The 8th BRICS Summit: India Hosts, China Gains

The 8th BRICS Summit in Goa in October this year, India came close on the heels of the G-20 Summit at Hangzhou in China and appears more or less to have had the same agenda except that it was smaller in size and therefore brought into sharper focus the contradictions within. The BRICS grouping remains an unbalanced one. China is in a league of its own in the BRICS – both in economic terms as well as increasingly in the political sphere. India is the only other member that has a strong economy – the other three economies are in various stages of stress. However, the grouping is also about taking political positions and here once again, China’s dominant weight has seen statements taking on anti-Western tilt.Read More »

Advertisements

Missing Opportunities: India and OBOR

Originally published as Jabin T. Jacob, ‘India and OBOR: It’s Not Complicated’, BRICS Post, 16 October 2016.

When Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping met for their bilateral on the sidelines of the 8th BRICS Summit in Goa two issues dominated. One was the Chinese resistance to India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). The other was China’s refusal to support UN action against terrorists living under state protection in its ally Pakistan, who were involved in the attack on the Indian Parliament in New Delhi in 2001 and the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai.

It is unlikely that New Delhi will get anywhere with the Chinese on either issue. The reasons are rather simple.Read More »

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank: Promise and Responsibility

This article was specifically requested as an op-ed by the Renmin Ribao at very short notice. I submitted it in early December 2014 in English and they sent a Chinese translation for my approval. I approved it but it was then never published.

English original

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is a sign of Asian commitment to both regional and global economic development. Besides promoting regional connectivity and self-reliance for Asian countries, the AIIB also creates opportunities for developed countries in the form of greater investment opportunities as well as for promoting their own economic recovery.  As the Chinese Finance Minister Lou Jiwei has pointed out, historically, the establishment of regional multilateral development banks such as the Asian Development Bank (ADB) or the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development did not weaken the influence of existing development banks such as the World Bank. Rather, it was the total capacity of development financing that increased promoting still further development of the global economy. Thus, the AIIB will be an additional source for development financing in the Asian region with a specific focus on infrastructure and in contrast to the ADB with its focus on poverty alleviation.Read More »

The BRICS Challenge: Converting Rhetoric to Leadership

Originally published: जबिन टी. जेकब, “सिर्फ बयानों से नहीं बढ़ेगा ब्रिक्स का वर्चस्व,” Business Bhaskar, 5 April 2012, p. 4.
(original text in English follows below the Hindi text)

क्या ग्लोबल इकोनॉमी में ब्रिक्स एक असरदार, संगठित और नेतृत्वकारी आवाज बन कर उभर सकता है? क्या ब्रिक्स देशों का एक साथ खड़ा होना क्या पश्चिमी वर्चस्व वाली मौजूदा विश्व व्यवस्था के लिए चुनौती बन सकता है? लेकिन दिल्ली में हाल में समाप्त हुए चौथे ब्रिक्स शिखर सम्मेलन से इन बड़े सवालों का कोई जवाब नहीं मिलता।

आर्थिक दायरे में तो ब्रिक्स देश पश्चिम के लिए बड़ी चुनौती बन सकते हैं। पश्चिमी देशों खास कर यूरो जोन में जारी आर्थिक संकट के इस दौर में ऐसा संभव है। दिल्ली घोषणा पत्र में तो पश्चिमी देशों को नसीहत भी दी गई कि वे मैक्रो इकोनॉमी और वित्तीय नीति के मोर्चे पर जिम्मेदारी का परिचय दें। इन देशों से साफ-साफ कहा गया कि उन्हें अपनी अर्थव्यवस्था में ढांचागत सुधार करने होंगे।

लेकिन सिर्फ बयान देने भर से विश्व व्यवस्था का नेतृत्व आपके हाथ में नहीं आ जाएगा। Read More »

Emerging Regional Architectures in Asia

This is a presentation I made during the 11th Russia, India and China (RIC) Trilateral Conference held from 15-16 November 2011 at Beijing, China. The RIC is a Track-II initiative that involves the Institute of Far Eastern Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Chinese Studies, Delhi, and the China Institute of International Studies, Beijing.

The presentation titled, “Emerging Regional Architectures in Asia-Pacific and the Greater South Asia” is presented here in a slightly modified version and divided into five parts:

A. Regional Architecture

B. New Regional Architectures Emerging in Asia

C. What are the Fundamental Bases of an Effective Regional Architecture?

D. Domestic Political Systems and Regional Architectures

E. Conclusion

 Read More »

Of Strategic Dialogues and Talk-shops

Early May, even as the world was coming to grips with the killing of Osama bin Laden, the US was moving to deal with the other great challenger to its global interests, namely, China. The 3rd Strategic and Economic Dialogue (SED) between the two countries was held between 9 and 10 May in Beijing and touched upon a wide gamut of bilateral issues of concern. These ranged from human rights to China’s bias against foreign companies.

In addition to the usual heads of state summits between the two sides, the SED that involves cabinet ministers on both sides provides an opportunity for both sides to get down to the brass-tacks in the full glare of the media. The Dialogue indicates not just the gravity of the problems between them but also the seriousness of their bilateral dialogue. And the seriousness can only increase. Hitherto, the SED has performed the function more of maintaining status quo between them than of really ironing out differences. But the current SED suggests that the Obama administration has begun to reconsider its hitherto overly cautious China policy and is willing to take up confront Beijing on more sensitive matters. And coming in the wake of the bin Laden killing, the Chinese were no doubt aware that a reinvigorated US would also begun to turn its gaze back towards East Asia.

For India, the key point here is the manner of the Sino-US engagement. Read More »

Will Emerging Powers Promote Democracy?

Original Article: Oliver Stuenkel and Jabin T. Jacob, “Rising powers and the future of democracy promotion: the case of Brazil and India,” Portuguese Journal of International Affairs (Lisbon), No. 4, Autumn/Winter 2010, pp. 23-30.

Extract: The decline of Western dominance, symbolized by the financial crisis in 2008 and the rise of emerging actors such as China, India and Brazil, will fundamentally change the way decisions are made at the international level. Power, and the responsibilities that come with it, will be more evenly spread across a larger number of stakeholders, creating potentially a more equitable world order. Power not only allows rising actors to participate in international negotiations but also increasingly allows countries such as China, India and Brazil to frame the debate and decide which issues should be discussed in the first place. In other words, rising powers will increasingly turn into global agenda setters. Apart from changing the way decisions are made, the rise of non-established powers such as India and Brazil on the one hand and China on the other, will also have an impact on the international discourse on political values and systems of governance.

In the short-run, it does seem likely that the rise of emerging powers will contribute to the decreasing importance of democracy promotion in the international political discourse. African dictators will show little inclination to accept loans laden with conditionalities if they can opt for Chinese, Indian or Brazilian loans without any strings attached and Central Asian despots will seek to take advantage of instability in their neighbourhood or the fear of possible chaos in their own country to play one power against the other. But in the long-run, as they grow and become more confident of their positions in the world order, at least some emerging powers might see that they have little to from kowtowing to dictators. They might also seek increasingly to distinguish themselves not so much from the West as from each other. And at least Brazil and India could well find that their democratic nature is an important marker also of their global identity and that democracy promotion is an useful tool of their national interests worldwide.

Read more