Modi’s UN speech shows his foreign policy will walk a well-worn path

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the 69th United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters, 27 Sept, 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Krishnendra Meena, Jawaharlal Nehru University

Many have hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s maiden speech to the United Nations General Assembly as a historic shift away from the speeches of past Indian heads of government. But in reality, Modi’s speech is more a continuation of the Indian government’s stance on many international issues, albeit with more flourish and charisma, which comes naturally to Modi when he speaks in Hindi. Read more…

The future of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (L) speaks with Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang (R) after visiting an exhibition of innovative technologies at the Open Innovations Forum in Moscow, Russia, 14 October 2014.  (Photo: AAP).

Author: Swagata Saha, Observer Research Foundation

China recently reaffirmed that it backs India and Pakistan becoming members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). At the 14th meeting of the Council of Heads of States of SCO on 12 September, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for full membership for SCO observers, including India and Pakistan. Read more…

Let’s not misread Mongolia’s supposed ‘rebalance’ to Russia and China

A statue of Damdin Sukhbaatar who was the leader of the 1921 Mongolian revolution stands outside the Parliament Building of Mongolia in Ulan Bator. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Jeffrey Reeves, APCSS

The close timing of Chinese president Xi Jinping’s and Russian president Vladimir Putin’s recent visits has led a number of analysts to claim Mongolia has abandoned its ‘Third Neighbour’ diplomacy — a long-held policy to build relations with non-border countries — for a consortium with Beijing and Moscow. Pointing to Mongolia’s uneven economic relations with Beijing, dependence on Russian oil and gas imports and slowing growth, these analysts argue that Mongolia has ‘rebalanced’ to China and Russia out of necessity. Read more…

When the carnival is over: Australia’s surprising G20 legacy

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott addresses representatives of G20 Leaders and Finance Deputies and Central Bank Deputies at the half way point of Australia’s presidency. (Photo: Commonwealth of Australia / Australia 2014 G20 website).

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

The genesis of the G20 is a tale of two crises. The first — the Asian financial crisis — led to the creation of the G20 as a meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors from 19 of the world’s largest economies plus the EU. The second — the global financial crisis — led then-US president George W. Bush to elevate the G20 to a leaders’ level meeting. Read more…

Russian roulette at the G20 

Moves to exclude Russia from the G20 proceedings were quashed by the BRICS countries. The annexation of Crimea has threatened the most important legal and political foundation of the international order, the non-use of force to acquire territory. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Bruce Jones, Brookings

The BRICS have brusquely quashed an early effort by Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop and prime minister Abbott to exclude Russia from the Brisbane G20 over its actions in Ukraine. Though diplomatically phrased, the meaning was clear: ‘The custodianship of the G20 belongs to all Member States equally and no one Member State can unilaterally determine its nature and character’. Read more…

Border issues gnaw at stronger India–China trade ties

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Authors: Geethanjali Nataraj and Richa Sekhani, Observer Research Foundation

India’s modern relationship with China, beginning in the 1950s when India was the first non-socialist bloc country to rekindle relations, has been volatile — underscored by border disputes, post-colonial bonhomie and Asian solidarity. In 2008, China emerged as India’s largest trading partner — boosting bilateral strategic and military relations as well. Read more…

Is the G20 the right place to resolve the Ukraine crisis?

Ukrainian servicemen patrol on an armoured personnel carrier on a road near Debaltseve in Donetsk region, 1 October 2014. The Ukrainian crisis — which has pitted Russia against other members of the G20, led by the United States — has cast an ominous shadow over the Brisbane summit in November 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: W. Pal Sidhu, Brookings

The Ukrainian crisis — which has pitted Russia against other members of the G20, led by the United States — has cast an ominous shadow over the Brisbane summit in November 2014. The unfolding tragedy in Ukraine has the potential in the short term to dent the ambitious G20 agenda and in the long term to wreck the group itself. How it is resolved will have significant implications for the G20 and other potential international disputes. Read more…

The Modi show visits the United States

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets people on the streets of New York during a visit to the United States on 26 September, 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: C Uday Bhaskar, Society for Policy Studies

The Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, has begun his maiden visit to the USA this week. He will visit Washington on Monday for his first summit level meeting with US President Barack Obama.

