The construction of dams could bring both benefits and risks to South Asia. If they are constructed they will fuel development, but could also heighten the risk from earthquakes and increase interstate tension. Their long-term utility is also likely to come under pressure from increased climatic variability.
The South African economy is facing a perfect storm of structural and cyclical factors, including high unemployment, little job creation, an often poorly skilled workforce, a weak currency that is prone to external shocks, the possibility of credit rating downgrades, the lingering effects of electricity shortages, a costly public service and the continuing spectre of political interference.
Born out of mutual strategic necessity, the India-Japan relationship really accelerated when highly nationalistic leaders took office in both countries almost simultaneously. Both Narendra Modi and Shinzo Abe perceived China as a threat, hastening the development of the alliance.
South Africa, Southern Africa’s largest food producer, has experienced its driest year since records began in 1904. It typically exports surplus food to neighbouring countries but, due to decreased production, it is not able to do so this year. If South Africa is transitioning to a new climate paradigm, it will need to explore the feasibility of producing alternative food crops, developing new sources of water and constructing alternative methods of generating electricity.
Bangladesh faces significant challenges in adapting to the impacts of climate change. Its topography and geographical location make it particularly susceptible to extreme weather events including cyclones, floods and storm surges. Food and water security are likely to be particularly affected by the changing climate, forcing Bangladeshis to adapt.
Born of mutual necessity, the Indo-Russian relationship thrived as India sought to gain from the political, economic and security advantages that it offered. It deteriorated over time as the result of a changing international setting. Since then, the leaders of both countries have recognised the need for a closer relationship and are seeking to renew it.
Conservative forces in Iran see their more moderate counterparts, headed by President Hassan Rouhani, as a danger to the status quo and their hold on power. The conservatives have used the recent missile tests to undermine Rouhani’s standing with the West.
While the potential for conflict between India and China is low, a combination of regional competition and water-sharing tension could still threaten regional stability. Improved communication and co-operation would reduce the potential for conflict.
Indonesia and Malaysia are becoming increasingly important to political developments in South-East Asia. Both countries can play an important role in delegitimising, and offering a counter-narrative to, extremist groups in the region.
Indonesia is not water scarce as it has enough water to satisfy the needs of its population and economy. Uneven distribution, poor management and a lack of infrastructure, however, have left parts of the country with insufficient access to water. Without considerable investment, water security in Indonesia will remain tenuous and subject to rapid deterioration.