Interested in India’s Geopolitical future? Look to its States

For years, India-watchers have by equal measure championed the nation’s future role as the next regional if not global power and bemoaned its failure to live up to its strategic potential. At the heart of this optimism has been India’s fundamental capacities and characteristics—the size of its population, its democratic system of government, its geographic location in the heart of a dynamic Asia, and its deep and talented human capital pool. And yet, the pessimism has derived from the seeming inability of the federal government to make the whole equal more than the sum of its parts. While there are many reasons for this dichotomy, one of the most important is the outsized role played by India’s states in policymaking. To predict India’s future course, one must have a better understanding of its composite states.