Japan, The Land of Rising Militarism

By 2028, the military budget of the Land of the Rising Sun will exceed $80 billion. The Russian-Ukrainian crisis, the rising tensions around Taiwan, and North Korea’s continued missile tests are all reasons for the drastic increase in Japan’s defence spending. Its defence ministry is now considering the prospect of purchasing new weapons: advanced missiles and air defence systems capable of intercepting rockets launched from China and North Korea, including hypersonic missiles.

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The Chip War: US Restrictions, China’s Ambitions and the Semiconductor Industry

Semiconductor chips form a very crucial part of the technological and strategic competition between the US and China. The disruptions in the supply and value chain due to the pandemic and trade tensions with China have brought out the significance of semiconductor chips. These are crucial for technological progress and responsible for the country’s growth as an economic power. The present article looks at the present US-China tensions and the implications of such spillover on the semiconductor ecosystem.

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China’s Perspective on the US Indo-Pacific Strategy: A Scholarly View

With the adoption of the Indo-Pacific concept vis-à-vis Asia-Pacific, many Chinese scholars and strategists have been alarmed. The development shows inefficiency in the US to protect its interests worldwide causing friction with China. These scholars argue the Indo-Pacific strategy of the US being directed against China and meant to develop an exclusive regional block. Once it’s implemented, the strategy will challenge China’s BRI and global position. In such a situation, Chinese scholars argue that the peace and stability and China’s rise have been impacted and undermined to protect the US interests and position in the region.

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Ramifications of the Russia-Ukraine War Within America

Russia’s unprovoked war in Ukraine has shocked the world, producing an unprecedented opportunity for the Biden administration to use global public opinion, primarily in the West, to buttress the solidarity between the United States, NATO, and EU against Russia, its long-term adversary. Biden knows that the November midterm elections will determine his political standing and the war’s course. Most importantly, the economic and financial tools available, especially the sanctions regime, are going to become more important as the war grudges on into a stalemate of sorts, with no clear winners on either side.

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Fallout of Pelosi’s Visit to Taiwan: Increased Regional Tension

In the latest eruption of regional tensions, China announced a resumption of military exercises around Taiwan which seems to be the fallout of the Pelosi visit to Taiwan. The American response is inadequate to the exigency of the threat as it does not project strength anymore. The pivot approach of the United States towards Asia will now become a reality. Any war is going to devastate the global supply chains, already encountering interruptions and insecurity.

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India and Uruguay: Taking the Trade to New Heights

The relationship between India and Uruguay is amicable and cordial. In 1960, diplomatic relations were established. The two nations have consistently supported one another in international forums. Uruguay supported India’s bid to get elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council for the 2015–2017 term. Both nations are members of the Group of 77 and possess strategic significance. This article describes the significant developments in trade and commerce and how they will lead to new heights.

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I2U2 and its Significance in the Indo-Pacific Region

The arrival of the I2U2 as a quadrilateral security structure in West Asia will act as a strategic group. Coupled with QUAD and the AUKUS, it will strengthen the position of the West in the Indo-Pacific Region. As the I2U2 focuses on the strategic concerns in West Asia as a geopolitical shift is taking place in the Western Indian Ocean, it will become a feature of the broader region with greater implications. I2U2 provides the opportunity for its members to collaborate and assist one another in six key areas. Being an economic group, it addresses the vacuum in West Asia and allows the Middle Eastern countries to view it as an alternative. With the smooth access and supply of oil being a prime aim across the world, the development of a security net under I2U2 will ensure peace and stability in the region.

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Crossing China’s Red Line: Pelosi’s Taiwan Visit on the Cards and Challenges Ahead

Recently leaked information regarding the possible visit of Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, to Taiwan in August created a diplomatic row between the US and China, pushing China to object to such a visit strongly. Pelosi is a long-time critic of China. Newt Gingrich was the last US Speaker to visit Taiwan, 25 years ago. With August being critical for President Xi Jinping’s leadership, it coincides with the Biden-Xi virtual summit. Although a statement from President Biden regarding the visit is concerning for the US-Taiwan ties, the visit being called off will only convince China that its deterrence worked and will strengthen its position over the Taiwan Issue.

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The Significance of Neutrality for Ukraine

Considering the long history of Ukraine and Russia, the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine factored in Kyiv’s desire to join NATO, bringing NATO close to Russian borders. The desire to join NATO not only extended the conflict, which stretched to more than 100 days, but it also caused one of the major humanitarian crises in recent times. With the West continuing to aid Ukraine through military aid, the relevance of Ukraine adopting neutrality still stands valid, as Russia continues to occupy more Ukrainian territory with no scope of peace in the forefront.

