Rajesh Rajagopalan, a participant in RPI’s Nuclear Debates in Asia and Worldviews of Aspiring Powers projects and professor in International Politics at Jawaharlal Nehru University, wrote an op-ed for The Economic Times where he discussed challenges that will be waiting in the inbox of Sushma Swaraj, the recently named External Affairs Minister for India’s new government. After the overwhelming election of Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, Rajagopalan suggests two key priorities for the new foreign policy team: 1) restoring good relations with the United States, East Asian powers, and India’s immediate neighbors; and 2) improving Indian foreign service infrastructure.
He expects Swaraj will be able to take advantage of the BJP’s commanding mandate to “undertake both important policy and institutional changes” since “such opportunities come but rarely and it would be a shame if this one is wasted.” (more…)Continue Reading →
Results from India’s elections culminated in a victory for India’s main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), lead by Narendra Modi. The polls showed that Modi and his party won the most decisive election victory India has seen in three decades, sweeping the long-dominant Congress party from power. This Policy Alert examines commentary from India, China, Japan, and South Korea on Modi’s electoral victory.
Indian media outlets and commentators discussed the “shock and awe” of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s electoral victory, which rode the “Modi wave” to win a majority of seats without the need to form a coalition government:
- The Hindu reflected on the public’s “emphatic rejection” of the Congress Party, which “managed to surpass the worst predictions, embracing defeat on a scale too shocking to behold.” The paper concluded the victory “reflects the intensity of the desire for more effective governance.”
- Subir Gokarn, in an op-ed for the Business Standard, identified three national missions for the new Modi government: improving food security and prices, boosting infrastructure development, and accelerating job creation. This “economics first” agenda was also advanced by the Hindustan Times. Joginder Singh, in an op-ed for The Daily Pioneer, added anti-corruption efforts and governance reforms to the list.
Business leaders and stock market investors appeared to welcome the new BJP-led government with open arms:
- Shankar Sharma, a global strategist for First Global, wrote in an op-ed for The Economic Times that he will give the Modi government “plenty of slack” – 60 months – to reverse India’s economic downturn and prioritize growth over secular quarrels.
- Noting the Indian stock exchange’s record breaking highs immediately after election results were announced, The Hindu sensed “unbridled optimism” “rooted in the belief that a politically stable government free from troublesome allies and capable of taking strong economic decisions” will soon take office.
- While The Hindu predicted “a wave of economic reforms” and revived infrastructure projects, one of its columnist, C.R.L. Narasimhan, cautioned “the reality is likely to be very different” when ambitious “political promises” take time to translate into policy and overcome state-level gridlock. The Business Standard expressed similar views and called for civil service reform to get antiquated institutions ready for action.
Tensions in the South China Sea have significantly increased over the last several days, following a standoff between Vietnamese and Chinese coast guards over a Chinese oil rig and the Philippine maritime police’s arrest of Chinese fishermen for alleged poaching in the disputed waters. This has led ASEAN leaders to jointly express “serious concerns” and call for restraint over territorial disputes in the region. In this Policy Alert, we examine commentary from China, Japan, India, and South Korea on the recent development in the South China Sea.
Chinese newspapers slammed Vietnam and the Philippines for infringing on China’s territorial integrity, while simultaneously criticizing ASEAN for its involvement in the conflict. (more…)Continue Reading →
Dr. Mike Mochizuki, Identity and Power in Asia project co-director and associate dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University, offered his thoughts on Japan-South Korea relations during a recent interview with The Japan Times. Before Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe moves to reinterpret his country’s Constitution to allow greater flexibility on collective self-defense issues, Mochizuki stressed Tokyo needed to revive ties with Seoul.
“My judgment is that there’s no need to hurry about reinterpretation,” he argued, noting “it’s not the right timing because the relationship between Japan and Korea has been bad.” Despite domestic political considerations, Dr. Mochizuki warned that South Korea could respond negatively to a sudden increase in Japanese military capabilities and missions. South Korean leaders may try to isolate Japan by supporting Chinese criticism of the island nation.
If handled correctly, he concluded greater flexibility on individual and collective self-defense could benefit international security. Japan’s modern aversion to military force “would be good if Japan became a full-fledged member of the international community” as it would “provide some restraint on the United States,” Mochizuki said.Continue Reading →