Washington: South Asia
faces a series of internal and external shocks during the next
15-20 years with India alone in a better position to face them
thanks to its higher growth, according to a new US intelligence
"The neighbourhood has always had a profound influence on internal
developments, increasing the sense of insecurity and bolstering
military outlays," says the report "Global Trends 2030:
Alternative Worlds," by the Office of the Director of National
Intelligence, the apex body of 16 US intelligence agencies.
"Conflict could erupt and spread under numerous scenarios," says
the fifth instalment in the US National Intelligence Council's
series aimed at providing a framework for thinking about the
future released here Monday.
"Conflicting strategic goals, widespread distrust, and the hedging
strategies by all the parties will make it difficult for them to
develop a strong regional security framework," it said.
"Low growth, rising food prices, and energy shortages will pose
stiff challenges to governance in Pakistan and Afghanistan," the
"Afghanistan's and Pakistan's youth bulges are large - similar in
size to those found in many African countries. When these youth
bulges are combined with a slow-growing economy, they portend
increased instability," it noted.
However, "India is in a better position, benefiting from higher
growth, but it will still be challenged to find jobs for its large
youth population. Inequality, lack of infrastructure, and
education deficiencies are key weaknesses in India," it said.
An increasingly multipolar Asia lacking a well-anchored regional
security framework able to arbitrate and mitigate rising tensions
would constitute one of the largest global threats, the report
"Fear of Chinese power, the likelihood of growing Chinese
nationalism, and possible questions about the US remaining
involved in the region will increase insecurities," it suggested.
"An unstable Asia would cause large-scale damage to the global
economy. Changing dynamics in other regions would also jeopardize
global security," it said.
The Middle East, South Asia, and Sub-Saharan, which start from a
relatively low base of economic and political gender parity, will
continue to lag other regions, it said. Several regions - the
Middle East and South Asia - appear particularly susceptible to
outbreaks of large-scale violence despite the costs to themselves
and others, the report said.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at email@example.com)