Sheikh Hasina, the leader of an avowedly secular party, is set to return to power in Bangladesh, the 
other end of South Asia's arc of instability stretching from Afghanistan through Pakistan to India.

And because the teeming region, home to a fifth of the world's population, is so closely intertwined 
Hasina's election and the change that she has promised to bring to her country will almost certainly have a bearing across South Asia, but especially for India and Pakistan.

Bangladesh, as far as New Delhi is concerned, is the eastern launching pad for Islamist militants hostile  to it, complementing Pakistan on the west. So even if the heat is turned on the militants in Pakistan as India is  demanding following the attacks in Mumbai, they or their controllers can unleash groups such as  Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami  (HuJI) based in Bangladesh.

India's new Home Minister P. Chidambaram told a parliament debate this month that Bangladesh had a  responsibility to control the  HuJI.

Hasina has said she wouldn't allow her nation to be used to attack other countries, and her election has been welcomed in New Delhi. In particular the defeat of the Jamaat-e-Islami, the  largest Islamist party and an ally of Hasina's bitter rival Khaleda Zia, is seen as a sign that the country wants to stick to a secular democratic path. In that, New Delhi is hoping Hasina would act against the hardline forces who have attacked her as well .