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


Why a ‘Nixon moment’ in India–China relations is unlikely

China's President Xi Jinping and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrive for a signing ceremony during Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Qingdao, Shandong Province, China, 10 June, 2018 (Reuters/Aly Song).

Author: Raj Verma, Huaqiao University

India–China relations have hit a nadir after the recent clash between Indian and Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley. Although disengagement and de-escalation is underway, tensions remain high. Some argue that there has been a Chinese and Indian leadership failure in ensuring amicable ties, pointing to ‘a historical failure on both countries’ parts to initiate a Nixonian moment in their relationship’, a reference to the former US president’s promoting pragmatic coexistence with China. Read more…

India’s statistical system just doesn’t add up

Migrant workers crowd up outside a bus station as they wait to board buses to return to their villages during a 21-day nationwide lockdown to limit the spreading of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Ghaziabad, on the outskirts of New Delhi, India, 28 March 2020 (Photo: Reuters/Anushree Fadnavis).

Author: Vikas Kumar, Azim Premji University

A series of economic shocks — including the demonetisation of high denomination currency notes in 2016, the introduction of Goods and Services Tax in 2017 and the COVID-19 lockdown — have exposed the growing incapacity of India’s official statistical system to meet the requirements of policymaking. Read more…

When rising powers clash: face-off versus face-saving in China–India relations

Demonstrators stand next to an effigy depicting Chinese President Xi Jinping before burning it during a protest against China, in Kolkata, India, 18 June 2020 (Photo: Reuters/Rupak De Chowdhuri).

Author: Deepa M Ollapally, George Washington University

The border clash in the Galwan Valley between Asia’s two rising powers on 15 June has tested some key assumptions about their bilateral relationship. India and China both thought that they could contain any border disagreement without casualties. They were confident in their ability to rapidly de-escalate, as well as insulate their economic ties from a skirmish. There was also a prevalent assumption that it would take a lot more than border brawls to change India’s strategic preference for hedging and decisively move toward a US coalition.

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How COVID-19 is changing Indian federalism

A volunteer distributes masks to people in Jammu, the winter capital of India-controlled Kashmir, 16 March, 2020 (Photo: Retuers).

Author: Anirudh Burman, Carnegie India

India’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the balance of its federal structure. The pandemic has enabled the central government to implement far-reaching reforms in areas, such as agriculture, traditionally considered to be the domain of states. This exercise by the central government is indicative of its willingness to take advantage of a global crisis and use the levers of federal power to implement significant reforms. Read more…

India does not need a Cold War alliance

US President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi make joint statements after bilateral talks at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, India, 25 February 2020 (Photo: Reuters/Al Drago).

Author: Arzan Tarapore, National Bureau of Asian Research

As the India–China border crisis continues, will India join an alliance with the United States? Some analysts have suggested that India may now jettison its diplomatic ambiguity and ‘pick a side in the new cold war’. Last week, India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar rejected the idea of an alliance. But the border crisis may yet shift India’s approach to strategic competition with China.

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Nepal’s geopolitical dilemma

Activists affiliated with 'Human Rights and Peace Society Nepal' protest near the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu against the alleged encroachment of the Nepal border by India, 12 May 2020 (Photo: Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar).

Author: Gaurab Shumsher Thapa, Nepal Forum of International Relations Studies

Nepal is situated in a geostrategic location between two big and powerful states. Historically, Nepal’s foreign policy has focussed on maintaining a balanced relationship with its neighbours. Modern Nepal’s founder, the late King Prithvi Narayan Shah, once remarked that Nepal was a ‘yam between two boulders’.

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China–India border crisis reaches new heights

An Indian Army convoy moves along a highway leading to Ladakh, at Gagangeer in Kashmir's Ganderbal district 18 June 2020 (Reuters/Danish Ismail/File Photo).

Authors: Harsh V Pant and Kartik Bommakanti, ORF

The latest crisis to engulf China and India erupted over their disputed border in early May 2020, when India discovered the presence of a large number Chinese forces in its claimed territory. It became quickly evident that China had occupied several areas on India’s side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in western Ladakh, as well as a portion of territory in the Indian state of Sikkim. Read more…

COVID-19 exposes India’s weak public healthcare

A doctor wearing a protective face shield uses an infrared thermometer to measure the temperature of a child at his mobile health clinic, after his clinic and its adjoining areas were declared a micro-containment zone, after authorities eased lockdown restrictions that were imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Ahmedabad, India, 15 June 15 2020 (Reuters/Amit Dave/File Photo).

