Leadership in Asia under scrutiny

Participants of the ASEAN Plus 3 Summit shake hands. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

Leadership in Asia today confronts the ‘most interesting of times’. The emerging powers of China, India and Indonesia face the twin challenges of unprecedented economic and social transformation, and crafting an approach to manage their new weight in the world, including expectations among the established powers in North America and Europe about how they should share the burdens of international leadership. Read more…

Indonesian village decentralisation is all money no plan

People and activities are seen in Alue Naga village, Aceh, Indonesia, 19 November 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Blane Lewis, ANU

Nearly 15 years after embarking on its large scale decentralisation initiative, Indonesia has decided to extend its efforts to the village level. Decentralising to the nearly 74,000 villages is intended to improve service delivery performance at the lowest administrative tier and reduce social inequality and poverty. But the initiative is all money, with no clear plan. Read more…

Where is China headed?

A man looks at portraits of the Chinese President Xi Jinping along with his predecessors Hu Jintao, Jiang Zemin and Deng Xiaoping. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Jerome A. Cohen, NYU

Forecasts of China’s future run the gamut. I do not endorse either extreme. There is no significant chance that in the foreseeable future the Communist government will follow the fate of the Soviet Union. Nor do I share the view that the People’s Republic of China is becoming so powerful that it will dominate the world. Read more…

Will Modi’s arrows hit the mark?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi: his government has renewed optimism for India’s recovery. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Alok Sheel, Kerala

A visionary new leader, Narendra Modi, has recently come to power in India. He seeks to realise India’s huge growth potential and make it a major global player. This has generated enormous optimism nationally, and internationally, about an Indian resurgence. What challenges must India overcome to achieve this?

Read more…

Overcoming underdevelopment, conflict and data deficits along India’s periphery

Women voters line up to cast their ballot under tight security in the regional capital of Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, on 14 December 2014. Political disturbances have undermined democracy, development and the collection of accurate data along India’s periphery. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Vikas Kumar, Azim Premji University

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s election promises included setting up ‘an institute of big data and analytics’ to promote ‘predictive science’. But not much has been heard on the statistical front since the elections. Despite his party’s enthusiasm for real-time data and big data during the campaign, there are no easy solutions to the lack of good quality data for Indian policymaking. Read more…

Why the AIIB could work for India

People walk outside the new terminal at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai, India, 10 January 2013, an ambitious, art-filled space that developers hope will showcase success in a country struggling to modernise inadequate infrastructure that is holding back economic growth. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Suman Bery, Royal Dutch Shell

In June 2015 negotiators concluded discussions in Singapore on draft Articles of Agreement of the nascent Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). India is a founding member of the AIIB and is expected to have the second-largest shareholding after China. Global media attention has focused primarily on the challenge that the AIIB poses to the US-guided World Bank, and Japan-led Asian Development Bank (ADB), as well as the initially somewhat sour reception the AIIB has received from the US authorities. Read more…

How to solve Indonesia’s infrastructure crisis

Public road infrastructure and building construction rise up in Indonesia's capital city, Jakarta. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: Nicholas Morris and Irene Tsjin, Tusk Advisory

Indonesia faces a serious infrastructure crisis, which could slow or even halt its economic development if not addressed effectively. Today, only 81 per cent of households have modern access to electricity, only 61 per cent are connected to sanitation systems and only 69 per cent have access to clean water. Logistics costs are much higher than in neighbouring countries — average transport time per 100 kilometre is 2.6 hours in Indonesia compared to 1.4 hours in Thailand and 1.2 hours in China. Read more…