Good times in the outer orbit 

Both Bhutan and the Maldives constitute Southasia's most interesting democratic experiments at the moment; and both seem to have hit on a formula to deal with India as a lucrative way to keep their boats afloat.

India is like a giant planet orbited by moons. Some of these moons, such as Pakistan and Bangladesh, are quite large; others are medium-sized, like Nepal and Sri Lanka; and then there are the tiny specks of Bhutan and the Maldives. India's gravitational pull puts these latter firmly in the parent planet's sphere of influence, but the moons are also protected from being swallowed up by their centrifugal force. However, that did not protect one moon, called Sikkim, from falling out of its orbit and merging with India in 1975. Despite its size and gravitational attraction, India has always looked at its neighbours with a sense of insecurity. India borders all of them, none of them border each other, but on the other hand they all surround India. The neighbours, for their part, have also tried to assert their independence by trying to counterbalance their proximity by being friendly with an outside power, usually China. And that is when friction arises.

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Himal Southasian