13 March 2019

Raghuram Rajan says capitalism is 'under serious threat'


Former Indian central bank governor Raghuram Rajan has warned capitalism is "under serious threat" as it has stopped providing for the masses.

Mr Rajan told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme "when that happens, the many revolt against capitalism".

He said governments cannot afford to ignore social inequality when considering the economy.

Mr Rajan led India's central bank and was also a former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

He has been tipped by some as a possible successor to take over from Mark Carney as governor of the Bank of England.

An Overview Of India-Russia Strategic Partnership In A Shifting World Order – Analysis

By Dr. Indrani Talukdar*

The world is definitely witnessing a struggle in the world order from a unipolarity to multipolarity. An increase in the momentum to dismantle the unipolar world order post-Cold War is going on. The influence of the unipolar hegemony has helped other countries such as India, Russia, Europe, Japan and China to push towards a multipolar world order, threatening the hegemon.

The transition and the upheaval attached to it are visible. During the Munich Security Conference of 2019, Wolfgang Ischinger Ambassador, Chairman of MSC, spoke about protecting the international institutions from eroding. There is a return of great power competition. Though every country is trying its best to become powerful and influential, however some clear players in this marathon are the US, India, China, Russia, Germany and France. America is trying to keep its hold, India and China are rising in a fast pace and Russia is not left behind with its focus on economic and military power. Germany and France are also equipping themselves despite the chaos within the European Union with a Brexit in waiting.

Islamic State-Inspired Extremist Threat Looms Large in India

By: Animesh Roul

Despite massive territorial losses and military setbacks in the Middle East, the violent ideals espoused by Islamic State (IS) remain resilient and seem to be resonating in the hearts and minds of a section of inspired Indian Muslims. After a brief lull in IS-inspired or directed events in the country, Indian security agencies have unearthed multiple covert pro-IS networks, foiling conspiracies to carry out terrorist attacks targeting vital and sensitive installations and sites in and around the national capital, New Delhi, and places in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra States.

In late December 2018, the National Investigation Agency (NIA)—India’s elite anti-terrorism agency—conducted a major joint operation with Delhi and Uttar Pradesh police to crack down on pro-IS activities in the country. During the operation, authorities arrested at least 10 people belonging to an IS-inspired group called Harkat-ul-Harb-e-Islam (HuHI). The ring leader of the HuHI was identified as Muhammed Suhail (a.k.a. Hazrath), a native of Amroha city in Uttar Pradesh where he is engaged as a mufti (Islamic jurist) in a madrasa located at Hakim Mahtab Uddin Hashmi Road (Rediff.com, December 26, 2018).

Impact of cheap Chinese products on the Indian economy


Go to any goods market in India or visit any online retail site, you will find cheap Chinese products everywhere – whether it's electronic gadgets, crackers, decoration items, or other daily consumables, you will find a cheaper Chinese version for almost everything.

Although, these cheap products that usually come at the price of 10-70 percent lower than their original counterparts, help consumers save their hard-earned money; however, they are impelling a negative impact on the Indian economy.

Chinese products are affecting not just the domestic businesses and industrial market, but also the export market of India as many people are replacing Indian goods with Chinese ones. The ‘Made in China’ label has become the most preferred choice in India and other countries due to price factor and availability of huge variety.

How do China and India compare in the global race for talent?

Bruno Lanvin

Switzerland has once again topped the list as the world’s most talent-competitive nation, although there are promising developments for the rising economies of Asia, in particular China and India, according to a global ranking released in April.

This year’s global talent competitiveness index report, themed “Talent and Technology”, focuses on the impact of technology on talent management and the future of work generally.

Under the general heading of “looking beyond automation”, it argues that new technological advances such as in big data, artificial intelligence and the pervasive use of algorithms will not kill work, but will require rapid adjustments from individuals, organisations and countries.

Can the Taliban Movement Become a Meaningful Diplomatic Actor?

By Farkhondeh Akbari

It is clear that the Trump administration is seeking an exit from Afghanistan as soon as possible. US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has signalled that a deal is imminent with the Taliban. But we are yet to see if the deal entails a framework for the withdrawal of US forces to end 17 years of conflict or if it entails a plan for sustainable peace for Afghanistan after 40 years of war. The characteristics of the Taliban pose major challenges to achieve the latter.

