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June 1, 2010

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Revolution in higher education
BEN WILDAVSKY, fellow at the Ewing Marion Kauffman foundation states that the globalisation of universities had resulted in a shake-up of the old order in higher education with wide-ranging benefits for all including increased mobility and availability of human capital, scientific talent and greater free trade in minds and ideas.

In a discussion organised by the Carnegie Council on his book, The Great Brain Race: How Global Universities Are Reshaping the World (Kindle edition ), he points out that mobility of students, cross-national scientific research and branch campuses had increased significantly in the past decade. Many countries now see a thriving university system as their pathway to innovation and growth and this has resulted in increasing academic investments, partnerships and quality improvements with a greater focus on global metrics to measure academic quality, which in turn is feeding a beneficial cycle of improvements.

Dangerous mutations within Pakistan’s jihadi infrastructure
NICHOLAS SCHMIDLE, fellow at the New America Foundation states that a profound change had occured in the dynamic between the Pakistan-army and ISI on the one hand and their jihadi clients on the other. Within the jihadis a gap has emerged between the old guard which acted on behalf of the state and the new guard which sought to overthrow the state, leading to the kidnap and murder of Khalid Khwaja an important and outspoken player in the jihadi firmament.

In an article in The New Republic, “In a Ditch”, he attributes this to the formation of the Pakistani Taliban from the rank and file of the traditional jihadi organisations after the storming of Islamabad’s Lal Masjid in 2007 and their deep mistrust of traditional authorities such as intelligence agencies, tribal structures, and mainstream Islamist parties. He also cautions that these mutant, smaller outfits were less amenable to bribes, negotiations and settlements and hence were even more dangerous than their creators

G-20 test
ARVIND SUBRAMANIAN, fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics states that while the monopoly on power and influence wielded by the West was being broken for real with the G-20, what was most significant was the impact of the de-cartelisation of power and influence on the role of ideas.

In an op-ed in Business Standard, “The G-20, Power, and Ideas”, he states that the fate of two bad ideas (i) Western leadership of the IMF and the World Bank and (ii) indispensability of the Doha round to the health of the world economy, could serve as a testing ground for the proposition that the G-20 might be better for the marketplace of ideas than the G-7.

Bandung 55
SHYAM SARAN, fellow at the Center for Policy Research and former foreign secretary, calls upon India to make relations with Indonesia, a G-20 power and neighbour, the centrepiece of its Look East policy pointing to commonalities such as plural, diverse, secular democratic polity, cultural affinities buffeted by religious extremism.

In an article in Business Standard, “Rising Indonesia”, he states that it was incumbent upon India to upgrade its economic and security partnership with Indonesia beyond the current joint maritime patrols to grow naval capabilities and shape an open, inclusive and loosely structured security architecture in Asia.

New Delhi’s maritime agenda
RORY MEDCALF of the Lowy Institute states that the Indian navy is growing in potency, reach and stated ambition with its expanding capabilities and its demonstrated maritime leadership within the Indian Ocean. In an op-ed at the Wall Street Journal, “India Ahoy”, he states that New Delhi would benefit from strengthening practical cooperation with navies of Australia, Indonesia, Korea and Vietnam and showing greater leadership to fulfil its maritime vision of the Indian Ocean as India’s sphere of influence.

Beijing’s maritime ambitions
CHRIS RAHMAN, fellow of maritime strategy and security at the University of Woolongong explores the central tenets of China’s maritime security agenda and states that Beijing’s maritime ambitions and behaviour indicate a bid for geopolitical preeminence in East Asia. In a policy analysis for the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, “China’s maritime strategic agenda”, he argues that it the Chinese navy’s growing ability to deny access to East Asian seas in a crisis or conflict, disrupting the security system led by US Pacific Command rather than its blue water capabilities most threatens regional order and harmony at seas.

Channeling Curzon
C RAJA MOHAN calls for an elevation in the partnership on defence and security between Washington and New Delhi stating that such a partnership would help constitute a neo-Curzonian Raj that could share the burdens of ordering the Eastern Hemisphere in the 21st century, like it did at the turn of the 20th century. In an article for the American Interest, “The Return of the Raj”, he alludes to the four elements of the colonial British Raj—expeditionary tradition, military surplus, security system for smaller states and the Great Game to buttress his argument for an enhanced security partnership in the Indian Ocean and beyond.


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