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Catastrophic Consequences of the Conflict

The ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict has had a long history and with threat perceptions on both sides. However, the conflicts and wars benefit only a few, and that too in the short term. The world must work together to end this crisis at the earliest. Or else, its cascading effect might push the whole world into an abyss from where the recovery would become extremely difficult. The underdeveloped and the developing world are likely to be the worst affected and they all must come together to pitch for peace.

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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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Decoding China’s Hegemony in Indo-Pacific Region and Its Repercussions

The Chinese economy is faltering, the business sector is more indebted than ever, the fertility rate (1.702) remains below replacement level, the population is ageing, and the benefit of cheap labour is eroding. China’s debt-to-GDP ratio (US$27 trillion) is 159 percent. However, China’s objective has been to reclaim its former glory by controlling Asia in the short term and the rest of the globe in the long run. The Russian invasion of Ukraine and the western world’s response have introduced a new dimension to the Indo-Pacific power struggle. China may be emboldened by the western world’s reluctance to intervene directly in the Ukrainian situation. India would need to tread carefully and traverse the rough waters in this new geopolitical context.China’s rise will continue to be a source of contention for states in the Indo-Pacific and beyond.

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Defence Sector During Russia-Ukraine Crisis: Implications for India

Although several developed countries might propagate the idea that the conflicts and wars bring misery to humanity at large, they promote the idea of defence preparedness as a means and instrument of deterrence, and this ensures that their interests are served even during good times. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has created all the needed threat perception amongst many a country to cause the global armament exports to flourish. Will the geopolitics permit, promote, and support India to capitalize on this export opportunity, or would it be prevented from doing so? 

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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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Alternative to SWIFT: Russia-Ukraine War Highlights the Urgency

The financial warfare against Russia, inter alia, has cut off Russian banks from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) thereby blocking Russia from rapid money transfers internationally. Even though SWIFT accounts for no more than 1 percent of the transactions involving Russian entities and payments, the ban may potentially disrupt its trade in energy and agricultural produce as well as Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and Foreign Institutional Investors (FII). In totality, the sanctions against Russia may shrink its economy by 5 percent. The current crisis has made many countries of the world think of developing alternative payment systems and capabilities. This would be a challenging task as the alternative to SWIFT would work only when a larger number of countries become willing to cooperate and agree to become a part of the alternative network.

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Decoding the Objectives of FM Wang Yi’s Visit to India

The visit to India of Wang Yi, China’s foreign minister and State Councillor, which was kept secret until he arrived in New Delhi following visits to Pakistan and Afghanistan, had multiple objectives. China appeared to have attempted to advance its agenda in this region in light of the larger objective in the South China Sea, after assessing the geopolitical changes resulting from the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Unfortunately for Wang, Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Foreign Minister Jaishankar made it abundantly clear to him that normal relations between the two countries are impossible until the border situation improves. Wang, as is customary in Chinese diplomacy, used subtly disguised concepts to argue that normalization of relations between the two countries should take precedence and that the border issue should be placed in an appropriate position—that is, given no weight.

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Russia-Ukraine Conflict: Impact on Global Flow of Funds

The Russia-Ukraine conflict can intensify the already shaken economic conditions created by COVID-19 as inflationary pressures might have an effect on many countries. Investors in Central and Eastern Europe are cautious with their investments. As per an IMF report, the sanctions imposed against Russia will impact the global economy. It clearly seems to have already affected FDI and portfolio investment in many countries, including India. For the sixth month in a row, foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) were net sellers in February, selling shares worth $4.9 billion. It was also the most shares sold by FPIs since the epidemic began in March 2020, when they sold $8.3 billion worth of stock. The Union Finance Minister of India had stated that the Russia-Ukraine conflict and surge in crude oil prices pose risk to the financial stability of the country.

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International Relations: Beyond the Prism of ‘Isms’

The follies of international relations compel us to see beyond the prism of ‘isms’ to save generations in the quest for sanity and humanity. This pitch dwells on the salient glimpses of discursive disciplinary symptoms in International Relations wherein ideologies are emanating from diverse ‘isms’. Multiple ‘isms’ are replete with their framework of ideas to underpin principles chosen in praxis. An evolution, growth and development in IR rely on trendsetting discourse and rhetoric revelation.

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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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Bracing for the Changing Geopolitics: Ukraine Crisis and Energy Security in India

As Russian troops reach Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, the Brent crude prices have already touched $110 a barrel, a level that was breached 8 years ago in 2014. The moot question, therefore, is, whether or not India was ready to anticipate and handle the consequences arising out of such a crisis with minimal disruptions. Taxes on petroleum, today, may be a major source of revenue but is also vulnerable to volatility impelling upon the need to look for an alternative but stable source of revenue to the government.

