Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih shake hands before a meeting on Dec. 17, 2018, in New Delhi. India will have its work cut out for it as it fights off China's encroachment in South Asia.
Since winning a landslide reelection in May, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has taken major strides toward advancing his country's grand strategy. Most prominently, Modi revoked Jammu and Kashmir's autonomous status on Aug. 5 to strengthen the country's territorial unity, much to the consternation of archrival Pakistan. And against the backdrop of that momentous decision, Modi's government is pursuing another element of its grand strategy as well: preserving its sphere of influence. With that in mind, New Delhi has recently beaten a path to the door of the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh. But with China more than prepared to open the checkbook to dazzle the region with infrastructure projects as part of the Belt and Road Initiative, India knows it can ill-afford to neglect its backyard, meaning Modi's "Neighborhood First" policy will be front and center as he begins his second term in office....
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