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Pointing to the Future

Creating an India-U.S. Advantage in the Indo-Pacific.  India and the US, as the world’s two largest democracies with two of the largest military forces, have a shared interest in ensuring a stable security order in the Indo-Pacific. But the India-US strategic partnership is still hobbled by parallel bureaucracies that do not yet move in sync.

Why India’s Economy Heads the Pack.  India is growing faster than any other economy in the world. This is not just because oil prices have fallen, writes the Council on Foreign Relations

Artificial Intelligence Risks Entrenching India’s Inequities.  Policy debates about AI applications in India need to take these two issues seriously. AI applications will not be a panacea for addressing ‘India’s grand challenges’. Data bias and unequal access to technology gains will entrench existing socio-economic fissures, even making them technologically binding.

The Asia-Pacific’s Response to Rising U.S. Protectionism.  Uncertainties regarding continued access to the U.S. market have forced Asia-Pacific countries, for whom trade is an economic lifeline, to adopt a three-pronged policy response, from the Council on Foreign Relations.

India’s Own Lurch Towards Protectionism.  India is among the biggest users of anti-dumping duties. Alas, not even the finest business orator can credibly argue that raising import duties will make India a China-style champion in export. As Trump brings the protectionist playbook to the U.S., India should be differentiating itself by sticking with the polices that have made it a success story in recent years.

Tabloid India. Indian media today report news recklessly, and, in the interest of ratings, focus on ephemera that have no impact on the public welfare. But trivializing public discourse and abdicating their responsibility as facilitators and protectors of democracy has cost Indian journalists dearly in terms of public trust.

Just Two Things Can Fix Public Sector Banks’ Problems.  If Indian Government and RBI institutionalize a way to ensure an objective, transparent and merit-based transfer and promotion policy in public sector banks, a bulk of the cultural and governance problems will vanish.

Over the Barrel: The Fourth Political Revolution?  The erosion of Indian institutions and the deepening disconnect between public interest and governance are concerning and cannot be addressed by looking for solutions from within the existing system. There are systemic factors that influence and limit political behaviour and choices. We need to consider “out-of-box” alternatives.

Friends to Partners.  President Macron’s March 2018 visit to India was much awaited precisely because there is so much for him to do. Macron needs to make reforms on his home turf in order to transform friendships into greater economic opportunity for all. The heavy bureaucracy in France must be loosened so it doesn’t stifle the life out of potential incoming investments.

France: India’s New Russia? Like with Russia and the US, India’s relationship with France can’t just be bilateral. A recalibration of India’s ties with Russia has been unfolding, slowly but surely, since the end of the Cold War. The US, on its part, can only be pleased that India and France are ready to take larger responsibilities and share the burden for maintaining regional and global order.

Missing the Forest for the Xi. CPC elites do not want a permanent Xi presidency so much as they want to avoid a forced change of leadership in 2023. Commentary examining growth in Chinese private consumption as a share of GDP, or potential changes to the hukou system, will be far more edifying than that devoted to the personality and ambition of Xi Jinping.

Xi’s Rule for Life: What Does our Anxiety Reveal?  ‘The End of History’ has dominated since the end of the Cold War. The return of personality politics in many democracies is already raising question marks about that worldview. But with Xi Jinping acquiring life-long authority over the world’s rising superpower (if he so wishes) we can no longer blind ourselves to the fact that history has returned.

New Chinese Agency Could Undercut Other Anti-Corruption Efforts.  China’s ongoing anti-corruption campaign launched in 2012 reflects a political approach, focused exclusively on party members. China’s new state anti-corruption agency would fuse the political and legal approaches, sparking the fear that the Communist Party’s extrajudicial approach will be extended to anyone in the public sector.

The Double Helix of Chinese History. Even when the tapestry of modern Chinese history has featured a reformist weft, it was always woven into an authoritarian warp. By the same token, while reform in the seemingly authoritarian Xi era may be a recessive trait, its expression should not be ruled out.

Tariffs on China are Not the Way to Go. An article in the National Interest that finds the both history and logic shows that American protectionist measures make little sense

How International Hegemony Changes Hands. Whether the United States contesting China’s rise results in a new Cold War depends on two things: whether China continues to rise; and whether Francis Fukuyama and American policymakers prove right that China must liberalize in order to sustain its prosperity.

A New Order for the Indo-Pacific. China has transformed the Indo-Pacific region’s strategic landscape in just five years. If other powers do not step in to counter further challenges to the territorial and maritime status quo, the next five years could entrench China’s strategic advantages.

Learning from the Soviet Union. China’s interpretation of the law of the sea has long clashed with that of the majority of the international community.  China should look to the shift in attitude undergone by the Soviets during the Cold War as part of its own maritime expansion as a roadmap for initiating more constructive approaches

Will China Out-Innovate the West? For decades, Western governments have offered protections for incumbent firms at the expense of new market entrants. With China quickly realizing the value of fair and free competition, the West urgently needs to change course, or risk being left behind.

China’s Economy Is Not Normal. It Doesn’t Have to Be.  What some take to be the Chinese economy’s weaknesses have, in fact, been strengths. The central question isn’t whether China might continue to confound norms so much as what, precisely, is required for it to do so. And that hinges on whether the Chinese government can strike the right balance between state intervention and market forces.

The Belt and Road Initiative: Is China Putting Its Money Where its Mouth Is? The Belt and Road Initiative remains a cornerstone of China’s foreign policy and the subject of political priority and public attention. However, new projects in infrastructure, power, and energy have declined every year after peaking in 2015.