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Political Controversies at Beijing 2022 Olympics

The 2022 Winter Olympics concluded recently in Beijing. What made the 2022 Winter Games stand out was that the political aspect of the games was talked about exponentially more than the sporting aspects. The 2022 Beijing Olympics might have been the most tainted game in the history of the Winter edition. There was already a trend of increasing controversies and the political nature of the competition, but the latest set of events in China might have set the tone for years to come. Politicization, environmental problems, doping, decreasing viewership, fewer hosting candidates, increasing criticism, and many more problems cloud the future of the world’s oldest and grandest sporting phenomenon.

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The Lessons for Taiwan from Russia-Ukraine Conflict

Against the backdrop of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine Conflict, there is an increasing suspicion that Beijing would follow Moscow’s lead and attempt to conquer Taiwan militarily. Ukraine’s experience should instil a stronger sense of urgency in Taiwan regarding the need to overcome bureaucratic and partisan impediments to coalescing around a military plan that is fit for Taiwan’s security environment and resource restrictions. This is an opportunity for Taiwan’s current and future leaders to instil confidence in the country’s future.

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Russia-Ukraine Crisis: The Impact on India

The ongoing Ukraine Crisis has transported India back to the Cold War era when it was expected to choose a side. However, given India’s growing stature in international affairs and its dynamics with the two countries, maintaining the same strategic autonomy as last time will be nearly impossible. While a Russia-China-India axis in the present scenario is next to impossible, jumping on the Washington wagon has its own set of ill consequences for India vis-à-vis Moscow. It is in India’s best interests for the Ukraine crisis to be de-escalated as soon as possible.

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Olympics and International Relations: Uncovering an Intertwined Relationship

*This is Part Two of the Two-Part Article Series on the Olympics and International Politics.* The Olympics are more than just a stage for international politics. They are a true reflection of the world order and what goes on in it. Hosting an edition of the Olympics is the most beneficial way of gaining soft power for any country. During the Cold War, the Olympics was not only a competition for power and a symbol of pride for the two countries, but also a representation of their global dominance. While the Olympics have been the victim of international political impact multiple times throughout their history, they keep showing their ability to overcome those challenges and continue to bring the international community together to promote sports with the objective of peace.

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The Political Nature of the Olympics: Protests, Boycotts and Violence at the Games

A few countries, including the United States of America, have decided to stage a diplomatic boycott of the ongoing 2022 Beijing Olympics. The Olympics and politics have had a complex relationship even in the past. Almost every Olympics has had one or multiple instances of politicisation. In Olympic history, multiple countries have boycotted the games to express dissent on the basis of international conflicts and issues. The Olympic games also have had their fair share of violence, resulting in human and infrastructural casualties over the years.

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Nepal: Discourse in Geopolitics

In the Asia-Pacific region, India behaves in a mutually beneficial manner. Kathmandu needs to do a field study of Indian affairs. Nepal needs to have a deeper discussion and synthesis of Indian mentality and thinking compared to China. Diplomatic history has shown that the Nepali people’s perception of Nepal-India relations does not take long to become fluid. Diplomatic injuries, conflicts, and risks are serious.

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In Search of Allies: Washington and the World

The high-profile statements of the White House administration about the reorientation of the foreign policy course from the Middle East to the Indo-Pacific region have now become a reality and are reflected in the fact that Washington has focused on the formation of military-political blocs among the countries of the region. However, the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan has raised great doubts about the reliability of US security guarantees for its allies. India is not sure of Washington’s support in the event of another escalation of the Indian-Chinese border conflict. Moreover, Beijing has become the largest market for Australia and the largest exporter of goods to the UK. It is also the main trading partner, both for Tokyo and Seoul.

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The Achilles’ Heels of China in 2022

The aggression against Taiwan, the ‘China virus’, the oppression of human rights in Hong Kong and Xinjiang, the seizure of islands in the South China Sea, and industrial espionage are phrases that have shaped the international community’s attitude towards China in the past few years. Anti-Chinese sentiment in the world has grown significantly with the onset of the pandemic and continues to grow. The lack of information about Beijing’s true role in the origin of the virus and other crimes against humanity does not allow for a final verdict on Xi Jinping’s government.
However, the ‘China containment policy’ of the United States allows us to predict what the new pain points of the People’s Republic of China in 2022 will be.

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China’s South China Sea Claims Threaten India’s Economic and Geopolitical Interests

The continued flow of commerce and naval movement in the South China Sea is vital for India. It handles around 55% of India’s trade with the Indo-Pacific region. Sustaining regional peace and stability is, thus, crucial for India. To counterbalance China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) effort, India must leverage its geographical advantage, increasing its naval profile, ASEAN collaboration, and heritage of goodwill.

