MANIPAL, India, Sept. 6 (UPI) -- Since partial economic liberalization freed the Indian economy from the "Nehru" rate of growth -- 2 percent -- India has escaped from the South Asia box designed for it by China and its former Cold War adversary, the United States.
At the same time, Pakistan, with a real economy nine times smaller, is no longer able to generate enough torque to pin India down through sub-continental squabbles.
In the early 1990s, Kashmir represented around 50 percent of India's security problems. Today, that share of the Pakistani army's project has dipped to 20 percent.
China, insurgent bases in Myanmar, Bhutan and Bangladesh and the danger of proliferating Hindu and Muslim extremist groups has overtaken that unhappy vale, while the Pakistani military establishment appears determined to battle India to the last Kashmiri.
This freedom from fear of defeat in Kashmir has led what I describe as the Indian strategic eagle to spread its wings.
Geopolitically, India approximates an eagle with its torso over the country, one wing-stretching out toward the Middle East and Central Asia and the other positioned over Southeast Asia.
One talon is grounded in southern Africa, while the other locates itself in prospective partner Indonesia.
The head of the eagle is turned toward Tibet and Yunnan, two Chinese provinces with significant past and future cultural and economic synergy with India.
That eagle is now spreading its wings.