The standoff at Doklam appears to be the most recent iteration of the strategy of incremental encroachment that China has employed for some time in the South China Sea. As at sea, conflict will benefit neither party, so diplomatic efforts to find a resolution must continue.
The removal from office of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif could be the catalyst for a change of approach to the civil-military relationship on the part of the influential province of Punjab. If Sharif’s party, the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), decides to continue his attempts at better relations with India, it will again place the government at odds with the army.
The leaders’ Joint Statement and Rose Garden speeches are indicative of possible future directions for the bilateral relationship, which will be underpinned by the domestic policy priorities exemplified by “Make in India” and “America First”. Beyond that, the strategic partnership is focussed on defence, security and stability but there is no shared strategic vision for the Indo-Pacific region.
Almost one year after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi drew international attention to Gilgit-Baltistan, there is little to no clarity on his government’s broad policy objectives for the disputed territory. It is unclear if the issue is merely being used to score brownie points with the domestic audience, to divert attention away from the crisis in Kashmir, to raise the cost of the CPEC or as a bargaining chip with Pakistan and/or China.
Gilgit-Baltistan is vital to the water, energy and conventional security of Pakistan. Its importance is only likely to increase because of the continued dependence of a large part of Pakistan’s growing population on agriculture that is under stress due to climate change and the growing dependence of the economy on Chinese investments.
Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Centre-State relations have evolved to the point that State government participation in foreign policy is no longer restricted to the economic sphere. The State governments will need, however, to have a clearer vision of the roles that they could (and should) play in India’s future economic and foreign policies.
The Saudi-Qatari feud is not good for regional stability and security. The anti-Qatar action is a clumsy tactic in the Saudi competition with Iran for regional hegemony that may signal the end of the Gulf Co-operation Council. Iran is unlikely to be deterred and will continue its ascendancy as a regional hegemon unaffected by the tribal squabbles across the Gulf.
Myths, Perceptions and Reality: The Allocation of Marine Resources in the Arafura and Timor Seas – Part Two
Australia maintains that the maritime boundary should reflect the extent of Australia’s natural continental shelf, not the median line between it and Timor-Leste. Suggestions that Canberra has robbed Dili of its oil revenue and been unfair in the negotiations of at least three boundary agreements are mischievous and opportunistic. A protracted legal battle with Australia over the Greater Sunrise hydrocarbon deposits runs counter to the economic and security interests of Timor-Leste.
Myths, Perceptions and Reality: The Allocation of Marine Resources in the Arafura and Timor Seas – Part One
Despite generous financial support, there is a perception that Australia has been unfair to Timor-Leste in the allocation of the revenue that may be accrued from the hydrocarbon reserves in the Timor Sea. In fact, the humanitarian aid and generous assistance given by Australia has been mirrored in the provisions of the various maritime boundary agreements reached with its northern neighbours. At the same time, the geographical and legal bases by which Australia claims sovereign rights to the resources on and under its natural continental shelf are clear and unambiguous and reflect the geographical location of the resources.
What level of Hinduisation is emerging in India under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and in what direction might his 2019 Election Manifesto attempt to steer the country? Conflicting ideologies may see paradoxes emerge between the government – in particular Modi’s “Idea” of India – and the Constitution, that lead to difficult questions about the Constitutional commitment to secularism and the practice of Hinduisation.