What is causing this crisis in India?
Perhaps this is the first time in the pandemic we have seen a major health system close to collapsing under the strain of so many people requiring hospital care, although maybe Manaus in Brazil was a similar example. The accounts of people dying in queues as they try to access life-saving care or dying in hospitals which run out of oxygen is terrifying and extremely concerning. The response from the national and state governments has been very mixed.
In many respects, this is a consequence of India’s chronically under-funded health system with just over one per cent of GDP spent on public health financing.… Seguir leyendo »
Whether China’s approach to Myanmar proves fruitful or not depends on the metrics used to consider success and on the outcome of the current stand-off in that country between most of the population, which voted for the National League for Democracy (NLD), and the military.
Much of the focus is on how China did not welcome the military coup and how it has improved relations with the NLD in recent years. But its actions since the coup – or in fact, apparent lack of them – suggest its approach to Myanmar purely reflects its own self-interest.
Any concerns China has about the coup seem to relate only to the resulting instability rather than the coup itself.… Seguir leyendo »
A week of highly choreographed and carefully sequenced diplomacy in Asia culminated with a meeting of the United States Secretary of State, the US National Security Advisor and their Chinese counterparts in Anchorage, Alaska. Chatham House experts analyse the outcome.
Defining moment in global divide between democracy and autocracy
Dr Leslie Vinjamuri
The Biden administration executed the week with laser precision to draw a circle around Asia’s leading democracies, deepen its alliances, underscore its commitment to democracy and human rights, and mount a defence of the rules-based order.
It has become crystal clear the global divide between democracy and autocracy is going to define America’s relationship with China, as well as underpinning the entirety of its approach to the Indo-Pacific region.… Seguir leyendo »
For two-thirds of the time since it gained independence in 1948, the military has directly ruled Myanmar. In 1990, the National League for Democracy (NLD) won a landslide victory but the military refused to acknowledge the results and the People's Assembly never convened. Perhaps ironically, this latest military takeover took place the day before Groundhog Day.
No elections were held from 1990 for 30 years until 2010 when the NLD boycotted a fresh election and the army-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) won a majority. Prior to the next election in 2015, the view that the NLD was something of a busted flush after decades of repression was relatively widespread, but this turned out to be wide of the mark as the NLD won a landslide victory.… Seguir leyendo »
While we must wait for the final reckoning of most successful national coronavirus responses, it does still appear those countries with memories of MERS and SARS - such as Singapore, Taiwan, Hong-Kong, and South Korea – led the way in being best prepared for COVID-19, with strong contract tracing and isolation measures.
Experience of previous outbreaks informed the containment strategies adopted by countries in East Asia in response to COVID-19. Vietnam reported its first case of COVID-19 in January but, over the following four months with rapid targeted testing, contact tracing and successful containment, only around 300 additional cases with no deaths were confirmed.… Seguir leyendo »
While most people would agree that resilience - commonly understood as the ability to adapt and bounce back from adversity - is a good thing, the varied responses to COVID-19 have demonstrated that the concept is multi-layered and highly complex.
In many countries, policymakers are calling for increased emphasis on making systems and societies resilient against shocks, while some have already been incorporating resilience thinking into their strategies - either as a result of previous shocks or having understood the systemic challenges they face in being prepared for major shocks, usually following an audit.
Resilience is not just about preparedness for pandemics.… Seguir leyendo »
One of the more serious recent military stand-offs between India and China took place in 2017. The following year, however, a summit between China’s President, Xi Jinping, and the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, appeared to change course back towards some kind of peaceful co-existence.
From the Indian perspective, views towards China have varied between strategic hawks and other groups – notably commercial – benefitting from engagement with China. The latter appeared to be in the ascendency.
However, a series of flare-ups along the border in May might be changing that calculation. Several reports of unarmed combat between soldiers have been reported at separate locations along the border.… Seguir leyendo »
India’s first wave of economic reforms were triggered by an economic crisis during which economic growth fell to just 1.1 per cent in 1991. With some estimates suggesting that India’s economy will contract by a staggering 45 per cent year-on-year contraction for the current quarter, there are some signs that the current crisis could trigger a change of direction in terms of economic management – though in which direction is much less clear.
Since Narendra Modi was first elected in 2014 there had been expectations – perhaps more from external observers than domestic commentators – that he would undertake the ambitious economic reforms that had eluded his predecessors.… Seguir leyendo »
The outbreak of communal violence in Delhi this week is the worst in India’s capital for decades. It both reflects and will reinforce India’s polarization.
That polarization is between the view that India represents homogeneity, grounded on the fact that its citizens are overwhelmingly (around four-fifths) Hindu (the view of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party [BJP] of Narendra Modi), and the alternative that India represents diversity – its population includes hundreds of millions of non-Hindus and speakers of dozens if not hundreds of different languages.
India’s polarization is reflected in the reaction to the three days of violence in northeast Delhi, which left hundreds injured and, at the time of writing, 34 dead.… Seguir leyendo »
India’s approach to the regional groupings of which it is a member is self-evidently instrumentalist. With limited resources each of the organizations or groups which India promotes serve a particular economic, political or cultural purpose.
Thus, IBSA (comprising India, Brazil and South Africa) comprises a group of like-minded, Southern democracies, useful to align approaches in forums such as the UN. The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) offered a means of showcasing not political alignment but economic potential. Regional forums – the Indian Ocean Rim Association, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation – each offer different means for India to develop or demonstrate its regional role.… Seguir leyendo »
In 2016 India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, pledged to double farmers’ incomes by 2022. While the pledge may have been aspirational, reliant on good weather as much as government policy, the 2018/19 budget demonstrates the depth of the government’s commitment to the agriculture sector.
There’s clearly a political edge to any moves to bolster agriculture: any solace to rural India will be described as political opportunism until most people in India are not engaged directly or indirectly in the agricultural sector.
And with a number of state elections coming up this year and a general election next – suggestions that it will be brought forward have increased in volume since the budget – a politically-astute budget is unsurprising.… Seguir leyendo »
Almost exactly 70 years ago, Indian troops arrived in Kashmir to support its ruler’s decision to accede to India. The subsequent division of Kashmir between India and Pakistan has sparked occasional conflict between the two countries, and since 1989 Indian Kashmir has suffered from an ongoing insurgency, reflecting both discontent among Indian Kashmiris at poor governance as well as meddling from Pakistan.
The grievances of Kashmiris are manifold – unemployment and corruption are major concerns – and over the years the state response to protests involved human rights abuses which have fed into the cycle of resentment. While successive Indian governments have recognized the need for a political dialogue – and some form of political settlement – they have been loath to start a dialogue while significant protests are taking place.… Seguir leyendo »
Pakistan has placed its forces on high alert after being denounced by India as a ‘terrorist state’ complicit in an attack on a military base at Uri in Indian-administered Kashmir. The accusations have been strongly denied by Pakistan and fuelled a war of words, raising bilateral tensions to levels not seen since the Mumbai terror attacks of 2008.
The attacks coincide with an upsurge in protests in Kashmir triggered by the death of Burhan Wani, a media-savvy and seemingly popular militant. For Pakistan, Kashmir lies at the heart of its disputed relationship with India. Pakistan has traditionally argued that Kashmir needs to be ‘resolved’ to enable the relationship to improve.… Seguir leyendo »