India's talk of an 'Act East' policy or an Indian Ocean presence sounds hollow when its ability to shape outcomes in its own neighbourhood is so limited
There is an interesting phenomenon in Indian strategic thinking: every time there is a crisis in which New Delhi is expected to play a role, a growing chorus arises, advising Indian policymakers to tread with caution. It can be an India-made crisis or one in which India may have had no real role. It can be a crisis in India’s neighbourhood or further away from its periphery, but intellectual response often remains one of “wait and watch", underscoring why New Delhi should not do anything substantive. A plethora of reasons are provided why it would be disastrous for India to pro-actively shape the crisis.