India will be the world's fastest growing economy during the next five years, a top US intelligence think-tank has said while underlining that Pakistan, unable to match India's economic prowess, will seek "other methods" to maintain even a semblance of balance.
"Pakistan, unable to match India's economic prowess, will seek other methods to maintain even a semblance of balance," said the report 'Global Trends' of the National Intelligence Council (NIC), which is the centre for mid-term and long-term strategic thinking within the US Intelligence Community.
"India will be the world's fastest growing economy during the next five years as China's economy cools and growth elsewhere sputters, but internal tensions over inequality and religion will complicate its expansion," the report said.
In its report, the National Intelligence Council said that Pakistan will seek to maintain a diverse set of foreign partners, from which it can draw economic and security assistance, and to develop a credible nuclear deterrent by expanding its nuclear arsenal and delivery means, including "battlefield" nuclear weapons and sea-based options.
"In its efforts to curtail militancy, Islamabad will also face multiple internal security threats, as well as a gradual degradation of equipment used in these operations, declining financial resources, and a debate over changes needed to reduce the space for extremism," it said.
"While violent extremism is unlikely to present an existential threat to Pakistan during this period, it will have negative implications for regional stability," the report said.
Pakistan has introduced short-range, "battlefield" nuclear weapons that it has threatened to use against Indian conventional incursions, which lower the threshold for nuclear use, the report said.
NIC said India's growing economic power and profile in the region will further complicate calculations, as New Delhi navigates relations with Beijing, Moscow, and Washington to protect its own expanding interests.
New Delhi, however, will continue to offer smaller South Asian countries a stake in India's economic growth through development assistance and increased connectivity to India's economy, contributing to India's broader effort to assert its role as the predominant regional power, it added.
According to National Intelligence Council tremendous internal and external changes will shape security and political stability in South Asia in the next five years as the planned drawdown of international forces in Afghanistan; the deepening relationship between the US and India; China's westward-facing development objectives under its One Belt, One Road initiative; and inroads by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and other terrorist groups all have their impact.