Pointing to the Future in September 2017
Pointing to the Future
Coming Full-Circle in the Sino-Indian Relationship. Despite the recent BRICS Summit’s theme of a ‘stronger partnership for a brighter future’, the two-month stand-off between China and India at the Doklam plateau (which China refers to as Donglang) has confirmed a bitter truth – the territorial dispute is still a constant thorn in the Sino-Indian relationship.
Modi Banking on Jobs from Make in India. Despite India’s economic and defence triumphs, Modi is far from invulnerable, and particularly given the country’s economic struggles. Jobs are a tried and true formula for delivering votes, so if Make in India can bring its much-ballyhooed employment bonanza, Modi’s prospects in the 2019 elections could shift from strong contender to virtual shoe-in.
Myanmar: A Test Case for India’s Regional Ambition. Reaffirming the moral elements of India’s foreign policy would also offer the country the opportunity to play on its strengths – while it’s unlikely to achieve economic parity with China or military parity with the United States anytime soon, India can nonetheless leverage its soft power status as the world’s largest democracy.
India’s Strategic Choices: China and the Balance of Power in Asia. The effect of a deeper partnership with the United States—India’s final strategic choice—on such a confrontation with China will depend on the kind of alignment India builds.
Modi’s Bumpy Anticorruption Drive. Indian authorities insist that the Demonetization’s impact on the economy will be short-term, far outweighed by the future benefits of a more transparent financial system. Whether or not that turns out to be the case, officials will need to better execute reforms if they are to keep the business community and ordinary Indians onside.
Beware of the Wrong Lessons from Doklam. The assumption that we can pull off the outcome from Doklam in future confrontations with China is deeply problematic. For one thing, the Chinese calculus of interest could be rather different in other parts of the disputed boundary. For another, drawing and internalizing such a conclusion could lead to avoidable overconfidence in the future.
The Harsh Truth About India’s Godmen. An Indian spiritual leader’s conviction on two counts of raping and the subsequent riots showed that India’s much-touted economic development has shallow roots, as it has failed to deliver caste equality and social justice to the underclasses.
Making India Safe for Journalists. The murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh has reignited the debate on freedom of the press and the freedom of speech in the country. To stop the assaults on journalists and writers, and to ensure justice when such assaults do take place, the country requires legal and institutional reforms as well as measures to plug weaknesses in policing.
Has Demonetisation Harmed Non-farm Employment? Demonetisation’s sudden shock has dealt a body-blow to the housing sector. This could affect employment generation in the non-farm sector in the medium term. The golden goose of mass-employment generation seems to have become collateral damage in the government’s zeal to purge black money.
Why We Need Bullet Trains. India’s bullet train is not just the one project. Just the technology, engineering and quality levels it brings will alone transform the future of our early industrial age railway system. One showcase team will fire the aspirations of a billion people, just like one Delhi Metro made every city in India try to build one.
Reading the Tea Leaves. In the context of a rising China, Japan and India has been continuing to build a comprehensive strategic partnership, pioneered by initiatives such as the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed railway and Asia-Africa Growth Corridor. Such emerging India-Japan alignment sets the stage for the reordering of the Asian strategic landscape.
How China Would Fight an Indian Border Conflict. Mountain and high altitude warfare present specialized problems for military operations. The PLA considers air and information superiority to be critical factors for successful operations and joint precision strikes would constitute an important component of the operation to overcome the complex terrain.
Assessing the Sino-Russian Baltic Sea Drill. The symbolic aspects of the Sino-Russian drills are important for both countries. Moscow wants to underscore its relationship with its most important security partner and counter Western isolation. Beijing’s status also benefits from a display of global military potential, though China also makes more concrete operational gains for its fleet.
Risky Business, Chinese Style. Feigenbaum argues that Chinese entities, both government and corporate, are changing their ways of thinking about risk. Governments and investors grow cautious and conditional as they gain experience in new areas of activity. But before that happens, they can look awfully profligate. Like others before it, China often looks that way today but on a larger scale.
What the West Gets Wrong About China’s Economy. It is good for the world if China is stable and progressing well economically. Misunderstanding the nature of its problems, in debt, trade imbalance and corruption, contributes to misguided efforts.
China Pressuring Pakistan on Terrorism? After President Trump’s public recognition of the challenge of Pakistan-based safe havens to North Atlantic Treaty Organization efforts in Afghanistan, China’s BRICS declaration represents the country’s capacity to shift its stance from one of perennial defense of Islamabad.
China Isn’t The Next Evil Empire Facing America. Even if Beijing desired to threaten the American homeland, conquer U.S. territories, or interdict American commerce, it has little ability to do so. What China seeks is to end Washington’s dominance along the former’s coast, an objective more defensive than offensive.
China, Global Peacemaker? Xi’s vision for Belt and Road seems to extend to a new Pax Sinica that will extend Chinese largesse across continents and hemispheres, and the neo-traditionalist view that China has a largely benevolent, pacifying influence. However, there are great challenges, and risks, that come from China seeking to regain historical strength or extend itself into new areas.
OBOR: Potentially a Major Strain on African Economies. OBOR investments will bring much needed capital to the continent, yet they must be carefully supervised. Under performing infrastructure projects, slumping commodity prices, and rising debt levels are a recipe for crisis.
U.S.-China Relations on the Edge of Crisis. Chinese experts perceive the chances for U.S. preemption as increasingly high and are preparing for a crisis. The U.S. and China must urgently coordinate their contingency planning for this potential, and China should consider assuming a greater responsibility for basic North Korean security to strengthen Pyongyang’s confidence.
China: No Country for Old Men? The way in which Xi deals with the age question in the make-up of the Politburo Standing Committee will be a good indicator of the nature of his power and the extent of his success. It will indicate if and when Xi is willing to compromise, his future policy priorities and perhaps even his political insecurities.
China’s Crackdown on Cryptocurrency Trading. The Chinese government’s decision to order several Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies exchanges to close shows how much of a threat they are perceived to be to financial stability and social order in China.