The Bay of Bengal is a bridge between the Indo-Pacific and the Indian Ocean, and with a population of 1.4 billion, an increasingly important economic zone in its own right. India has been slow to build regional connectivity. The space has been filled by China's Belt and Road Initiative projects, which have not always been beneficial for host countries. The region may be better off pursuing digital connectivity by enabling tech startups – areas of India’s strength. This research uses maps to explore the potential for energy, transport, and financial connectivity across the Bay of Bengal.
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On September 24, the Quad leaders will attend the first in-person summit of the grouping in Washington DC. There is much to discuss for the four leaders, given recent developments: the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, the Australia-UK-US (AUKUS) security partnership and the EU's new Indo-Pacific strategy. The Quad also needs to focus on long term goals like institutionalising itself and devising a strategy to counter the China challenge.
The withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops from Afghanistan is not the first time that a hasty and messy departure of foreign forced has taken place. History is replete with examples of imperial powers suddenly leaving countries that they secured for years, without ensuring a peaceful transition of power. The sub-continent has now seen it twice, the last time was in 1947, when the British preponed their withdrawal from India, hastily partitioning the country and leaving a region at war with itself. Ambassador Neelam Deo, co-founder, Gateway House, explains why and how this happens.
With the Taliban now ensconced in Kabul and being given legitimacy to represent Afghanistan, the worry for New Delhi is the Taliban-affiliated terrorist groups which are already looking eastward to India. This graphic shows the relationship between the terrorist groups in Afghanistan and their anti-India cousins.
The 13th BRICS summit will be held virtually on 9 September 2021 and India is the host. The grouping has managed to hold its ground in an era of increasingly complex geopolitics. While immediate goals are important, in the longer term it must cooperate on counter terrorism, improve trade and work towards the Sustainable Development Goals.
A new maritime law in China allows it to supervise all foreign vessels which appear in the country's "territorial waters" - many parts of which are internationally disputed. Nationalistic maritime actions such as China’s aggression in the South China Sea and Russia’s actions in the Black Sea, has revived international focus on maritime law. In this podcast, Dr Stefan Talmon, professor and co-director at the Institute of International Law, University of Bonn, interprets maritime law in the two hotly contested seas.
Group identifies areas of potential economic and technological cooperation between four like-minded democracies in the Indo-Pacific
Conceived in 2020, the task force studied promising areas for cooperation between the Quad countries beyond their pre-existing maritime security partnership. The report highlights the need to increase economic and technological interdependence among the Quad countries and to establish common and updated rules and standards for emerging technologies in five study areas. The unique mix of the group – three developed and one developing nation, three Pacific and one Indian Ocean nation, three producer-trading nations with one massive emerging market – lends itself to innovation, experimentation and cooperation that can be a template for a new, post-pandemic geopolitical era.
China is rapidly expanding its influence in the Indian Ocean Region, as its massive investment in ports starts to materialise. From smaller investments of $78 million in Djibouti to large ones like $1.6 billion in Gwadar, these are funded largely by Chinese state-owned enterprises. This infographic shows the 17 ports being built by China, which are now important strategic, economic and political outposts for the country.
The Taliban’s rapid advance towards Kabul shows clear signs of learning from previous failures. The chances of a revival of the old Northern Alliance are minimal. Regional powers are left with the option of maintaining diplomatic contact with the Taliban whilst not taking any assurances on trust.