Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Indonesia at the end of May 2018 followed that of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to the Southeast Asian nation earlier the same month. The Modi visit is a significant step not just for the bilateral relationship but in clarifying what India’s strategy is in the region. It is, therefore, important to both understand China’s impact on the India-Indonesia bilateral relationship and what it is that India is up against in converting the rhetoric into action.
As important as practical immediate-term outcomes are – as on counter-terrorism, for example – a long-term vision should also animate the relationship between India and Indonesia that has for long been consigned to a secondary or tertiary status in both capitals. One Indian official on the eve of the visit said that he expected the visit to be ‘forward-looking’. But he also set its foundation very low by noting the obvious that ‘India and Indonesia do not share any territorial disputes, which is significant to add momentum to the relationship’. Continue reading Modi’s Indonesia Visit: China in the Mix
At the 17th China-ASEAN leaders’ meeting in Naypyitaw, Myanmar in November 2014, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang called for the formulation of a Plan of Action to Implement the Joint Declaration on the ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity (2016-2020) to ensure good neighbourly relations. A Global Times commentary has pointed out that while the Chairman’s Statement of the 24th ASEAN Summit on the South China Sea disputes ‘expressed serious concerns over the ongoing developments in the South China Sea’, the statement at the 25th Summit that concluded in Naypyitaw on 13 November, only mentioned that it was ‘concerned over the situation in the South China Sea’. Clearly, the Chinese are working on the ASEAN members to moderate their views on the seriousness of the impact of the South China Sea disputes, and by extension, China’s actions, on regional stability. Continue reading Divide and Rule: China Woos Southeast Asia
During her visit to India for the 2nd Indo-US Strategic Dialogue, last week, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called upon India to “not just to look east, but to engage east and act east as well”. But the problem in New Delhi might well be an incapacity to ‘think east’ beyond the boundary dispute with China or trying to retain a toehold against Chinese dominance in Myanmar. What engagement there is occurs in the economic domain but India remains overcautious in its political and military outreach to the Asia-Pacific. Continue reading Hillary Clinton’s India Visit: Chinese Elephant in the Room
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.