On Wednesday, defence minister A.K. Antony expressed concern over the decision of Pakistan to hand over the management of the strategically located Gwadar port on its south-west border to China.
Implicit in Antony’s remarks is the strategic fear that China is moving ahead with its strategy of a string of pearls—strategically encircling India as a buffer in the event of an armed conflict.
While this may or may not be true, the response has to go beyond verbal expressions of concern. India has to work overtime in mending fences in its neighbourhood. Past belligerence had alienated smaller neighbours such as Bangladesh and Nepal; some ground has been regained.
The best response, however, will be to restore India’s economic growth trajectory. Presumably, the minister realizes the solution for this lies within and not outside.