The strategy is to identify your current or future competitor states, and then start propping up its neighbouring states through a “special ally” status as a counter-balance. Supply these states with arms and money, so that substantial amount of resources of the competitor state are tied down in tackling them. For every state that America sees as a threat for global influence, you will find one or two of its neighbouring states are “special ally” of the US in terms of loans or military sales. China too follows this policy. Therefore it has declared Pakistan to be its “taller than mountains and deeper than ocean” special ally.
When you see this policy in action against you, you immediately realise what the sponsoring states have in mind against your country. US and China both are following this “special ally” strategy against India, and thus the long-term intentions of both are clear — not allow India to go above a certain station in life.
It is foolish “leftist secular” leadership of India living in a cuckoo land of mindless idealism that refuses to follow this strategy. In respect to China, Vietnam should be a “special ally” of India in terms of money and military sales. In respect of Pakistan, it should be Afghanistan or Iran. But try telling to the jholawala Congress leaders of India, and they declare this strategy to be “not practical.”
To neutralise this “special ally” strategy of international powers against you, you have make sure that you do not allow your neighbouring states to spin out of your orbit and become “special ally” of some other power. And if they have already become this “special ally” of someone else, then you try to make their neighbouring states your own special ally.
However, India has been very poor in this record. Burma is already a “special ally” of China and Nepal has also been allowed to slip out of Indian orbit with the Maoist takeover. It is a only a matter of time before it becomes a “taller than mountain” friend of either America or China. Indians are cursed with a lack of even basic strategic thought and instinct of self-preservation which comes naturally to everybody else in the world.