AIIB miles ahead of TPP in promoting integration

US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping head for their bilateral meeting in California on 7 June 2013. The United States is currently attempting to thwart the China-led AIIB by completing the TPP. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Andrew Elek, ANU

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is a far more economically efficient option than the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) for integrating Asian economies to each other and to the rest of the world. While the United States is attempting to thwart China’s AIIB by completing the TPP, it is likely to result in net costs to countries other than the US. Read more…

Land policy vital for Modi’s manufacturing dream

Indian farmers form a human chain on the shore of Bay of Bengal to protest against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s Land Acquisition Bill in Chennai, India, 1 April 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Geethanjali Nataraj and Richa Sekhani, ORF

Land acquisition is becoming risky and uncertain in India. Delays, protests and resistance on the part of the displaced — as have been observed in Bengal and Odisha — have curtailed investment in India’s infrastructure sector. Read more…

Decentralisation and rural development in Timor-Leste

Timor Leste Prime Minister Rui Maria de Araujo talks to former prime minister Xanana Gusmao and former president Ramos Horta, 21 March 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Terry Russell, Denpasar

Timor-Leste’s new Prime Minister, Rui Araujo, has inherited a policy of decentralising the nation’s governance. Given capacity issues, this process is unlikely to bring broader-based rural development to Timor-Leste in the short term. But, if managed effectively, greater decentralisation could have some positive impacts on village-level infrastructure and autonomy. Read more…

How Lee Kuan Yew shaped Singapore’s identity

Officers lift the coffin of late Lee Kuan Yew prior to his procession to Parliament House, at Istana Palace, Singapore, 25 March 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Terence Chong, ISEAS

The passing of Lee Kuan Yew, the most important personality in Singapore’s postcolonial history, will have little to no ramifications on the city-state. Lee had gradually receded from national politics over the last decade and had an obsessive focus on leadership transition. Lee, more than anyone else, endeavoured to ensure that his absence would have as little political or economic impact on the country as possible. Read more…

Time to sow the seeds of land reform in Cambodia

A Cambodian protester, threatened with eviction, shouts slogans in front of anti-riot policemen blocking a road during a protest in Phnom Penh on 19 November 2012. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Alice Beban France, Cornell University

While the majority of Cambodians live off the land, access is precarious. Recently the Cambodian government has been making some encouraging reforms, but troubling signs remain. Read more…

Overcoming gender discrimination in India

A woman tends a stall at the Pushkar Fair in the city of Pushkar in Rajasthan, India. (Photo: xile, flickr).

Author: Rajiv Kumar, Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi

It is a bitter irony that International Women’s Day came right on the heels of the controversy about the government ban on a BBC documentary about the fatal 2012 gang rape of a young Indian woman known by the pseudonym ‘Nirbhaya’. Read more…

Competition the true marker of Xi Jinping’s economic reforms

Men work on a construction site in Beijing. Xi’s economic reform program has focused on increasing competition not privatisation. (Photo: Ding Zhou, flickr).

Author: James Laurenceson, UTS

The usual assessment of Xi Jinping’s performance as China’s leader goes like this: since taking the reins at the end of 2012 he’s over-delivered on anticorruption and underwhelmed on economic reform. Read more…