A free and open Indo-Pacific: Regional and global implications
One of the techniques devised for managing China’s ascent and its destabilizing impact is the concept of a “free and open Indo-Pacific.” This idea, embraced by the governments of Japan, India and the United States, includes military, economic, political, legal and diplomatic dimensions. Some argue it is a smoke screen to mask U.S. disengagement, while others maintain it is a Japanese-inspired effort to enlist American help.
India’s stake in the Afghanistan conflict
India is happy that the United States has recommitted to fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan. Keeping them out of power will limit the influence of India’s longtime rival, Pakistan. But the U.S. commitment is tenuous, and President Donald Trump is a known skeptic of the war. Russian and Iranian support for the Taliban complicate the issue. India will therefore continue to support the government in Kabul through aid and diplomacy, without getting militarily involved.
India and the Middle East: energy at the heart of new strategic partnerships
Over the past 15 years, India has elevated many of its relationships with countries in the Middle East to “strategic partnerships.” But how much substance is there to that moniker? Energy is the driving force behind the phenomenon: Indian demand for fossil fuels is rising sharply, while Middle Eastern countries want to shore up their positions in a crucial market. Beyond that, there is little that is “strategic” about these ties, and the interests of energy buyers and sellers are not necessarily aligned.
As Indian agriculture expands, farmers and reform prospects suffer
India’s food output has nearly quadrupled over the past 50 years, but farm households – more than half the country’s population – are in some ways worse off. Rural distress is weighing on the country’s politics and eroding the government’s political base. If India wants to follow the path of the Asian tigers, it should start where they did: agricultural reform.
GIS Dossier: Autumn of the patriarchs
In many parts of the world, the outlook for political stability in 2018 will depend on aging, often long-serving politicians. Some are senescent leaders trying to manage a generational transition, others have caught their second wind and are bracing for a long run. Here is a short list of rulers who are losing their grip, handling tricky successions, or building their legacies with a late burst of vigor. They are a key human element in geopolitics.
Washington poised to become New Delhi’s partner in the Indian Ocean
Not since the Cold War has the United States paid such close attention to the Indian Ocean. Now the competitor attracting Washington’s attention is China, not the Soviet Union, and its closest partner is India – a country with its own concerns about Chinese designs in the region. The consequence will be an abiding U.S. military, economic and diplomatic presence in the region.
Geopolitics drives Japan’s economy
Japanese companies are making a big push overseas. The phenomenon is a result of a shrinking population, but also geopolitical pressure from China. To counter Beijing’s influence, Japan is using its economic heft to expand its reach and protect its interests. Its ties with countries like India and Australia will continue to grow, and it will step into the vacuums left by a withdrawing United States and an overstretched China.
Doklam standoff reflects changing China-India relationship
The military showdown between unarmed Chinese and Indian troops on the Doklam Plateau in the Himalayas is different than previous border tiffs in the region between these two Asian giants. The new dimensions reflect a changing relationship between Beijing and New Delhi, as both gain international clout. The current crisis is unlikely to get out of hand, but China and India will continue to butt heads.
GIS Dossier: Nuclear energy
The 2011 Fukushima disaster brought nuclear energy development programs around the world to a screeching halt – temporarily. Though Germany plans to fully phase out nuclear power production, Japan has brought several reactors back online, and other countries have restarted construction on nuclear plants. These developments have had huge geopolitical effects: Germany’s fossil fuel imports from Russia have grown, while China has found an opening to increase its sway on four continents by financing nuclear projects.