Publication in Economics, Politics and Public Policy in East Asia and the Pacific

Can Modi make India’s dreams reality?

Author: Rajiv Kumar, Centre for Policy Research

The people of India have delivered a verdict beyond expectations in favour of Narendra Modi, reflecting the people’s hope for structural change in India’s development paradigm.

The pan-Indian victory across rural, urban and tribal lines reflects the deep and widespread aspirations of the new Indian.

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Pakistan struggles to escape the abyss

Author: Alicia Mollaun, ANU

Pakistan is wracked by economic instability and security problems that affect the life of every citizen. These interlinked problems are eating away at the Pakistani state and, if left untreated they will create more fragility which is good neither for Pakistan, the region, nor the rest of the world. Read more…

Afghanistan will weather the storm

Author: Khalid Koser, Geneva Centre for Security Policy

As Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and Abdullah Abdullah prepare for a runoff in Afghanistan’s presidential elections, many commentators have been surprised by how peaceful the political process has been to date. The widespread fraud that characterised the 2009 presidential election has not been repeated Read more…

Abe looks through legal loophole for collective self-defence

Author: Ulv Hanssen, Freie Universität

In his quest to make constitutional reform a reality, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is now looking to invoke a controversial court ruling from 1959 as a pretext for reinterpreting the country’s constitution and authorising the exercise of collective self-defence. Read more…

Smoke and mirrors in trade disputes will harm public health

Author: Matthew Rimmer, ANU

The 2014 World Cancer Report, issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO), indicates that the number of new cancer cases has reached an all-time high. On the 19 May 2014, Dr Margaret Chan, the Director-General of the WHO, gave a stirring speech to the 67th Health Assembly on the heavy health burden associated with cancer. Chan was particularly interested in public health measures designed to combat the global tobacco epidemic. Read more…

Finding a future for minorities in Bhutan’s emerging democracy

Author: Susan Banki, University of Sydney

Bhutan is famously known for the unique approach it has taken to measuring its population’s overall wellbeing. ‘Gross national happiness’ (GNH) is a set of criteria that considers sustainable development, support of cultural values, environmental conservation and good governance to offer a nuanced index through which the country judges its success. Read more…

Modi a shot in the arm for Indian economy

Author: Sourabh Gupta, Samuels International

By the time the results of India’s gruelling 16th general election were announced, it had become clear that the penchant of the Indian voter for confounding New Delhi’s forecasters would continue for a third straight election. Read more…

Haiyang 981: from water cannons to court?

Author: Huy Duong, Southeast Asian Sea Foundation

A dangerous clash has flared up between Vietnam and China over the latter’s deployment of an oil rig near the disputed Paracel Islands. One option for Vietnam is to submit the dispute to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea’s (UNCLOS) compulsory dispute settlement procedure.

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India’s landmark election

Author: Raghbendra Jha, ANU

The scale of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) victory in India’s lower house (Lok Sabha) elections astounded all but the most optimistic of BJP supporters. The basic results have been repeated ad nauseam: the BJP won a majority in its own right — the first time any party has done so since 1984.

Together with its allies the BJP won 336 of 543 Lok Sabha seats. The numbers reflect a profound change that has occurred in the Indian polity — this has been the most unifying election for India in over a generation. Read more…

Myanmar’s military: from menace to mediator

Author: Adam P. MacDonald, Halifax

Reforms currently underway in Myanmar are often viewed as a thinly veiled attempt at disguising the military rule in its latest incarnation. While the military has moved away from tightly controlling the country’s day-to-day administration, it has ensured that its core interests remain preserved in the Constitution. Specifically, the military has kept its position as an autonomous entity beyond civilian oversight and maintained an exclusive authority over security matters. The military — or Tatmadaw — remains the most powerful actor in the current system but their role has changed significantly since the 2010 parliamentary elections. Read more…

Can the US tone down to ASEAN’s tune?

Author: Andrew Chubb, UWA

This month’s Sino–Vietnamese confrontation in the South China Sea, which began when China unilaterally sent a large oil drilling platform to disputed waters 220 kilometres from the Vietnamese coast, raises the question of how to deter unilateral provocations in maritime East Asia.

The US response was swift and public. Read more…

Re-visiting Japan’s constitution

Author: Peter Drysdale, Editor, East Asia Forum

The debate on the reinterpretation of the Japanese constitution is looming to be the single most consequential security-related debate in Tokyo since the US-Japan Security Treaty debate in 1960.

Japanese Prime Minister Abe has compounded matters by choosing a hand-picked ‘panel of experts’ (the Advisory Panel on Reconstruction of the Legal Basis for Security — or the Security Advisory Committee) Read more…

Abe’s quest for collective self-defence: will Asia’s sea lanes bind or divide?

Author: Sourabh Gupta, Samuels International

It has been a long-standing lament of national security conservatives in Tokyo that Japan failed to take advantage when the opportunity presented itself in the mid-1980s to extend the range of its maritime patrols across the full length of the ‘oil line’ from the Persian Gulf through the Straits of Malacca to Northeast Asia. The United States would have favoured it Read more…

No reason to rush into a Eurasian Economic Union

Authors: Alibek Konkanov and Bakhytzhan Kurmanov, Economic Research Institute, Kazakhstan

On 29 April at the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council summit in Minsk, where the presidents of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia discussed the future of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), it was announced that the agreement to establish the EEU would be signed on 29 May in Astana. This is a project that can be traced back to 1994, when the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, proposed creating a Eurasian union. Read more…

Harnessing economic potential in India’s northeast

Author: Duncan McDuie-Ra

Northeast India is increasingly being viewed as a key region for private investment. More than 90 per cent of the area is bordered by other countries, including Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, China and Nepal. There are eight federal states in the northeast, as well as a number of autonomous territories. Read more…