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January 6, 2012

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MANIPUR AS A HUB FOR LOOK EAST

NITIN GOKHALE, Security and Strategic Studies editor at NDTV calls for fixing Manipur’s broken socio-political landscape even as New Delhi embarks on an enhanced Look East policy with Myanmar.

In his op ed in Gateway House, “Look to Manipur before looking East”, he states that the economic blockades that have been imposed by the various communities in support oftheir socio-political demands had succeeded in choking off the supply chain of the already isolated region and creating artificial shortages of fooditems and petroleum products, crippling normal life for Manipuris while not achieving much politically.

He advocates a recognition of the importance of Manipur that shares about a 400km border with Myanmar as a key node in India’s Look East policy and the Manipuri border town of Moreh as a potential export centerfrom India to ASEAN even as New Delhi seizes the moment to enhance trade and cultural ties with Naypyidaw. He states that both New Delhi and Imphal had to ensure a solution to the long- standing ethnic insurgencies and overcome apathy and indifference.

ENERGY OUTLOOK 2040

Researchers at ExxonMobil forecast global energy demandat 30percent higher than in2010 due to a combinationof factors such as increasing economic output, prosperityand population growth aswell as maturing economies,and increasing efficiency, resulting in 60percent demand growth within the non-OECD economies. Indian energy demand is forecast to more than double from 28 quadrillion BTUs in 2010 to 61 in 2040, about 9percent of global demand.

In their annual energy outlook, “2012 The Outlook for Energy: A View to 2040”, they state that electricity generation would account for more than 40percent of global energy consumption while demand for coal would peak and then decline gradually and demand for natural gas would rise by more than 60percent and unconventional sources of oil and natural gas such as shale formations would form an increasing share of global supply.

They also state that efficiency gains through technologies such as hybrid vehicles and new, high- efficiency natural gas power plants would temper demand growth and curb emissions. and also predict that energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions would grow slowly, then level off around 2030.

CHONGQING VS GUANGDONG

FRANCOIS GODEMENT, YANG CHAN, JEAN-PIERRE CABESTAN, JÉRÔME DOYON, ROMAIN LAFARGUETTE of the Asia Centre, Sciences Po, analyse content in Chinese language publications in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan to state that China’s Faustian pact of miraculous export growth in exchange for huge external dependence was unravellingand rebalancing of the economy towards domestic growth was not necessarily easy as much of China’s domestic investment went into massive infrastructure projects and real estate deals which did not necessarily enhance consumer demand.

In a China Analysis article for the European Council for Foreign Relations, “One or two Chinese models?”, they document the emergence of two economic models, a Chongqing model led by Bo Xilai and supported by Xi Jinping and Zhou Yongkang, characterized by massive infrastructure spending that could be recouped in the long-term through economic growth and a Guangdong model led by Wang Yang supported by Hu Jintao and Li Keqiang, characterised by a legal and market-based transition. These were further complicated by the jostling for key positions by these factions in the politburo standing committee.

They also state that although it was hard to predict how the debate could unfold, it was clear that China was investing into the next wave of export-led growth, mobilising its inland assets and negating the effectsof rising wages, labor shortages and ageing. They caution thata slowdown in international demand could make these investments very risky andthe debate could transcend economics into power politics and how best to preserve the legitimacy of the CCP rule against strong headwinds.

JIUCHANGWEI

CHENG LI fellow at Brookings’ John L Thornton China Center states that the composition of China’s new Politburo standing committee (PSC) expected to be announced in the fall of 2012 as part of a major leadership turnover at the CCP’s 18th National Congress, their generational attributes, individual idiosyncratic characteristics, group dynamics, and factional balance ofpower would have profound implications for China’s economic priorities, social stability, political trajectory and foreign relations.

In an article for The Washington Quarterly, “The Battle for China’s Top Nine Leadership Posts”, he analyzes the individuals in the reckoning for the PSC,the selection process, political and professional backgrounds, potential factions, political strategies, economic, socio- political and foreign policy agenda and states that addressing these questions was essential now more than ever before due to the influence China has on the world economy and regional security.

He argues that although there was broad agreementon the basics such as China’s socio-economic stability, survival of CCP rule and enhanced international status for China, factional divides within the leadership and the balance of power between two competing complementary coalitions – the elitist ‘taizidang’ faction led by Xi Jinping and the populist ‘tuanpai’ faction led by Li Keqiang would shape the new PSC membership with the coalitions representing different socio-economic and geographic constituencies and bringing together different expertise and credentials.

He states that 14 leaders stood out among their peers as the leading candidates for the next PSC and also states that China’s future political and economic direction may well hinge on how well its leaders, particularly the most powerful making up the new PSC, succeed or fail at working together to search for a safe, sound, and sustainable political system.

A SLOW DANCE

SUZANNE MALONEY, fellow at the Brookings’ Saban Center for Middle East Policy examines the forces that have conspired to keep Washington and Teheran trapped in conflict, and offered a forecast on the future evolution of the standoff in the wake of epic change unfolding across the Middle East.

In her article for Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI), “Tehran and Washington: A Motionless Relationship?”, she states that although Washington has relied heavily on economic sanctions to influence Iran’s policies and options, it also experimented with a variety of tactics ranging all the way from back-channel inducements to undeclared warfare depending on cyclical changes in the philosophical, partisan and practical considerations that shaped its approach to Iran.

She states that Iran’s oil revenues insulated the Iranian regime, allowed it to exploitthe sanctions and also allowed Beijing an uncontested access to Iran’s energy sector with Beijing now indispensable in influencing Teheran. She concludes thatthe current U.S. approach while having impeded Iran’s most problematic policies, hadn’t altered the regime’s political calculus and intensified the Iranian threat.


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