Wildcards may trump India–China relations

A masked man is seen during a battle in Kashmir where two militants from the Lashkar-e-Taiba outfit, responsible for the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, were killed, 13 April 2014. Kashmir and India’s strained relationship with Pakistan is one of a number of wildcards in Sino-India relations. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Sandy Gordon, ANU

Commentators have generally assumed that the Obama administration’s wrong-footedness over Modi’s US visa, along with the latter’s pragmatic approach to Chinese investment in Gujarat, has prompted a new tilt by the BJP away from the United States and toward China. Read more…

Sri Lankan democracy winds back in 2013

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa rubs his eye during a media briefing on the final day of the Commonwealth Heads of Governments Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Sunday, 17 November 2013. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Sandy Gordon, ANU

In 2013 the Sri Lankan economy continued to recover slowly from its economic slump last year, which saw growth fall from several years of 8 per cent plus to 6.4 per cent. The IMF is now predicting growth of 6.5 per cent for 2013 and 2014. However, it was the island’s politics that was the main story this year.

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Australian help in Pakistan cannot be military

Pakistani security officials inspect the damaged vehicle of Ibrahim Jatoi, an election candidate of National Peoples Party, after a suicide bomb attack, in Shikarpur, Sindh province, Pakistan (Photo: AAP).

Author: Sandy Gordon, ANU

As Australia winds down in Afghanistan after a 12-year war, the new defence minister, David Johnson, has reportedly stated that Australia needs to keep its counter-insurgency skills honed, including for possible use in Pakistan.

It is not clear whether Mr Johnson means a limited role in advising Pakistan on counter-insurgency or envisions a more robust involvement in maintaining stability. Read more…

Pakistan’s new government: a harbinger of hope?

Former two-times Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who heads the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) political party that has won a majority in the parliament, talks with journalists after his meeting with Imran Khan, the head of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, at a hospital in Lahore, Pakistan, 14 May 2013. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Sandy Gordon, ANU

Pakistan has just experienced the first democratic change of government in its history.

It did so despite a violent campaign by religious extremists to derail the election, and targeted at secular-oriented parties such as the ousted Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).  Read more…

India–China border tensions and nuclear posturing

In this Sunday, 5 May 2013 photo, Chinese troops hold a banner which reads: ‘You have crossed the border, please go back,’ in Ladakh, India. While the recent troop standoff in a remote Himalayan desert spotlights a long-running border dispute between China and India, the two emerging giants are engaged in a rivalry for global influence that spreads much farther afield. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Sandy Gordon, ANU

The standoff between China and India in Ladakh has been resolved, at least for now.

After China set up five tents for 40 personnel 19 kilometres inside what India regards as the line of control, India set up similar tents facing them. Both lots of tents are now to be removed, but it is still unclear whether India is to remove any of the structures at Fukche and Chumar, as demanded by the Chinese. Read more…

Human rights and democracy in Sri Lanka: the West’s deepening dilemma

Tamil activists in India shout slogans after being detained during a protest against Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajakapaksa as he visited the country (Photo: AAP).

Author: Sandy Gordon, ANU

Sri Lanka is a small country of about the population of Australia.

Its location astride the major energy sea lanes of communication of the Indian Ocean and just south of India, however, puts it in a strategic box seat for the forthcoming struggle for influence over the liquid energy requirements of the East Asian economic giants, including China. Read more…

Pivots, progress and partners in South Asia

An Indian Border Security Force soldier keeps watch at an outpost along the India-Pakistan border in Abdulian 38 kms southwest of Jammu on 9 January 2013 (Photo: AAP).

Author: Sandy Gordon, ANU

The Indian economy continued to struggle through 2012. Growth remained sluggish at about 5.3 per cent of GDP for the September quarter (year on year).

Although starting to fall, inflation — always politically sensitive in India — remains high.

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