Opinion: India nudges China toward Belt and Road changes
India has long warned of the strategic dangers posed by China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Today, more and more countries are voicing their suspicions about the BRI’s potential effects. The project also faces difficulties due to financial problems within China. Beijing seems to be recasting the BRI as a smaller, more open project. India and many other countries remain wary.
Mounting tension in Asia
Pressure is building in relations between the U.S. and China, especially after the recent APEC summit. However, the heightened rhetoric used there could give both countries a chance to climb down and come to a deal. Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping will have a perfect opportunity to do so during the G20 summit in Buenos Aires.
U.S.-India ties are still strengthening
India imports oil from Iran and buys arms from Russia, while trying to mend fences with Beijing. All this seems anathema to American policy, and now President Donald Trump has turned down an invitation to visit India in January. But reports that the U.S.-India relationship is on the rocks are premature.
Modi looks inward on trade
The Indian government has taken a protectionist posture on trade, taking measures to boost domestic manufacturing, hike tariffs and stall trade negotiations. Yet exports have failed to increase, in part because of red tape and poor logistics. The administration’s present attitude could see India struggle with the current account deficit and increasingly get shut out from overseas markets, unless a growing corporate sector can lobby for change.
The burgeoning India-Japan partnership
Japan and India are fast becoming close partners. Small wonder: the two countries both want to counteract China's rise, especially in the Indian Ocean. The countries have strengthened economic and military ties, and together could challenge China at sea. As Beijing attempts to project its power ever further, the Indo-Japanese partnership will only grow.
Modi’s economy faces the voters
The Modi government in India enters the last year of its term with mixed economic results. The prime minister has moderated inflation and carried out important reforms, but growth remains slow and many Indians are pessimistic about their financial situation. With elections coming next April and several external threats on the horizon, a second term for Narendra Modi is in doubt.
Sino-Indian relations after the Wuhan summit
In late April, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held an “informal summit” during which they reached a tacit understanding to turn down the heat on their countries’ contentious relationship. Both leaders have many more urgent issues on their plates, and need room to maneuver. But without any concrete steps taken to solve the Asian giants’ big disagreements, renewed confrontation is only a matter of time.