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.
The crushing victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party and India's newly elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi has brought much hope to exasperated Indians and foreigners alike. With promises to revive a nation that 1.2 billion people call home, the so-called "Modi wave" has surged across India. Over the past few months, Indian equities have risen close to 20 percent. The rupee, which lost 13 percent against the dollar in 2013, has been one of the best performing.