Chinese and Indian troops have clashed in hand-to-hand fighting in the Himalayas, resulting in the deaths of twenty Indian soldiers.
An emerging engine of growth in South Asia, Bangladesh enjoyed Gross Domestic Product growth of around eight per cent in each of the last two years, largely based on a very successful garment industry that employs four million workers and accounts for 13 per cent of GDP. Among the many consequences of the coronavirus now confronting Bangladesh are the spectres of halved economic growth forecasts and large-scale job losses in previously booming export sectors.
While President Trump’s recent visit to India did not advance a trade deal between the two countries, it did re-emphasise the security partnership, as evidenced by the sale of US military technology to India.
The visit to Australia by President Joko Widodo brought some optimism from both sides as to the future of the bilateral relationship. The priority now will be to improve the economic side of the equation, in the hope that other aspects of the relationship will follow. Working more closely to address shared concerns over maritime security may help to expedite that process.
The crux of the US and Indian leaders’ arguments for withdrawing their countries from the trade agreements is domestic economic policy, expressed succinctly by their respective campaign slogans, respectively “Make America Great Again” and “Make in India”.
The abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution may have occurred as part of Prime Minister Modi’s agenda of “Hindu-ising” India, elevating the BJP’s saffron flag and, thus, overturning Jawaharlal Nehru’s concept of a secular India.
Indonesian voters have returned incumbent president Joko Widodo for a second term in office. Although Widodo will be confronted by some significant domestic challenges, with elections occurring only one month apart in both countries and the eventual ratification of the IA-CEPA trade agreement, Australia is potentially well placed to signal a new phase in its relationship with Indonesia.
So far, Jokowi has fared better than Prabowo in the aftermath of the nomination announcements.
Pakistan, which was forced by circumstance to accept financial loans from China, now finds itself increasingly – and, perhaps, dangerously – indebted to Beijing, with little chance of escaping the debt trap into which it has fallen. There could be major consequences for its sovereignty.