Vietnam had a busy 2020, starting with its chairmanship of ASEAN and ending with the signing of RCEP, and a free trade agreement with the EU. All were completed successfully despite the pandemic, which it also handled well. It has revealed Vietnam’s dexterity and confidence, good management and societal control and raised the country’s global profile.
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As the daily numbers of COVID-19 cases remain high globally, examining Mahatma Gandhi's probable responses can be useful. Gandhi believed that political work shall go hand-in-hand with social reform, cleanliness and hygiene as its chief pillars.
As 2021 opens, the post-COVID world can expect some changes in the geopolitics of Asia. It will involve altering equations in the Indo-Pacific among major, middle and small powers. These will fluctuate with characteristic familiarity, creating instability, tensions and strife, but not leading to military conflict – barring an unforeseen accident. Post-COVID, the world will be uncertain and complex.
The U.S. Navy Secretary, Kenneth Braithwaite, visited India on 17 Dec 2020. Will this year-end visit culminate in the reactivation of the First Fleet under the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command? The First Fleet, is likely to be an expeditionary fleet - one without a shore-based headquarters and assigned primary responsibility for the Indian Ocean and parts of Pacific Ocean bordering South Asia. Its reactivation will emphasise the strategic importance of this region. It will also relieve the burden of the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet headquartered in Japan, that is deployed for operations in this vast oceanic space.
On December 15, 2020, Gateway House co-hosted a webinar with Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung on Europe in the Indo-Pacific. The panel included: Rt Hon Sir Michael Fallon KCB, Member, Indo-Pacific Commission, Policy Exchange, UK, Former Secretary of State of Defence, UK; Karin Mössenlechner Director, Asia and Oceania Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Netherlands; Dr. Axel Berkofsky, Co-Head of the Asia Center at Istituto per gli studi di politica internazionale (ISPI), Italy and Peter Max Rimmele, Resident Representative to India, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung.
India hosted the SCO summit on 30 November. Fueling its diplomatic drive is the region’s strategic importance and an enhancced focus on Central Asia with its strong civilizational, cultural and emotional bonds with India. Despite the daunting regional challenges, old and new, a seat at the SCO table strengthens India's hand in shaping the grouping’s - and region’s - future.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's controversial wading into the Punjab farmers' protests has obfuscated the hard work done by diplomats and think tanks on both sides over the past three years, to boost the bilateral. India and Canada have much to gain from each other's strengths in technology, natural resources and investment, and even more if they collaborate internationally to develop an alternative to the current bipolar world order
Cross-border infrastructure has been influencing the geopolitics of Asia, specifically South Asia. Since 2014, India has been investing in trilateral and multilateral infrastructure projects, in its coastal and inland neighbourhood. This paper argues that making environmental security a parameter for developing cross border sustainable infrastructure, will provide a unique opportunity for India to develop norms for environmental and social security policy, training assistance, and capacity-building in the projects it funds abroad.
Saudi Arabia hosted the G20 Summit on 21-22 November, this year. A strategy to protect the global economy, which is the heart of the G20’s existence, was reflected in the updated G20 Action Plan, a clear by-product of the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. Beyond the immediate, is the plan for a resilient and long-lasting recovery.
Trade patterns are influenced by geography. To facilitate strong trade relations and strengthen domestic economies, India & Canada must leverage ASEAN through the digital shift and build on beneficial relations with nations amidst the coercive behaviour of hegemonic powers.