Home Contact Us  

US & South Asia - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#4487, 3 June 2014

Dateline Colombo

Asia Pacific: Reset for Qualitative Change
Asanga Abeyagoonasekera
Executive Director, LKIIRSS, Sri Lanka

Permeated by many turbulent events in May 2014, East Asia served as the milieu for events from the coup d'état in Thailand, to maritime cooperation for the Indonesia-Vietnam boundary between President Susilo and the Prime Minister of Vietnam, all on the backdrop of the World Economic Forum in East Asia in Manila. Indonesia, the largest Muslim democracy in Southeast Asia, was at the center stage. During the forum, outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono received the Statesmanship Award, and many of his achievements during his decade of Presidency were discussed. During his speech, President Susilo made direct reference to China regarding the East China Sea emphasising that “…any disputes including maritime border tension can be resolved peacefully - not with the use of military might which [may] endanger stability and peace in our region.”

East Asia, with a population of 600 million, which is roughly double the size of the US, is planning to build a US$4.3 trillion economy with a single market in the next several years. The challenges to achieve these targets, however, are many. The infrastructure to link many ASEAN countries is weak, poverty rates are high, and rates of corruption are staggering. It is important to move away from the present culture of high corruption, to a better culture that fosters development of regional framework to fight corruption. Countries should not confine to their own boundaries but work collaboratively. The point of intersection between countries has to be improved. President Benigno Aquino in his remarks stated his leadership to introduce good governance to Philippines to dismantle corruption is commendable with the improving positive economic indicators.

In the Eurasian region, a Sino-Russian partnership for US$400 billion for energy for the next three decades has been signed, and the sophisticated Russian military missile system has been given to the Chinese government. There are signs of China and Russia moving towards a strategic relationship in the very near future.

There is now a tripolar world with US, Russia, and China in the new equation. The Maritime Silk Road (MSR) to the South China Sea, disputes with Japan, and the placement of a Chinese oil rig in Vietnamese waters, are a few of the events that have raised many eyebrows.

According to geopolitical analyst Robert Kaplan, “This is a region that’s going to be on the boil for years and years to come. Seas crowded with warships, submarines, merchant shipping, fifth generation fighter jets – that can easily create incidents that in turn could enable a crisis.” In Seoul during his Asia visit, President Obama said that China “has to abide by certain norms” when it comes to its quarrels with neighbours. With all the notable events that have taken place in this part of the region, the US pivot to Southeast Asia cannot be negated.

In India, Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been sworn in as the new Prime Minister. The Indian public believes that he can deliver rapid growth in the country as he did in his 13-year tenure as Chief Minister of Gujrat. However, India has many internal challenges to consider first. Nearly half the country’s households lack basic access to electricity. Modern infrastructure is underdeveloped. Creation of job opportunities through a large manufacturing sector, especially for its young population aged 15-34 – which is around 400 million people making up one-third of the population – amidst rising corruption, is an obstacle. These are some of the major challenges for the new government. The question is, does India need a total reset on its many internal and external challenges?

Sri Lanka, with whom India’s has had a love affair since the days of the Mahabharata, always sends a tiny ripple towards India. A line in an Indian newspaper before the Geneva HR Council vote on Sri Lanka was, “Will Ceylon become a Cyclone to India?” The Sri Lankan President’s visit for the swearing-in ceremony created certain political turmoil in South India and Sri Lanka’s Northern Province Chief Minister Vigneswaran. Despite the stormy atmosphere, both leaders, PM Modi and President Rajapaksa, held successful talks as both possess high resilience levels when facing challenges. Hopefully, an improved and stronger relationship between both countries is on the cards in the coming years, not cyclones.

All of these episodes, however, have failed to address one fundamental issue: bringing qualitative change to the people living around the world. How can one thrive in a world where 1 billion people go to bed hungry each night? Can progress be made in a global community where 1.2 billion of the poorest people on the planet account for just 1 per cent of global consumption? 1 billion people are without food and 1 billion who are obese. 85 of the richest people in the world have as much wealth as 3.5 billion of the poorest. The inequality gap is widening every day. So, is a world of 9 billion people to be catered to in the future? This is a topic that should be looked at seriously. World leaders must look to improve points of intersection between countries, rather than focus on internal boundaries with nationalism or hubris. Does every country need to reset its strategies to bring that qualitative change?

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
IPCS Columnists
Af-Pak Diary
D Suba Chandran
Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues
Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?
The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani
Big Picture
Prof Varun Sahni
Understanding Democracy and Diversity in J&K
When Xi Met Modi: Juxtaposing China and India
Pakistan?s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability

Dateline Colombo

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera.
Sri Lanka: Moving Towards a Higher Collective Outcome
The Importance of Electing the Best to our Nation's Parliament
Sri Lanka: Toward a Diaspora Re-Engagement Plan
Dateline Islamabad
Salma Malik
Pakistan's Hurt Locker: What Next?
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
India-Pakistan Relations in 2015: Through a Looking Glass
Dhaka Discourse
Prof Delwar Hossain
IPCS Forecast: Bangladesh in 2015
18th SAARC Summit: A Perspective from Bangladesh
Bangladesh in Global Forums: Diplomacy vs. Domestic Politics
Eagle Eye
Prof Chintamani Mahapatra
India-US: Significance of the Second Modi-Obama Meet
Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?
Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticism?s Sake?

