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Pointing to the Future

South Asia’s Geopolitics Is Becoming More Complex, Less Stable.  The geopolitics of southern Asia has become more complex and unpredictable. These evolutions – of rising competitive dynamics between India on the one hand and Pakistan and China on the other – change the context in which southern Asian countries seek economic development, regional cooperation, and security.

For the US and India, a Convergence of Interest and Values.  India and US stand as mutually reinforcing engines of growth and innovation. Confidence in each other’s political values and a strong belief in each other’s prosperity has enabled the engagement between the two countries to grow. An op-ed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

When Modi Meets Trump: Where Do US-India Relations Stand. On the eve of Mr Modi’s fifth trip to the US a prime minister and his first meeting with President Trump, the Brookings Institute takes stock of the US-India relationship, with some follow-up analysis here

Countering China’s High-Altitude Land Grab.  The true sign of Himalayan peace will not be the holstering of guns, but rather the end of border incursions. India’s accommodating approach has failed to deter China. To halt further encroachments, India will need to bare its own teeth.

India-Australia Relations: Getting over the Quad Blues.  India’s real problem is that it still lacks the combat capability to present a credible balance to Chinese naval power in South Asia. Turning the trilateral Malabar into a quadrilateral overnight might result in some tactical gains for the Indian navy, but could prove strategically costly, should China decide to raise the heat in the Indian Ocean.

Beijing’s Silk Road Goes Digital.  While the infrastructure investments of the One Belt One Road initiative have received the lion’s share of attention, Beijing’s plan to integrate telecommunications, internet infrastructure, and e-commerce into the strategy could have farther reaching consequences

The Importance of the Ease of Doing Business.  Firms in India are smaller and less productive than they should be, mainly as a result of burdensome regulation which punishes firms that attempt to grow and need the flexibility to hire and fire workers as market conditions warrant.

How India’s Diaspora Affects its Role in a Multipolar Middle East.  India’s diaspora provides an unassuming asset to New Delhi; a unique soft power advantage that improves India’s image as it competes with more powerful states. Simultaneously, however, it constitutes an added burden than can restrict Delhi’s strategic options.

The Roots of Rural Distress.  Forgiving farm loans is no solution. The data shows there’s a far more fundamental problem—most agricultural households are unable to keep body and soul together. In short, it’s essential to get these people off the land and into far more productive industrial employment. The alternative is mounting social unrest.

Revisiting India’s Role in Afghanistan.  The shifting context related to Iranian and Russian influence means that India should start to rethink its long-held stances on Afghanistan, and take an active role in shaping the diplomatic approach to the conflict.

Xi Jinping’s Marco Polo Strategy.  Overall, the United States should welcome China’s BRI. As Robert Zoellick, a former US Trade Representative and World Bank president, has argued, if a rising China contributes to the provision of global public goods, the US should encourage the Chinese to become a “responsible stakeholder.”

China’s Growing Interest in the Middle East.  While a better informed foreign policy, energy needs and an interest in technology have indeed contributed to the development of China’s relationships with Middle East countries, it is China’s relationship with the US that has been – and will continue to be – the most influential factor in China’s policies towards the Middle East.

Competition for Influence in an Integrated Asia.  As the OBOR initiative and other new gambits show, competition for influence is well and truly underway. Asia will be the main stage on which this contest for a new order will be played out. It will be risky, and it will be an environment much less friendly to liberal ideas than the order it is overtaking

Can China Really Lead the World on Climate?  The need for the radical ratcheting up of emissions targets is urgent, but mobilizing such an effort is not a skill that China has practiced in the past. Absent U.S. pressure, China is unlikely to unilaterally volunteer radical emissions cuts: China has domestic resistance, like any other country with jobs and investment tied to fossil fuels.

Xi Jinping and the ‘Other’ China.  With the pressure on to deliver clear progress ahead of the 19th Party Congress, the focus will likely continue to be the CCP’s success in moving people out of poverty and generally improving living conditions. The economic transition is likely to hit China’s rural areas the hardest, posing new challenges to the governments’ legitimacy.

How Trump is Empowering the Military.  In his first six months in office, President Donald Trump has overseen a steady transfer of power from the White House to the Pentagon, handing off several warfighting authorities that previously rested in his hands — and those of past presidents of both parties — to the Pentagon and the commanders overseeing the US’ military campaigns.