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Category archive for: Asia and Pacific

Is Modi’s Honeymoon Over? The 2015 Delhi Legislative Assembly elections and the Possibility of Change

By Wilfried Swenden

Since wresting power from the Congress led United Progressive Alliance in the Lok Sabha elections (April-May 2014), Narendra Modi’s Bharitiya Janata Party (BJP) has secured a trail of successive electoral victories. The party swept the state legislative assembly elections of Haryana and Jharkhand, became the lead coalition party in the government of Maharashtra and, following the November 2014 state assembly elections, may well become the junior partner in the government of Kashmir after it successfully captured two third of the seats in Jammu, the Hindu-dominated part of that state. Yet, with a massive electoral defeat in the February 2015 Delhi legislative assembly elections to the Aam Aadmi (common man) Party, the BJP electoral bandwagon finally appears to have run into trouble. Despite winning all 7 Lok Sabha seats from Delhi in 2014, the BJP is set to capture only 3 of the 70 seats in the Delhi Assembly against 67 for the Aam Admi Party and none at all for Congress, India’s –not so Grand- Old Party- which governed Delhi uninterruptedly for fifteen years (1998-2013).

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US and China’s Climate Deal: Leadership or Laggardship?

By Katrina Kelly 

The recent climate deal between the US and China is being hailed as ground-breaking; the pivotal moment that the entire climate community has been waiting on baited breath for. Unfortunately, if you look outside of the American media circus it becomes quite difficult to find the enthusiasm that seems to be building behind Obama’s most recent pledge to climate leadership. Considering the advent of less carbon-dense American gas supplies, it is hard to understand how America and China’s agreement could be anything other than a weak indicator of future climate regimes. Although the US and China’s pledge is important in emphasizing the need to implement carbon-targets, stronger targets are needed to make an impact in global carbon emissions reductions.

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China’s neighbors embrace asymmetric warfare

By Michal Thim

Asymmetry is the new black, at least among defense analysts dealing with the Asia-Pacific. Asymmetrical warfare is an age-old concept. Recently, however, it has been mostly associated with insurgent groups or guerrillas capitalizing on their familiarity with irregular terrain in hit-and-run operations against regular government forces. As employed by terrorist groups like Al Qaeda and the Irish Republican Army, asymmetrical strategies and tactics were ideally suited to small groups standing against well-equipped government forces in their efforts to pursue a particular political agenda.

In the Asia-Pacific region, asymmetry is more commonly associated with the military disparities between nations. It is often expressed as the concept of Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD), which is primarily referenced in relation to preparations by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to prevent access—and consequently deny unhindered operation—to the US Navy and America’s other forward-deployed forces stationed in Japan. Decades of Chinese military modernization has given the PRC the capability to project force a much greater distance from its shores, with an eye toward eventually deploying a blue-water navy. Despite this, A2/AD remains at the forefront of China’s efforts to establish itself as a potent military power. Continue reading China’s neighbors embrace asymmetric warfare

Typhoon Yolanda: One Year Later

By Pauline Eadie

Nearly a year ago, on 8 November 2013 super-typhoon Yolanda hit the Visayan region of the Philippines. Winds reached up to 200 mph with a ‘storm surge’ of over 17 feet. The storm surge was actually the height of a tsunami and the damage was catastrophic. The latest available official figures show that 6,293 individuals have been reported dead, 1,061 are missing and 28,689 are injured, vast areas of agricultural land were devastated and whole towns destroyed. The typhoon affected 591 municipalities and the total damage is estimated at US$904,680,000. The total number of people affected by this disaster in terms of livelihood, environmental and food security are approximately 16 million people. However on 6 November 2013, when the potential force of Yolanda was becoming clear, the President of the Philippines, Benigno (Noynoy) Aquino III, declared that government agencies were aiming for zero casualties.

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Transnational Water Security in Asia: A Leadership Role for Rising Powers?

Written by Katherine Morton for the China Policy Institute

Water security is one of the most intractable challenges confronting Asia’s future. It is widely recognised that climate change combined with other stress factors relating to population growth, urbanisation, and unsustainable development are leading to negative impacts on the availability and quality of the region’s water resources. Equally worrying are the lack of formal multilateral mechanisms to encourage water sharing on a region-wide basis. Under these conditions, the potential exists for water conflicts to escalate, and even the spectre of water wars between states seems possible. But a worst-case scenario is by no means inevitable. A critical question is whether Asia’s emerging powers – China and India – will take a leadership role in building cooperation.

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Modi versus the BJP

By Dishil Shrimankar 

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has created history by crossing the 100-seat mark in the recently concluded state-assembly elections in Maharashtra, a state in western India. The BJP has single-handedly won 123 seats out of the 288 member-House. This is historic, as no party has been able to cross the mark since the early 1990s. In the 1990 state assembly polls, Congress had secured as many as 141 seats. Since then, no national or regional party had come anywhere near the 100-seat mark. Although the party is falling short of the 141-halfway mark (which is required to form a majority government in the House), the party’s victory is impressive considering the fragmented nature of Maharashtra’s party system.

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