Five hundred years before the ‘string of pearls’ or strategic naval bases surfaced as part of China’s global dominance plan, Imperial Portugal was a naval power which tried to impose its hegemony over vast swathes of the Indian Ocean. What informed this grand vision of a 16th-century Portuguese seaborne empire?
The Bay of Bengal is a natural bridge between South and South-East Asia, which New Delhi seeks to optimise. But progress on India's Act East policy has been slow, creating a space for China's Belt and Road Initiative to step into. While India cannot match China’s cheque-book diplomacy, it can use its start-up industry to pursue a combination of physical, technological and financial projects to improve regional connectivity.
In 'A Grand Strategy: Countering China, Taming Technology, and Restoring the Media', a new book on China's technological ambitions, author William J. Holstein explains China's push to advance its technological prowess, exploring the link between technology, politics and economics in today's world. In this podcast, he tells us more about this connection, which has often been overlooked by the American media.
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.
On 8 October 2021, the 29th France-Africa summit was held in Montpellier, France. This unique summit focused on youth and civil society engagement, led from the front by French President Emmanuel Macron, in an open and honest dialogue. However, the success of this new outreach will be measured by how France fulfils the promises made at the summit.
Xi Jinping's crackdown on private tech companies in China has shattered hopes of Beijing being a 'responsible stakeholder' in a U.S.-led world order. American CEOs are also silent on how their tech products are used in China, especially artificial intelligence. The Federal Government should engage with these CEOs to moderate the proliferation of sensitive technology and prioritise national security.
The recent Quad Leaders' Summit set cybersecurity cooperation as a priority for the four countries. The Quad leaders also announced the creation of a Senior Cyber Group, a joint effort on establishing cyber standards and security. This builds on an already-robust collaboration, especially since Quad members have shared cyber threat perceptions.
Geographical Indication (GI) tags can be ready revenue generators today, especially for India. The country's robust global e-commerce system and recent domestic drone policy can help build a strong GI ecosystem and boost India's soft power. The government must lend its support to the industry, learning from European and Chinese examples.
On 6 October 2021, Ambassador Rajiv Bhatia, Distinguished Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies Programme, spoke to Dr. Pramod Jaiswal, Strategic Affairs Editor at Khabarhub on the role of Nepal in BIMSTEC and SAARC, in an analysis of the 17th BIMSTEC ministerial meetings. He also highlighted the role of SAARC and BIMSTEC in countering Chinese influence in the region.
The first in-person Quad Leader's Summit drew global attention for its symbolism and substance. A critical analysis of its outcome shows that the institutionalisation of the organisation has begun. India has a chance to work with the advanced economies, on an equal footing and with much to contribute.