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Reinventing Resilience in Tough Times

An overriding concern is the creation of a cultural wealth of nations where happiness and prosperity are within our means and resources. Despite turning the tide and time in favour of capitalism, everyone aspires for contentment and prosperous living today. It is appropriate to say some of the parameters of democratic civilization reinvent resilience in our tough times

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Nepal: Politics of American Initiative of MCC

A hoary resistance and a series of protests against the MCC agreement broke out in the capital of Kathmandu and across the country a few days back. The geopolitical showdown is no good when internal architecture is unstable or weak to withstand temperatures of the global political and economic climate. Governmentality and governability have to curb intrinsic unlimited crises and address multiple frontlines of chaos and complexity in political society.

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United States, NATO, and the Taliban: Analysis of the Politics

So far, no government has recognized the Taliban as the official government of Afghanistan. The US is no more a global hegemon. It has declined relative to other powers, like China. The US and NATO must, thus, prefer acting pragmatically rather than ideologically. Convergence of national interests of the US and Pakistan in stabilizing Afghanistan may improve their relations. Meanwhile, Biden must stay the course and completely pull out American military forces by the August 31 deadline.

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Deuba’s Foreign Policy Amid Fluidity: Continuity or Change?

Deuba’s Foreign Policy is being watched by its neighbours as it will decide the fate of its international relations across borders. On the Nepali side, new Prime Minister Deuba has an opportunity to reach out to India and establish an honest line of communication to discuss all outstanding issues and find common grounds. Will his fifth-inning into the corridors of Singh Durbar be different or similar to his predecessors?

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Afghanistan: A New Opportunity for the Quad?

The Quad’s Indo-Pacific policy is not limited to China’s containment or the promotion of a free and open Indo-Pacific, since there are several additional areas of concern, most notably in Central Asia. US army withdrawal provides a chance to engage the Quad partners in discussions on Afghan policy and to explore alternatives to existing peacekeeping arrangements. The Quad’s participation in Afghanistan will not only rebalance power in the wider Indo-Pacific region, but will also close a crucial continental chasm in the area’s conceptualization.

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Statecraft in Politics Without Frontiers

Politics seems to be everything and the core of anybody’s everyday talks. However, statecraft is sorely missing in the state of affairs when transcendence is important to focus on reform, perform and transform the state apparatus. The needs of public management are felt in the backdrop of international or global policy impinging inside a political territory in an ongoing political transition. Politics without frontiers has become a reality wherein knowns and unknowns are common among citizens.

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End of Oli Era: A New Start for Indo-Nepal Relations

For the second time in five months, the Supreme Court of Nepal reversed President Bidya Devi Bhandari’s decision to dissolve the House of Representatives (HoR) of Nepal. This time, it further ordered President Bhandari to appoint Nepali Congress leader Sher Bahadur Deuba as the Prime Minister by July 13, 2021. The ensuing end of the KP Sharma Oli era is likely to provide a renewed impetus to the relations between India and Nepal.

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Afghanistan Surge: Taliban at the Door of Kabul As US Troops Withdraw

On July 2, 2021, Friday, the US forces quietly vacated the Bagram airfield, considered to be the epicentre of its campaign to remove the Taliban and capture the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks, after nearly two decades. This effectively brings an end to the Afghan ‘forever war’, the longest war fought in US history. As foreign troops retreat, the Taliban forces are sweeping across Afghanistan. The possibility of civil war looms over the country as the region has been pushed into turmoil after the withdrawal of western forces. Twenty years down the line, are we back to square one?

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Indian Ocean and South China Sea: Jugular Vein as Gordian Knot

At a time when China’s protracted pre-meditated military moves along India’s northern boundary are drawing the nation’s attention, it is important that India doesn’t lose sight of its surrounding seas and maritime environment.

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Indian and Australian Federalism during Pandemic

Even though the pandemic is taking its toll on federal structure of most countries, as can be seen in the case of India and Australia in this article, if there is one good thing that comes out of the COVID-19 pandemic for both countries, it is the push to re-evaluate what federalism means in the 21st century.

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Beginning of a new Cold War

As we reach the midway of 2020, the year is giving no respite from its wrathful events. Apart from the pandemic, the year 2020 will also be remembered as the year of the beginning of a new Cold War. The COVID-19 pandemic has become the flashpoint as both countries blame each other for the devastation caused by the virus across the world. To avoid falling into Tacitus Trap, both the countries are playing the nationalist card to regain their lost legitimacy.

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