East Asia Compass
Dr Sandip Mishra
India-Japan-US Trilateral: India?s Policy for the Indo-Pacific
China-South Korea Ties: Implications for the US Pivot to Asia
Many ?Pivots to Asia?: What Does It Mean For Regional Stability?
Himalayan Frontier
Pramod Jaiswal
Nepal?s New Constitution: Instrument towards Peace or Catalyst to Conflict?
IPCS Forecast: Nepal in 2015
Constitution-making: Will Nepal Miss its Second Deadline?

Prof Shankari Sundararaman
IPCS Forecast: Southeast Asia in 2015
Indonesia's Pacific Identity: What Jakarta Must Do in West Papua
Modi in Myanmar: From ?Look East? to ?Act East?
Sushant Sareen
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
Islamic State: Prospects in Pakistan
Pakistan: The Futility of Internationalising Kashmir

Looking East
Wasbir Hussain
Myanmar in New Delhi's Naga Riddle
China: ?Peaceful? Display of Military Might
Naga Peace Accord: Need to Reserve Euphoria
Maritime Matters
Vijay Sakhuja
Indian Ocean: Modi on a Maritime Pilgrimage
Indian Ocean: Exploring Maritime Domain Awareness
IPCS Forecast: The Indian Ocean in 2015

Nuke Street
Amb Sheelkant Sharma
US-Russia and Global Nuclear Security: Under a Frosty Spell?
India's Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile: The Nirbhay Test
India-Australia Nuclear Agreement: Bespeaking of a New Age
Red Affairs
Bibhu Prasad
Countering Left Wing Extremism: Failures within Successes
Return of the Native: CPI-Maoist in Kerala
The Rising Civilian Costs of the State-Vs-Extremists Conflict

Regional Economy
Amita Batra
India and the APEC
IPCS Forecast: South Asian Regional Integration
South Asia: Rupee Regionalisation and Intra-regional Trade Enhancement
South Asian Dialectic
PR Chari
Resuming the Indo-Pak Dialogue: Evolving a New Focus
Defence Management in India: An Agenda for Parrikar
Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: Implications for Asian Security

Spotlight West Asia
Amb Ranjit Gupta
Prime Minister Modi Finally Begins His Interaction with West Asia*
A Potential Indian Role in West Asia?
US-GCC Summit: More Hype than Substance
Strategic Space
Manpreet Sethi
India-Russia Nuclear Vision Statement: See that it Delivers
Global Nuclear Disarmament: The Humanitarian Consequences Route
Nasr: Dangers of Pakistan's Short Range Ballistic Missile

The Strategist
Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar
Jihadi Aggression and Nuclear Deterrence
The Blight of Ambiguity
Falun Gong: The Fear Within

OTHER REGULAR contributors
Gurmeet Kanwal
Harun ur Rashid
N Manoharan
Wasbir Hussain
Rana Banerji
N Manoharan

Ruhee Neog
Teshu Singh
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Roomana Hukil
Aparupa Bhattacherjee


Browse by Publications

Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Naxalite Violence 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
Sri Lanka: The New Regime and the Revolution

Changing Political Horizons in Sri Lanka?

The Geopolitics of Floating Bases and the New World Order

Monuments Over Mortality?

Sri Lanka: Leveraging the Politics of Geography

The Forgotten Professions: The Plight of a Nation

Crisis and Foresight Analysis

Steering Co-operation Across Oceans

Sri Lanka: National Interests in a Globalised World

Re-building Sri Lanka: An Island at a Crossroads

Forecast 2017: Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan Foreign Policy: Diaspora and Lobbying

Securing Sri Lanka's National Interests

Understanding our “Blindspot” to Make Peacebuilding Comprehensive

Oceans of (Dis)trust

Death and Democracy

The Island and the Mainland: Impact of Fisheries on Indo-Lanka Relations

New Delhi-Tamil Nadu Relations and India’s Sri Lanka Policy

Remembering Tagore in Turbulent Times

Politics of Promise: Between Sirisena and Rajapaksa

Conflict to Co-existence: Debating Heritage and Homogenisation

Forecast 2016: A Roadmap for Sri Lanka

China Prepares for a Modern War

Riot and Responsibility: Governance in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka and the World: Terrorism and Effective Reconciliation

Y! MyWeb
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2018
 January  February
 2017  2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010
 2009  2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002
 2001  2000  1999  1998  1997

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India's foreign policy especially India-China relations, India's relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia.

Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the three wings of the Armed Forces - the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, - the academic community as well as the media, the IPCS has contributed considerably to the strategic discourse in India.

Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map
18, Link Road, Jungpura Extension, New Delhi 110014, INDIA.

Tel: 91-11-4100-1902    Email: officemail@ipcs.org

© Copyright 2018, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.