Nepal recently reiterated its progressive approach to gender diversity and self-determination by allowing people to identify as the third gender in census forms. It is a move that is bound to have a positive impact on LGBTQ+ social inclusion and is one of the many ways in which South Asia adopts a forward-looking perspective on gender identity.
Ever since Beijing started stretching its muscles into the Upper Western Indian Ocean (UWIO), New Delhi has refused to be a passive spectator. Some Indian policymakers interpreted Chinese actions in the area through the lenses of the “String of Pearls” theory, according to which China aims to gain access to a series of strategic locations (i.e., “Pearls”) in the Indian Ocean in order to project power.
The Upper Western Indian Ocean (UWIO) has been under China’s radar for the past two decades. The Belt and Road Initiative has strengthened the country’s image as a responsible stakeholder and a successful economic partner. Moreover, the United Nations have legitimized China’s military and security operations in the area. To what extent is China’s role of securitizing power dependent on its economic investments? How is Beijing’s deeper engagement modifying China’s relations with the main actors in the area?
India’s middle class will count a few rupees, bank depositors will get a little security, privatisation enthusiasts will chew on a new player in the market. But other than high-sounding grandiose statements, India’s Budget 2020 has delivered no expectations. This was preordained, of course.
India’s economic slowdown is visible. With a lag of two quarters, so are attempts to reverse it through policy fixes. And the markets that had fallen in the prelude to policy actions or in reaction to anti-entrepreneur economic stances have more than made up in an equal and opposite direction, almost as if Newton’s third law is overseeing India’s capital markets.
Since the trans-Atlantic financial crisis, there has been a consistent focus on giving more voice and vote to emerging powers such as China and India, as well as to developing countries.
The concerted effort of the G20 has therefore resulted in a reform of the International Monetary Fund which has led to a distinct shift in voting powers, especially to China.
Dreaming big doesn’t necessarily mean acting big. Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s maiden Budget speech captures New Delhi’s $5 trillion aspiration by 2025 (that’s one year’s postponement) and delivers some of the minute needed to get there. If you’re looking for ‘big bang reforms’, don’t look for it in Budget 2019.
“India wins yet again!” Narendra Modi announced in May 2019, just after securing a second term as Prime Minister of the world’s largest democracy in a landslide general elections victory. When Modi was elected for a first term five years ago, he promised that India would win back its place at the high table of leading world powers. Indeed, after decades of sustained growth, India today is at a tipping point in terms of socio-economic prospects for its 1.35 billion citizens.
India is gripped by an election fever. All elections carry elements of unpredictability but in India’s seventy year history, the 2019 elections are critical. Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014 and is seeking another term. The opposition parties are concerned about Modi’s polarising influence and are determined to prevent a BJP victory though they have been unable to put up a united front on account of internal differences.
The pledge to have a “partnership for peace” has fast emerged as a key threshold in India-Japan security relations in recent years. Under the rubric of promoting a “free, open and prosperous Indo-Pacific” region, a new assurance of engagement seems to be unfolding with frequent bilateral naval exercises, including dialogues and training between the Coast Guards of the two sides.