Author: Ranjan Ray, Monash University

The number of COVID-19 cases in India is increasing dramatically — the country recently overtook Russia and is now behind only the United States and Brazil in the global rankings. While much of the discussion in India is dominated by the sudden lockdown and ensuing hardship for migrant workers, stories of patients being refused admission to hospitals are shifting attention to the nation’s inadequate public healthcare system. Read more…

India’s COVID-19 balancing act

A healthcare worker checks the temperature of a woman using an electronic thermometer during a check up campaign for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a slum area in Mumbai, India 8 July, 2020 (Photo:Reuters/Francis Mascarenhas).

Author: Shamika Ravi, New Delhi

India has a federal governance structure where the delivery of healthcare services is primarily the responsibility of state governments. The central government formulated national policies to manage the outbreak of COVID-19, including instituting four consecutive national lockdowns and establishing testing protocols and travel advisories. But the experiences of individual citizens in India is largely a function of local state and district administrative capacities.

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Preserving peace along the China–India border

Student unions of Congress political party hold a protest gathering against the alleged incursion of China in India and killing of 20 Indian troops in Ladakh by Chinese army . Kolkata, India on 18 June 2020 (Reuters/Photo by Debarchan Chatterjee/ABACAPRESS.COM).

Author: Baohui Zhang, Lingnan University

On 15 June 2020, a tragic and violent clash occurred between Chinese and Indian troops along their disputed border at Galwan Valley, Ladakh. The conflict resulted in significant casualties, including deaths on both sides. This was the most serious clash between the two countries since the 1962 war, which sowed the seeds for current border tensions. Read more…

Understanding India’s renewable energy ambitions

Solar panels are seen inside the premises of the Jaisalmer Airport in desert state of Rajasthan, India, 13 August 2015. (Photo: Reuters/Anindito Mukherjee).

Authors: Disha Agarwal and Rishabh Jain, Council on Energy, Environment and Water

India’s renewable energy sector has experienced a dream run. A rapid decline in tariffs ensured that new projects were deployed at a compound annual growth rate of nearly 18 per cent over the last five years. In the last three years, renewable capacity addition surpassed fossil-fuel based installations. The share of non-fossil-based capacity in India’s electricity mix is now 37.7 per cent — just 2.3 per cent short of India’s national contribution target for 2030. Read more…

India’s infodemic

Migrant workers cover their children with saris as they wait to board a bus on their way to their home state of eastern Bihar during a lockdown to slow the spread of COVID-19, Ahmedabad, India, 20 May 2020 (Photo: Reuters/Amit Dave).

Author: Usha M Rodrigues, Deakin University

India is now the 3rd most impacted country by COVID-19, with cases nearing 900,000 and deaths surpassing 23,000 as of 13 July. India is also one of the leading nations when it comes to the sharing of ‘fake news’.

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India squanders its comparative advantage

Employees sew clothes at a garment factory in New Delhi, India, 29 September 2014 (Photo: Reuters/Adnan Abidi).

Author: John West, Sophia University

East Asia’s successful economies have achieved astonishing economic growth through export-driven development. They have exploited their comparative advantage of having an abundance of lower-skilled labour to drive economic growth. India should be digging into its comparative advantage too.

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China–India relations plummet to new lows in the Himalayas

Demonstrators shout slogans as they burn an effigy depicting Chinese President Xi Jinping during a protest against China, in Kolkata, India, 18 June, 2020 (Photo: Reuters/Rupak De Chowdhuri).

Author: Manjari Chatterjee Miller, Boston University

The relationship between China and India has reached a dangerous low. The recent clash between Chinese and Indian troops resulted in the deaths of at least 20 Indian soldiers and the injury of many others. The conflict took place in the Galwan River Valley in the Himalayan border region of Ladakh at the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Read more…

Stemming India’s deepening gender inequality during COVID-19

Women pray as a Hindu priest (not pictured) performs a 'Yagya', a Hindu ritual, for the eradication of COVID-19 in Kolkata, India, 28 April 2020 (Photo: Reuters/Rupak De Chowdhuri).

Authors: Kalyani Raghunathan, IFPRI and M Niaz Asadullah, University of Malaya

India is slowly re-opening its US$2.7 trillion economy following two months of nationwide lockdown. The temporary shutdown of the world’s second-largest labour market to prevent the spread of COVID-19 has come with significant costs on multiple fronts. The unemployment rate stands at a staggering 23 per cent. Studies predict a rise in headcount poverty of more than 12 million. Food insecurity is on the rise, and the public healthcare system is being seriously disrupted.

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