The issue of independence in West Papua will likely reignite as Indonesia renews its autonomy laws for the region. The prospects for West Papua’s independence movement are bleak; Indonesia simply has too much at stake in the region and does not face enough external pressure to hold an independence referendum. Further compounding matters, in the current geopolitical climate, concerns relating to China will also heighten sensitivities surrounding the potential vulnerability of an independent West Papua.
At a ceremony to hand over the first tranche of 36 Dassault Rafale fighter aircraft to the Indian Air Force, French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly was clear about her country’s support for India as a primary strategic partner.
Washington launched a new partnership with Mekong countries to counter rising Chinese influence in continental South-East Asia. As parts of the region are pulled closer into Beijing’s orbit, however, it is unlikely that the new partnership will alter the geopolitical situation.
Washington’s upgraded relationship with the Maldives and its invitation to build ports and bases in Palau can only add to Beijing’s consternation – and increase the likelihood of conflict between them.
Neither Democrats nor Republicans can afford to ignore India or the Indian-American community, sizeable proportions of which are located in key battleground states. Given the size of India as a market and its increasing strategic relevance, a future Biden Presidency is unlikely to significantly change the direction of US foreign policy towards India. What remains to be seen is whether the choice of Kamala Harris as his running mate helps Joe Biden in attracting more of the South Asian vote in general and the Indian vote in particular.
Indonesia, and to a lesser extent India, have jurisdiction over the major maritime choke points of the Malacca Strait, the Six-Degree Channel and the Sunda Strait, through all of which large volumes of maritime trade pass. Both have been made uneasy by China’s expansionist maritime activities and its ambivalence towards international law. As custodians of vital maritime choke points, India and Indonesia have a duty to ensure that the rules-based order is maintained in those waters.
While the increasing international pushback against China’s coercive tendencies may be viewed as the international community finally standing up to Beijing, the more pertinent question ought to be: how much more pressure can General Secretary Xi endure without feeling overwhelmed or cornered and lashing out militarily?
It is unlikely that the protests will bring about major change in the short-term future, as activists continue to be arrested. They do, however, represent a generational shift in Thai politics and could lead to similar protests in the future.
After normalising diplomatic relations, the UAE and Israel could both stand to benefit from closer collaboration in agricultural and water research and development.
The Politicisation of Australian Agricultural Trade with China Suggests that New Export Markets Need to be Cultivated
While Australian agricultural exports to China remained steady in the first half of 2020, the latest trade data suggests that they will face considerable headwinds for the foreseeable future. As Beijing continues to target Australian agricultural industries with trade bans and tariffs, in an attempt to apply political pressure to Canberra, it is in Australia’s interests to cultivate new export markets.