Shyam Saran, Member, ICS Governing Council and former Indian Foreign Secretary
We are currently at one of those rare inflexion points in history when an old and familiar order is passing but the emerging order is both fluid and uncertain. And yet it is this very fluidity which offers opportunities to countries like India to carve out an active role in shaping the new architecture of global governance.
The international landscape is becoming chaotic and unpredictable but this is a passing phase. Sooner or later, whether peacefully or violently, a more stable world order will be born, with a new guardian or set of guardians to uphold and maintain it. This could be a multipolar order with major powers, both old and new, putting in place an altered set of norms and rules of the game, anchored in new or modified institutions. Or, there could be a 21st century hegemon which could use its overwhelming economic and military power to construct a new international order, which others will have to acquiesce in, by choice or by compulsion. This was so with the U.S. in the post World War-II period, until its predominance began to be steadily eroded in recent decades.
Jabin T. Jacob, PhD, Fellow, Institute of Chinese Studies
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina state visit to India from 7-10 April came after at least two postponements. The difficulty in getting the visit to take off is a far cry from the warmth and cordiality that was on display in words and deeds during Indian Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Dhaka in June 2015.
Hasina’s reservations had to do with her fear of coming away from New Delhi without any agreement either on sharing the Teesta river waters or on constructing the Ganges Barrage on the Padma river at Pangsha near Rajbari, which is what has happened. The agreement has fallen through multiple times during both the UPA tenure as well as during Modi’s visit and despite Dhaka agreeing to major India’s major demands of allowing transit of goods to Northeast both from Indian mainland overland through Bangladesh territory and by sea through the Bangladeshi ports of Chittagong and Mongla.
In January last year, when the Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Iran, the two countries agreed to expand their commercial ties to US$600 billion in the next ten years. On that visit, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Xi that, “Iran never trusted the West” that’s why Iran “seeks cooperation with more independent countries” (like China). China also welcomed Iran to work together under its ‘Belt and Road’ connectivity framework.
Hemant Adlakha, PhD, Honorary Fellow, ICS & Associate Professor of Chinese at the Centre for Chinese and Southeast Asian Studies, School of Language, Literature, & Culture Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University , New Delhi
Earlier this month, China voiced its unhappiness with North Korea for firing four extended range Scud missiles into the Sea of Japan. Beijing had suspended all coal imports from its neighbor earlier in February. Pyongyang responded by accusing Beijing of “dancing to the tune of the U.S.” This was not the first time North Korea had thumbed its nose at China. However, Beijing was in for a surprise when several Chinese strategic affairs experts went up in arms and demanded the Peoples’ Republic “abandon” North Korea. Continue reading “Chinese Debates on North Korea”→
Veda Vaidyanathan, PhD Candidate, University of Mumbai and ICS-HYI Doctoral Fellow
Over the past few months, there has been a lot of chatter in virtual corridors that Africanists inhabit, trying to assess what the new presidency in the US means for the continent. Donald Trump’s repeated references to the region during the campaign had not struck the right chords with African scholars and leadership alike.
Much hyperbole criticizing aid to Africa, using labels of corruption and crime and even mispronouncing ‘Tanzania’ during a foreign policy speech in April failed to project Africa as a reasonable foreign policy priority. Some analysts attributed the Trump’s lack of seriousness in addressing Africa – a region that houses some of the world’s fastest-growing economies – to his lack of substantial investments in the continent. Continue reading “US-Africa Relations Under Trump and What It Means for China”→
Jabin T. Jacob, PhD, Fellow, Institute of Chinese Studies
China has gone around Asia, particularly, Southeast Asia telling countries to behave because they are smaller than China. Beijing however, is strangely more diffident when it comes to Pyongyang’s consistently cocking a snook at it and also complicating China’s regional security environment at the same time. As opposed as they are to the DPRK’s nuclear status, the Chinese also do not seek a US-led regime change through military means and to see either North Korean refugees or American troops on its borders.
M.V. Rappai, Honorary Fellow, Institute of Chinese Studies.
Within a short span of ten days Chinese President and Chairman of Central Military Commission (CMC), Xi Jinping met with key members of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and exhorted them to adopt innovation and ‘jointness’. On 23 March 2016, Xi paid his first formal visit as the Party Secretary and Commander in Chief to the National Defence University, premier training institute of PLA. During his visit Xi wanted the NDU to “overhaul its courses and teaching methods, gearing them to foster officers who can command joint operations”. Earlier Xi Jinping met with all the representatives of PLA attending the annual National People’s Congress session on 13 March 2016. During his talks with them Xi wanted, innovation should be given a key position in China’s military development and “urged the armed forces to turn cutting edge technology into real combat capacity.” He further added that, “innovation is the core competitiveness of the military and number one driver to energize growth, and added that China is in urgent need of innovation driven development.”