Blue Beijing sky
These days, a visit to Beijing and any major Chinese city evokes thoughts of face masks, diesel smelling air and smoggy skies. When I arrived in Beijing as part of the Aspen Institute of India’s delegation to the fourth India-China Strategic Dialogue two weekends ago, I was greeted by clear blue skies, clean air and bright sunlight. And it continued for three days. Read more
There’s a lot of scholarly work on the Third Plenary Session of the Chinese Communist Party so I won’t pretend I have any value addition to add. The pessimists have said the plenum was notable for its failure to mention the state-owned enterprises and financial sector liberalisation. This means Xi Jinping is wary of treading on the corns of vested interests. The optimists have said the reformist outline of the plenum’s pronouncements show there is a consensus on more things than many had expected. Read more
Among the hundred or so books on China in my home, there is a hardback red volume titled “The 60th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between China and India.” The book is outwardly a boring set of largely black and white photographs of official visits and events held between India and China obviously taken by the government-hired photographer of the day. Read more
How revolutionary for the rest of the world is the United States shale gas revolution? Michael Levi of the Council for Foreign Relations, in India recently, gave an assessment that should reassure New Delhi that shale won’t turn geopolitics (and the Persian Gulf in particular) inside out. Read more
It didn’t really take Rahul Gandhi to wreck Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s tour of the United States. It was already a farewell visit. The US President Barack Obama had been reluctant to meet him, even trying to avoid having to give Singh a lunch. Read more
For this week at least Vladimir Putin must be feeling quite smug.
After getting some serious snubbing from Barack Obama, including the first cancellation of a bilateral summit between US and Russian leaders in 50 years, US Secretary of State John Kerry is in Geneva trying to bridge the gap between himself and his Russian counterpart on a UN resolution over Syria. Seems like the Cold War all over. Read more
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has joined others in his government by claiming, at the Group of 20 summit in St Petersburg, that the decline in the values of most emerging economy currencies is partly to be blamed on the West.
The Syrian civil war is now a microcosm of everything that is wrong with West Asia. It’s about Shia versus Sunni, Persian versus Gulf Arab, Israel versus Syria, United States versus Russia and China, al Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood, and so on. Read more
Medical tourism in India was a recent topic of a PHD Chamber of Commerce conference. The chamber and Yes Bank produced a report on the industry and various speakers held forth on the issue. Read more
A remarkable number of India’s intelligentsia were privately unhappy when the Arab spring broke out. Not because they had any love for the likes of Hosni Mubarak and his ilk. Read more