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Pointing to the Future

Here is How Namo’s Demo Gamble Paid off.  If the Uttar Pradesh election was the referendum on demonetisation (demo), as was being said before the recent Assembly election results, then the answer from the people is clear. UP election results have settled the demonetisation debate once and for all—Narendra Modi’s gamble paid off.

Modi’s Victory and the BJP’s Future.  No party has vanquished its rivals in UP in this manner in 40 years, and that too was in the wake of Indira Gandhi’s disastrous Emergency Rule. The BJP, in extremely short order, has remade itself in the image of Modi. As the case of Gandhi reminds us, such a strategy is laden with long-term risk.

The Message from Voters in Uttar Pradesh.  In the euphoria of the historic win by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Uttar Pradesh (excluding the first election in 1951)—312 is the largest number of seats won by any party in any assembly poll—there is a risk of overlooking one key message from the voter: the emerging fault lines in social identity.

What is the Fix for India?  India’s political leaders should reflect on what Mexico’s equally fractious political system managed to achieve and on whether they have it in them to emulate them.

Why India Should Scrap Parliamentary Democracy.  India’s parliamentary system, inherited from the British, is rife with inefficiencies. In order to confront the challenges and meet the needs of one-sixth of the world’s population, India’s leaders must operate within a democracy that enables, rather than hampers, governance. Only then can they deliver progress to the people they represent.

When Dealing with Trump, India Must Focus More on the Economic Dimension.  It is no doubt in India’s interest to build relations with all the major poles in the desired multipolar international system, so as to maintain the autonomy of India’s decisions. However, the trade and investment dimension gives a particular overall dimension to this relationship.

EU and India Must Converge in Kabul.  In order to avoid Afghanistan from turning into a turf for geopolitical rivalries, Brussels and Delhi must create conditions for greater dialogue and coordinated behaviour between the powers committed to supporting a stable, prosperous and democratic Afghanistan, including Russia, China, and Iran.

Buddhism: A New Frontier in the China-India Rivalry.  For both China and India, Buddhism is a useful enhancer of cultural soft power. Over the past decade New Delhi tried to re-energize the religious tradition and integrate it into the country’s cultural strength; for China, meanwhile, Buddhism is an important means of soothing domestic discontent and staving off risks to its territorial integrity.

While Lobbing Rhetorical Bombs at China, Trump Risks Friendly Fire.  The US-Chinese economic relationship does need to be reformed, but in the advanced-manufacturing and high-skilled sectors. President Trump is targeting the wrong problems; China the factory-stealer is a useful antagonist — but no longer a relevant one.

Beijing, Washington Face Similar Economic Challenges.  The debate about the relative roles for the state and market has been nurtured by a widespread sense that the market-led U.S. model represents one extreme, and China’s state- representing the other. The reality, however, is that the two systems may have more commonalities than differences regarding the problems they need to deal with.

Trade Agreements: TPP, RCEP Convergence?  China’s prominence is noticeable in all regional integration efforts in the Asia-Pacific. It would be keen to pull RCEP and TPP together for gaining preferred access to all major regional markets and also for being recognised as an undisputed champion of free trade and a global leader of trade integration.

2017, the Year Chairman Xi Will Come into His Own.  China is deploying its soft power internationally to maximise Xi’s hard power at home and abroad. For the short term, this is probably good news for the rest of the world as Xi plays the role of a world leader. Yet a leader with such sweeping claims to power and authority must also vigorously defend China’s most sensitive interests.

China’s Path to the Rule of Law. Foreign Affairs considers the promises and pitfalls awaiting China as it moves closer to implementing its first unified civil code

“Peace Through Strength”: Deterrence in Chinese Military Doctrine.  Through long-term military modernization, Beijing aims to create a capable and credible military force to protect China’s core interests. The role of deterrence in PLA doctrine is key to understanding China’s actions and the intentions its government may be trying to communicate.

Can China Save the Global Order?  After the 2008 financial crisis, China has since become a self-centered, “post-responsible” power. It is now less constrained by the status quo, and more intent on changing it. Fortunately, China is not acting like a traditional revisionist power, and it remains deeply committed to economic globalization.

China’s Navy Gets a New Helmsman.  Vice Admiral Shen Jinlong reportedly replaced Admiral Wu Shengli as PLAN Commander on January 17, 2017. Thanks to Wu’s thoroughgoing efforts, it can truly be said that Wu leaves the PLAN a fundamentally different service from the one he inherited in 2006. However, the PLAN’s transition remains ongoing, leaving much for Shen to accomplish.