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date: 27 November 2021

Abstract and Keywords

‘South Asia’ as a term was only invented in the 1960s. Since 1947 India has competed with Pakistan to be the inheritor of the ‘Raj’ tradition. This near-permanent conflict is the major restraint on Indian power and influence. Outside powers also play a regional role, but their vision of the region is unfocused, and not necessarily India-centric. The region is faced with the potential spread from Afghanistan of radical Islamic ideologies, as potentially destabilizing as the venerable Kashmir dispute. India’s regional influence is also hampered by its weak economic position and its mismanagement of military policies, while the acquisition of nuclear weapons did not ensure security. Despite this, with its enormous cultural and political influence, India remains a model for the region, but has yet to translate aspiration into achievement at the regional level, undercutting its relations with major outside powers.

Keywords: India, South Asia, Pakistan, Raj, nuclear weapons, Kashmir, Afghanistan, regional influence

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