges that could threaten food and water security. Given the strategic significance of the region, it is in Australia’s national interest to continue assisting the region in overcoming these challenges.
The Indonesian parliament continues to be dominated by secular-nationalist parties but the emphasis on nationalism could undermine the prospect of greater ethnic Chinese representation in the parliament. Other challenges include elevated levels of government corruption (either real or perceived) and a flawed taxation system. At the same time, matters are complicated by the efforts of the Indonesian National Armed Forces to increase their influence in domestic politics through greater involvement in internal security matters.
Without concerted efforts to overcome poor water management, interstate tensions, and poor governance, South Asia’s hydropower potential will not be fully realised.
While commercial and cultural ties are often influenced by political events, they could be used to mitigate adversarial connotations between the two countries.
While the security relationship between India and Pakistan is viewed primarily in military terms, the adversarial nature of that relationship could be mitigated over time if the Prime Ministers of the two countries are able to use their genuine personal relationship to challenge the status quo.
The trauma of their partition has played a large role in moulding the adversarial relationship between India and Pakistan, but New Delhi could change that paradigm by re-calibrating its approach of isolating Pakistan by targeting the true instigators of the violent strikes on its sovereignty. An economically energised Pakistan could bring about a regional resurgence that sees both India and Pakistan move closer to reaching their potential.