China and India seem to be resetting ties. Li Xiasan, the Organization Department head of Yunnan Province and Central Committee member of the Communist Party, visited India in September 2017, becoming the first Chinese official to visit India since the Doklam standoff.
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s bonhomie towards India at the 9th BRICS Summit ran contrary to his earlier hardline rhetoric during the two-month long Doklam stand-off. It can be rightly argued that BRICS acted as a coolant for Sino-Indian tension.
During Japanese PM Shinzo Abe’s recent India visit, all eyes were on the inauguration ceremony of the ambitious Ahmedabad–Mumbai bullet train project, valued at USD 17 billion. A number of other agreements were also signed during the Indo-Japan Annual Summit.
All eyes were on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Myanmar from September 5-7, 2017. Firstly, it followed his visit to China, where he had gone to attend the BRICS Summit. Second, the visits to both China and Myanmar came soon after the end of the Doklam standoff.
India’s upgrading of the Look East Policy to Act East Policy seem promising for India-Vietnam economic ties. With the progression of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, there will be more opportunity to tap the Vietnamese market.
In Trump’s new South Asia policy, India has been asked to do more, while on the other hand, Pakistan has been rebuked for aiding and abetting terrorists by providing safe havens in its territory. Against this backdrop, it is anticipated that these will lead to India’s regional isolation.
Seeking more “economic assistance” from India in Afghanistan, Trump did appear to signal who the “good guy” is in the South Asian region. However, India was effectively brought into an unsavory quid pro quo equation.
India has so far dexterously balanced its relations with the different power centers in the Middle East. The countries of the GCC, led by the UAE and Saudi Arabia, together host around seven million Indian expatriate workers who remit back hefty foreign exchange.
All eyes in the next few months will be on how former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will play his cards vis-à-vis the Pakistan army. If one were to look beyond the domestic ramifications, the first point which needs to be closely examined is how China has reacted to the instability.
US President Donald Trump unveiled his Afghan policy on August 21, 2017, announcing to ramp up the war effort in Afghanistan. The policy seems to be a compromise between Trump (who wanted complete withdrawal) and his generals (who wanted to ramp up the war effort).