America is Back – Or is it?

It is true that the US needs to strike a balance between domestic priorities and its global commitments, but it cannot have meaningful engagement with the rest of the world, including ASEAN, if it is insular on economic issues. In other words, the US needs to realize that both ‘America First’ and globalisation – with some checks – can co-exist.  

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ASEAN’s Foreign Policy: Managing The Great Power Politics

ASEAN is likely to be the driver of economic growth in the imminent future. While a number of ASEAN member states have stated that they do not subscribe to the US vision of the Free and Open Indo-Pacific, they are also aware of China’s increasingly expansionist tendencies and its aggressive stance over the South China Sea Issue. While ASEAN has numerous opportunities, it needs to ensure that differences within the bloc do not impact its functioning.

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Pakistan’s China-USA Policy: De-hyphenation or Zero Sum?

In order to put its economy back on the rails, Pakistan needs to maintain good relations not just with China, but also put its bilateral ties with the US back on the rails. Given the deterioration in Washington-Beijing ties, it remains to be seen if Islamabad can manage the same. While Pakistan, like many other countries, has said that it does not want to be pushed into making any choices, it remains to be seen whether this will be possible in the changing geopolitical landscape.

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The Rise of Paradiplomacy: Harnessing Odisha’s ASEAN Connect to Attract Investment

There has been a paradigm shift in practices of wooing investors for boosting the economy. States have been attempting through special summits. Indonesia and Odisha have shared historical links. Every year in November, the festival of ‘Bali Yatra’ celebrated commemorates the maritime history of Odisha and Bali (Indonesia). In this regard, India’s outreach and connectivity vis-à-vis ASEAN should focus on harnessing the historical linkages and geographical advantages which states possess with respect to the ASEAN region.

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Saudi Arabia and UAE: Playing the Balancing Act

Two Gulf countries – Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE) – have re-oriented their external relations significantly in recent years. The improvement in ties between both these Gulf countries, especially UAE, and Israel is a strong reiteration of the same. UAE along with Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan normalised ties with Israel via the Abraham accords signed in 2020. Even at a global level, not just the Middle East, both Saudi Arabia and UAE are trying to re-position their foreign policy. One important change has been the strengthening of UAE-China and Saudi Arabia-China relations, much to the discomfort of the US.

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Iran and Venezuela on Cooperation Road

Iran and Venezuela recently signed a 20-year agreement that sought to strengthen cooperation in a number of areas – though the focus of the agreement is on bolstering ties in the finance and energy sectors.  The agreement will be closely watched by the West since both countries have been facing US sanctions and have repeatedly lashed out at western imperialism. While Venezuela and Iran share close ties with Russia and China, the agreement sends a strong message that the countries that are part of the Russia-China camp need to have an independent foreign policy and economic vision.

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Blinken-Zardari Meet: A Tightrope for Pakistan with USA and China

During the May 18 meeting, both Blinken and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari focused on strengthening not just US-Pakistan security ties but also economic linkages. The US could nudge IMF towards imposing less stringent conditionalities on Pakistan in order to prevent political instability. The US remains an important destination for Pakistani exports and this is one of the reasons why the business community in Pakistan, along with the Pakistan army as well as the political class, was not particularly comfortable with former PM Imran Khan’s rhetoric against the West, in general, and the US, in particular. There is a growing realization in Pakistan that while ties with Beijing may be important, it can not afford to allow relations with the US to deteriorate any further.

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Political Turmoil and Strained Ties with the West: A Double Whammy for Pakistan’s Economy

Apart from Pakistan’s army and opposition political outfits, the business lobbies in Pakistan have been flagging the point that strained ties with the US and the EU will have an adverse impact on Pakistan’s economy. While the Pakistan Army Chief, Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, had alluded to the importance of Pakistan’s ties with the US in his address on April 2, 2022, Pakistan’s business has expressed its apprehensions with regard to the current political situation and the potential souring of ties with the West, in general, and the US, in particular. The current economic crisis in Sri Lanka also underscores the pitfalls of being excessively dependent upon China and the need for an astute foreign policy.

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Russia-Ukraine Crisis: A Big Boost for Iranian Economy?

While analysts focus on wrangling between great powers, the economic and geopolitical relevance of countries like Iran often gets relegated to the sidelines. The revival of the JCPOA, and closer economic ties between Tehran and the West, especially the purchase of Iranian oil by the US and other western countries, could actually result in Tehran re-orienting its foreign policy. If Iran and other signatories do manage to come up with an agreement, Iran’s sagging economy could get a big boost.

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