Julian Cribb, author of Surviving the 21st Century, The Coming Famine and seven other books, discusses how scarcities of fresh water and topsoil, combined with the impact of climate change on regional food production, highlight the growing strategic significance of these primary resources for human survival, health and wellbeing as potential drivers of conflict and mass migration to 2050 and beyond.
Nepal has a complicated political geometry and an ongoing shortage of energy, the implications of which are reflected in the relationships with its giant neighbours. Its hydro-power resources, and Sino-Indian negotiations for access to those resources, will continue to be Nepal’s primary saleable asset.
FDI Associate Anand Kumar contrasts the approaches taken by China and India in South Asia. Mr Kumar observes that South Asia is not the only region in which China is very active and that its activities there are part of a larger, well-crafted strategy to achieve the status of a global power.
India, on the other hand, Mr Kumar finds, simply seems to be reacting and cannot hope to match or contain Chinese influence in the region unless its own economic development becomes a model to be followed by other countries.
Given the problems confronting SAARC, the best course of action will be for India to allow the organisation to die a natural death while continuing to engage like-minded neighbours on issues of mutual interest through initiatives that will hopefully coalesce into a more effective successor to SAARC.
As an intergovernmental organisation, SAARC has been gridlocked by a combination of historical, geographical, ethno-religious and political factors, including a sense of insecurity towards India, and the absence of tangible and achievable shared regional goals.
Developments in the Middle East mean that next US President should review Washington’s policy towards the region, place it squarely within the vital national interests of the United States and appoint a presidential taskforce to make specific regional policy recommendations.
India’s attempt to secure membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) failed at the plenary meeting in Seoul on 24 June 2016, when China led to deny it membership on “procedural” grounds. In this Associate Paper, Dr Auriol Weigold raises questions: was China’s blocking of India’s NGS bid a bilateral move? Does the NSG’s decision affect Indian and Chinese regional objectives? Is India affected by remaining outside the NSG?
Countering the violent radical ideology and policies that drive jihadist killers over the long term requires a strategic focus on three key approaches: delegitimising the religious narrative that killers use to justify their actions in the name of their religion; identifying credible moderate voices within Islam and empowering them to speak up against the violent hijackers of their faith; and encouraging friendly Arab and Muslim regimes to condemn the radical ideology in their societies and adopt domestic policies that would include their peoples in governance.
Given the two countries’ penchant for dogged negotiations, their relationship is unlikely to progress at a galloping pace, but slow progress should not be interpreted as a lack of interest. At the moment, neither country seems to have more attractive alternatives. The success of India’s economic diplomacy in Iran will depend upon both the speedy completion of infrastructure and energy projects and the forging of a partnership in the new economy.
The commentary and news on the Indo-Iranian relationship, in both countries, are flawed insofar as an explanation of exactly what constitutes a delay is never put forward. A more nuanced understanding of “delay” as an empirically verifiable fact, rather than an allegation or complaint, and as a strategically important component of diplomacy is needed.