The trip offers the chance for Modi to project himself as a global leader with a distinctive vision and clear objectives. Read more…

Japan may not be such an easy pushover on nuclear deal with India

Author: David Brewster, ANU

In recent weeks we have seen the ‘bromance’ between India and Japan reach new heights. Earlier this month, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Tokyo amid media hype of a special relationship, and even a de facto alliance, between the two countries. There is talk of a special ‘personal chemistry’ between Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and much was made of the claim that Modi was one of only three people that Abe follows on Twitter. Read more…

Why history is a problem for Park Geun-hye in confronting Japan

Park Geun Hye visits the grave of her assassinated father, former South Korean President Park Chung Hee. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter McGill, London

Relations between South Korea and Japan have deteriorated significantly in recent years. South Korean President Park Geun-hye has refused to hold any bilateral meetings with her Japanese counterpart Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Park lays the blame for poor Japan–ROK relations squarely on Abe for his historical revisionism. Read more…

Why cultural values cannot be ignored in international relations

A competitor flies a kite of the 'God of Wealth' during the kite flying championship at the 31st Weifang international kite festival in Shandong province, China, 19 April 2014. Ensuring the peaceful rise of new great powers requires a more in-depth and organised effort among Western governments to understand the cultures of Asia and elsewhere. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Kadira Pethiyagoda, Canberra

One hundred years ago began the war that was supposed to end all wars. This inauspicious centenary has allowed the foreign affairs commentariat to indulge in one of the things it is best at — drawing historical analogies.

It is true that aspects of the global landscape look similar to a century ago. Read more…

A chance to mend China–Japan relations

The respective leaders of China and Japan should not let issues like the Diaoyu/Senkaku Island dispute get in the way of building a stronger bilateral relationship. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: Yves Tiberghien, University of British Columbia, and Yong Wang, Peking University

Over the last two years, China–Japan relations have been trapped in a downward spiral. The inescapable reality of an ongoing great power transition makes this situation particularly tense: the size of China’s economy relative to Japan’s jumped from a mere 25 per cent in 2000 to 99 per cent in 2009 and then to 188 per cent in 2013. Yet an alternative policy course is slowly developing. Read more…

India and China must think outside the ‘bureaucratic box’

Author: Tansen Sen, City University of New York

Chinese president Xi Jinping’s forthcoming visit to India will achieve nothing unless the new leaders of India and China can overcome existing inertia and seriously start revamping their bilateral relations. It is true that the two sides have managed to avoid a repeat of the 1962 armed conflict, and that diplomats have to be credited with limiting the border differences to a few ‘incursions’ and a tense standoff at Daulat Beg Oldi near the disputed Aksai Chin region in May 2013. But, as these episodes accumulate and are sensationalised by the media and dramatised in the blogosphere, they perpetuate mutual distrust and harden negative public perceptions. Read more…

India and Japan boost cooperation, but no nuclear power deal

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is welcomed by his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe upon his arrival at the State Guest House in Kyoto, on 30 August 2014. Modi flew into Japan for a five-day official visit as their governments seek to boost security ties and counter a increasingly assertive China. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: Pravakar Sahoo and Abhirup Bhunia, IEG

Modi’s visit to Japan from 31 August to 3 September was dubbed a success. But what has been achieved? And what do these achievements mean for both countries?

Modi’s visit assumed far greater significance than any previous visits by Indian prime ministers. This is because Modi has a powerful mandate and, of course, because of the reported bonhomie between Modi and Abe. When Modi was Gujarat’s chief minister, Japanese firms participating in the Vibrant Gujarat Summit invested between US$2–3 billion in various manufacturing and infrastructure projects in that state, in response to its investor friendly environment. Modi shares this business friendly attitude with Abe. Read more…

India draws Japan closer as Modi embraces Abe

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a signing ceremony at Akasaka State Guesthouse in Tokyo on 1 September 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Purnendra Jain, University of Adelaide

The unprecedented warm hug between India’s new prime minister Narendra Modi and Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe when they met in Japan’s ancient capital Kyoto sent strong diplomatic signals across the region and beyond. This was Modi’s first stop in Japan on a five-day official visit beginning 30 August. In a rather unusual move, Abe went to meet Modi in Kyoto and together they visited a temple before their summit meeting in Tokyo. Read more…