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May 4, 2011

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Globalization-enabled corruption

ARVIND SUBRAMANIAN of the Peterson Institute and DEVESH KAPUR of the University of Pennyslvania state that the skyrocketing corruption in India and the consequent money-laundering indicated the usage of discreet foreign jurisdictions as destinations for black money and India’s financial integration had facilitated these transfers.

In a Business Standard op-ed, “India: Fighting Imported Corruption“, they also state that macroeconomic analysis showed that the laundered money came back to India as the much sought-after ‘foreign’ investment with additional implicit subsidies such as secrecy and avoided taxes, with the monies round-tripping back through the banking channel from countries such as Mauritius and Cyprus with lower financial transparency and low tax rates.

They call upon New Delhi to take the lead internationally in pressing for data-sharing between governments and global financial institutions on overseas assets of citizens, trade flows and remittances, and recommend an abolition of double-taxation avoidance agreements with states such as Mauritius who were not members of the Financial Agenda Tax Force.

Renewing Asia’s Collective Destiny

SOURABH GUPTA argues that despite past missteps and future hurdles, India’s and Indonesia’s parallel histories, similar policy preferences and opportune international circumstances were drawing both countries closer to revitalize bilateral relations and potentially reconfigure Asian geopolitics.

In his Asia-Pacific bulletin for the East-West Center, “India and Indonesia: Renewing Asia’s Collective Destiny“, he states that both countries could leverage opportunities to revitalize the bilateral relationship; New Delhi and Jakarta could start by championing each other’s entry into the BRICS and MALSINDO collectives and this could help both countries set the tone on how leadership could be collaboratively exercised in the Indian Ocean region.

He concludes that a bilateral road map interspersed in equal parts with ambition and pragmatism, and cognizant of their differences in security perspective, held the potential to unlock the immense promise of this natural partnership.

China’s Spent Nuclear Fuel Management

YUN ZHOU of the Belfer Center’s Project on Managing the Atom and International Security Program reviews China’s current nuclear fuel cycle program, spent fuel management methods and its reprocessing policy to forecast the spent fuel and associated storage requirements until 2035 when the first commercialized Chinese fast neutron reactor is expected to be operational.

In a working paper for the Centre for International and Security Studies, “China’s Spent Nuclear Fuel Management“, she explores China’s long-term options for managing the back-end of its nuclear fuel cycle by examining China’s spent fuel storage capability, uranium resources, fast reactor R&D capability, and the cost and proliferation risks of each option.

The study concludes that China can and should maintain a reprocessing operation to meet its R&D activities before its fast reactor program is further developed.

Dhaka’s worldview

IFTEKHAR AHMED CHOUDHURY, the former Finance Minister of Bangladesh states that Dhaka’s two major foreign policy aspirations of preservation of sovereignty and quest for resources combined with the fact that was surrounded on three sides by India informed its external behavior of  being a player in world politics with a web of extra-regional linkages.

In his article for the Institute of South Asian Studies, “Foundations of Bangladesh’s Foreign Policy Interactions“, he states that Dhaka’s international interactions were based on twelve pillars comprised of the states such as Western aid donors, South Asian states, Middle Eastern Muslim states, China, multilateral institutions such as the UN, Commonwealth, OIC, SAARC, and trade and financial institutions such as the WTO, Bretton Woods organizations, ADB and the Islamic Development Bank.

He concludes that there was a greater commitment to multilateralism and Dhaka generally kept a lower profile on high-risk issues and higher profile on low-risk issues.

Indian Ocean: A European perspective

TIM SWEIJS and JEROEN DE JONGE of the Hague Center for Strategic Studies state that the Indian Ocean and its rim with instability in its north-west corner, failing governance structures and resource competition could well become a sample stage for systemic challenges to global security even as it emerged as a key transportation hub and trade destination on the back of strong growth in its littorals.

They analyze three key themes related to Indian Ocean’s maritime future in their article in Marineblad magazine, “The Maritime Future of the Indian Ocean

  1. strategic importance of the sea lines of communication (SLOC) where energy security could drive confrontation between major players,
  2. vulnerability of SLOCs to the threat of non-state actors such as pirates, terrorists, and international crime syndicates and
  3. maritime balance of power including naval assets, strategic maritime infrastructure and co-operation

Indian Ocean: An Indian perspective

PROBAL GHOSH of the Observer Research Foundation states that the Indian Ocean region with its extensive trade, energy flows, piracy, terrorism and transnational crime has seen increasing struggle for maritime influence from players such as India, China, Australia, Indonesia and South Africa seeking primacy along with the US with new strategic questions being raised due to the number of naval forces acting independently in the region.

In a commentary for the East Asian Forum, “Indian Ocean dynamics: An Indian perspective“, he states that while China was making increasing forays into South Asia as part of its string of pearls strategy, India was seeking to neutralise Beijing’s influence by courting states in its periphery such as Japan, Korea and Vietnam, enhancing politico-military relations with the states of South East Asia, East Africa and the islands of the Indian Ocean.

China’s demographic transition

WANG FENG, director at Brookings-Tsinghua center examines China’s demographic transition, role of the Chinese state as am accelerator of transition and highlights a few key unique features of China’s demographic future based on a few scenarios.

In an article in the Population and Development Review, “The Future of a Demographic Overachiever: Long-Term Implications of the Demographic Transition in China“, he puts in perspective China’s demographic transition starting from a state of high-mortality and high-fertility to a state of low-mortality coupled with low-fertility in a span of 50 years which is unprecedented in history.


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