Picture an ancient city full of intricately carved stone temples, where millions of pilgrims and ascetics come to bathe in the holy waters of the Ganges, as Hindus have done for hundreds of generations. Now, imagine that the holy water of the Ganges is being monitored by electronic sensors to detect pollution levels, and the lights illuminating the streets and houses of this city are fitted with motion sensors and calibrated to save energy.
As intensified globalization has increased the spatial distance between Indians, they are thronging towards online platforms that offer a sense of kinship and community. To Indians, both within and outside India, the Internet is an alternative public sphere to hold discourses with those who share a similarity of interests. Social networking sites also offer them a platform to assert their identity, culture and political inclination.
India and China both see themselves as having outgrown a world order dominated by the West. They are moving beyond traditional bromides like their joint advocacy of the "Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence," to pragmatic cooperation in the framework of the BRICS grouping. They recently came together to announce the creation of the BRICS Bank, which will be located in Shanghai and headed by an Indian.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is determined to build close strategic ties with Japan in order to put discreet checks on China's exercise of its rapidly accumulating power. China's strategy of constant outward pressure on its borders not only threatens to destabilize Asia's status quo but is also pushing countries like India, Japan, and Vietnam to strategically collaborate. Modi's priority is to ensure stable power equilibrium in Asia.
Since independence, Pakistanis have been told that their country is a "citadel of Islam," that its destiny is to be an Islamic state and its army is "the sword of Islam." Advocates of modern, secular values, even pluralism, are denigrated as "enemies of the ideology of Pakistan." Pakistan's establishment, led by its military, also seeks parity with India, not only in the legal sense of sovereign equality between nations but in military and political terms. This ideological milieu has helped religious-political groups exercise greater influence on national discourse than is justified and led to the outgrowth of jihadi groups, one more extreme than the other.