President Barack Obama will visit Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, and the Philippines April 23–29 in what is essentially a “do-over” after a previously scheduled visit to two regional summits was canceled last fall because of the budget impasse in Washington. The central aim is to reaffirm a commitment made in 2011 to “pivot” or rebalance U.S. foreign policy toward the Asia-Pacific region.
President Barack Obama’s administration has touted the Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI) as a hallmark of growing U.S. engagement with ASEAN, particularly mainland Southeast Asia. For the past five years, government agencies, led by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), have made inroads toward developing the LMI as the centerpiece of U.S. engagement along the Mekong River.
In its East China Sea diplomacy, Taiwan has been creative and constructive. In August 2012, President Ma Ying-jeou proposed the East China Sea Peace Initiative (ECSPI) to manage rising tensions over the disputed islands known as the Diaoyutai Islands in Taiwan, the Senkaku Islands in Japan, and the Diaoyu Islands in Mainland China.
The heads of government of seven countries of South and Southeast Asia – Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand – gathered in Naypyidaw, Myanmar in March 2014 for the third BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) summit.
India’s national election commenced on April 7, running until May 12. On May 16, the results will be announced. While it certainly appears the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is likely to win the most seats and be in a good position to form the next government, nothing is certain in Indian politics. Irrespective of who wins, there will be a dramatic leadership change.
Asset quality in India’s banks has deteriorated sharply and if not tackled promptly poses a systemic risk to the banking system—and by extension the Indian economy. A high proportion of nonperforming assets (NPAs) steadily erodes the capital base of a bank, impinging on the ability of banks to raise fresh capital and continue lending for investment activities.
Once the United States withdraws most or all of its forces from Afghanistan, what issues are likely to continue to be of concern to U.S. policymakers in South Asia? What regional dynamics are likely to affect their ability to achieve policy priorities there?
Corruption is a massive tax on the private sector and impedes broad-based economic growth. Sixty-seven out of 144 economies identified corruption as one of the top three challenges to conducting business in their country, according to the World Economic Forum.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai recently returned from a four-day visit to New Delhi, his fifth such visit in three years, his thirteenth during his tenure as president. India was also the first country with which Afghanistan signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement, in 2011. Clearly, from both the Afghan and Indian perspectives, these are ties that are meant to bind.