Pointing to the Future
India at 70. India’s problem is not too much democracy—it is that democracy is too often conflated with voting. But democratic norms and practices must extend to clean governance and individual rights between elections as well.
Responding First as a Leading Power. The emerging concept of India as a “first responder” reflects the country’s growing capability and increasing willingness to assume the role of a leading power. Beyond narrow self-interest, such contributions help project India’s soft power abroad and portray India in a positive light.
Reading PM Modi, Through His Speeches. Modi’s rhetorical technique is inherent in populism, a version of politics that crystallises when a leader tries to relate directly to “his” nation, circumventing institutions in the worst-case scenarios.
Can the Doklam Dispute Be Resolved? Doklam may be in one of the most isolated spots on earth, but it reflects one aspect of Asia’s current “great game.” The region’s powerful states all have disputes with each other that have lingered for decades, with little resolution in sight. Even if Asia’s military pot does not boil over, it will be set at a low boil for the foreseeable future.
Al-Qaeda’s Quiet Resurgence in India. Al Qaeda’s renewed efforts to reinvigorate jihad against India comes at a time when the international focus has been on defeating Islamic State (IS) in its Middle Eastern strongholds and the Indian government’s attention has been on containing the spread of IS influence over the many caliphate sympathizers at home.
Trump Preps Afghan War for Sale to India. Since coming into office, the president has been shopping around for Grand Bargains. With Russia to solve Syria, China to rein in North Korea, and now India to manage Afghanistan and the Taliban. The Trump brand remains undiluted, but the real cost of his strategy is hard to reckon.
India Feeling the Heat on Belt and Road. A growing political-military nexus between China and Pakistan, as currently seems likely, will further aggravate security competition with India. Reluctantly, New Delhi is now having to come to terms with that prospect.
How India and the US can Lead in the Indo-Pacific. India and the US have publicly called Indo-US cooperation the lynchpin of their strategy in the region. The stakes – who gets to construct the legal, economic, and military architecture of an integrated Indo-Pacific region – are enormous. Without bold policy from the US and India, the answer will be China.
Strong Rupee is Hurting Indian Industry. For the sake of the robust health of industry and manufacturing, and for reviving the export boom, it is essential that we bring back the rupee to a more sane and competitive level.
A Yawning Gap in India’s Political Spectrum. With the discredited Congress tugging further left, and the BJP viscerally tacking right, Indians are left with a yawning gap in the centre. The space is wide open for a political party to capture the centrist narrative.
Is the Draft National Energy Policy Actionable? A realistic energy policy cannot be purely top-down or “national” but must also incorporate multiple smaller policies, e.g., one meant to stimulate domestic oil and gas production, which the ambitious scenario represents. Such coordination is the need of the hour and NITI Aayog is in a great position to play that role.
China’s Renewable-Energy Revolution. Trends in renewables suggest that China will be a major source of both energy demand and cutting-edge technology, implying that it will have a unique opportunity to provide global leadership.
China’s Misguided Exchange-Rate Machinations. In recent months, the Chinese economy has shown credible signs of stabilization; capital outflows have ebbed, at least for the time being; and the financial market has remained much calmer than in 2015. In this more favourable context, the PBOC, rather than churning out unnecessarily complicated new rate-setting rules, needs to return to reform.
Can Trump Deal with North Korea and China? The White House is still pursuing aggressive trade-policy measures against China, only some of which have any merit. But these initiatives will not do much, if anything, for America’s trade balance, real income growth, or employment. And they certainly won’t convince China to help mitigate the North Korean nuclear threat.
China’s New Investment Rules. The new restrictions announced by China on its companies investing abroad reflect both the country’s macroeconomic policy as well as its industrial policy. China wants an overall outflow of capital that leaves reserves and the exchange rate stable. It also wants to micro-manage the outflow to favour hi-tech, natural resources and construction of infrastructure.
The PLA at 90: On the Road to Becoming a World-Class Military? Although much of the media coverage to date has focused on the symbolic and political importance, PLA’s 90th anniversary parade reveals a force that is still growing and developing, concurrently envisioning itself as a modern, advanced military and acknowledging its own weaknesses.
The Deep Roots and Long Branches of Chinese Technonationalism. China’s relentless quest to be a technology leader has deep roots, stretching as far back as the 1950s. They have strong antecedents—in old strategies, policies, practices, and predilections, as well as deeply held ideologies about the relationship between technology and national power.
Can U.S.–China Relations Survive President Donald Trump? Historically incumbent and rising powers often clash, the so-called Thucydides Trap. In the late 1800s Great Britain accommodated America but confronted Germany, with dramatically different results. However, if U.S. policy is determined by passion, ignorance, and myopia, the prospects of maintaining a peaceful relationship are far lower.
America and China’s Codependency Trap. Punitive action against China would have serious consequences for US businesses and consumers. Like it or not, that is an inevitable result of the deeply entrenched codependent relationship between the world’s two largest economies.
U.S.-China Relations Still in Search of a Strategy. A consequence of the president’s frequently changing views and the variance in perspectives among his advisors, Washington does not appear to possess clarity on what type of relationship it seeks to build with China. This cognitive dissonance inhibits Washington’s ability to elicit Chinese support to strengthen the relationship over the long run.
Navigating China’s Post-Congress Landscape. The Chinese Communist Party will hold its twice-per-decade party congress this fall to select its leaders for the next five years. Ryan Hass argues that the most likely outcome of the party congress will be policy continuity, not change.