Unlike his predecessor, President Biden is likely to favour working more closely with US friends and allies on geopolitical, economic and environmental issues of concern. While absolute convergence is impossible between any two countries, there are nonetheless more convergences than divergences between the US and India, and President Biden’s likely more flexible approach towards Iran, his difference in approach to immigration issues, and even in countering China, are some of the areas for potentially greater synergies between New Delhi and the Biden White House.
Beijing recognises that there are growing concerns within China about environmental conditions, especially in relation to air, water and soil pollution. In recent years it has introduced new laws and set a range of goals to reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Chinese officials admit that while environmental conditions have improved in recent years, they fall short of public expectations. Beijing is expected to announce new environmental goals in the upcoming 14th Five-Year Plan. If they are as poorly implemented as those in the previous plan, they are also likely to fall short of public expectations.
Former PM Nawaz Sharif’s attack against the Pakistan Army and current Prime Minister Imran Khan has elicited strong responses. Sharif’s claims could mobilise the opposition, at a time when Khan, who needs to deliver improved economic and governance outcomes, also needs to dispel his image of being a puppet of the army (which is unlikely to take Sharif’s criticism without some form of retaliation).
The consequences of China’s increasingly assertive foreign policy are being felt globally, with the Indo-Pacific being the most-affected region. Beijing must understand, however, that the Indo-Pacific is a multipolar region and is too large and complex to be dominated by any one power. In fact, China’s actions in the Indo-Pacific are further driving the consolidation of the Quad.
Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing has been described as the leading maritime security threat and the Chinese distant water fishing fleet is likely to be the world’s leading perpetrator. While Beijing has taken steps to address wrongdoing in the Chinese fishing industry, it might continue to ignore transgressions as the industry continues to play a role in the Communist Party’s maritime strategy.
Food insecurity has risen across East Africa since 2016, due to economic, conflict and climate shocks. While cases of Covid-19 in East Africa remain low relative to other parts of the world, the pandemic has had a deleterious effect on the economies of the region. It is likely that food insecurity in East Africa will continue to rise for many years to come.
General Secretary Xi Jinping’s speech on the occasion of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the founding of the United Nations is a classic example of the Chinese Communist Party’s doublespeak. Almost every statement was hypocritical when examined in light of such CCP actions as the suppression of elements of the Chinese population, the manipulation of international laws and regulations, and coercive international efforts.
Until recently, carbon released into the atmosphere from wildfires was not considered a significant component of atmospheric greenhouse gas as it was assumed that over the climatic cycle this carbon would be returned to vegetative re-growth. In Australia this may well be the case. Globally, however, a growing body of evidence suggests that carbon produced by wildfires is making a significant contribution to the volume of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere where it contributes to climate change.
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.
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.