History has shown that not all peace settlement negotiations lead to peace. Negotiations brought peace in Bosnia and genocide in Rwanda…

Ties with US going to take a new turn, says Qureshi

Shakeel Ahmed

MULTAN: US-Pakistan relations were under strain because of FATF but because of Pakistan’s role in US-Taliban peace dialogues, the relationship with the US is going to take a new turn, said Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Sunday.

Invited to a gathering of media persons and his supporters in his constituency NA-156, Mr Qureshi spoke at length about US-Taliban peace talks in Afghanistan, the government’s dealings with India over Kashmir and relationship with neighbouring countries.

“US had placed Pakistan in the grey list of Financial Action Task Force [FATF] and consequently, its relationship with Islamabad was not that great. But because of our successful foreign policy ties between both countries are improving,” he said at the Multan Tea House, a café on the lines of Pak Tea House in Lahore, located inside the Multan Arts Council.

Is Pakistan Reviving Its Soft-Power?

By Hajira Maryam

In January, Pakistani Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry announced a new visa policy to revive the country’s tourism industry. This measure will provide an e-visa option to 175 countries and a visa-on-arrival to 50 other countries. Moreover, the minister also announced policy decrees toward developing the country’s image and making tourism a vibrant sector capable of achieving economic growth while elevating the brand image of the country. 

With the ascension of Imran Khan to power last year, Islamabad seems keen to improve its soft power capital. Utilizing cultural diplomacy more often than before, the Pakistani leadership is in a frenzied move to build a positive image of the country. The emphasis on the tourism sector, therefore, aligns with Khan’s reform agenda, which consists of optimizing the use of national resources and making the economic machine work for citizens.

Myanmar’s Myitsone Dam Dilemma

By Tom Fawthrop

China’s increasing pressure over the suspended Myitsone dam in ethnic Kachin state has highlighted Myanmar’s dilemma in choosing between environmental protection and safeguarding the great Irrawaddy River, and its political and economic dependence on Beijing.

The $3.6 billion dam, ranked as one of the biggest hydropower projects in the region, was suspended by former President Thein Sein in 2011, causing shock and consternation to Beijing’s State Power Investment Corporation (SPIC), the main investor in the controversial dam.

It is a relatively rare event for a massive Chinese overseas dam project to be blocked by a popular protest. The world’s number one dam builder, China, by one count, has a portfolio of 334 hydropower projects in 74 countries, and only a few have been suspended or cancelled as a result of public opposition. In Myanmar, the protests united all ethnic groups living along the river and nationwide.

A South Asian Threat in America

by Sam Westrop

Few Americans have heard of Jamaat-e-Islami. But in South Asia, it is notorious. In 1971, Jamaati paramilitary groups slaughtered tens of thousands of Bangladeshis during its War of Liberation from Pakistan. Its terrorist ties today extend from Asia to America.

A new resolution introduced in the House by Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) demands an end to U.S. government funding for Jamaat's U.S. proxies and calls for a criminal investigation into links between a prominent American Jamaati charity and one of Pakistan's most prominent terrorist movements.

Founded in British India in 1941 by the prominent Islamist theorist Abul Ala Maududi, Jamaat is active across the Indian subcontinent and has been closely involved with terror.

In 2014, Jane's Terrorism and Insurgency Centre from IHS Markit named Jamaat's student wing in Bangladesh, Islami Chhatra Shibir, the third-most violent non-state armed group in the world. In 2017, the U.S. government designated the head of a Jamaat affiliate in Pakistan and Kashmir a "global terrorist." And over the past few months, Jamaat gained international attention after its supporters rallied for the killing of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman accused of blasphemy.

China Couldn’t Dominate Asia if It Wanted to

BY PARAG KHANNA

It is now widely accepted that China aspires to displace the United States as the world’s sole superpower by 2049, the 100th anniversary of its modern founding. Amid a trade war and military escalations, an atmosphere many describe as “Cold War 2.0” has set in. But whatever happens between the United States and China, the outcome will not be a unipolar world, neither under American or Chinese tutelage.

The United States neither wants nor can afford to re-extend itself globally—nor do most countries want a return to American hegemony. The same applies to China. In fact, far from displacing the United States globally, it is not even likely that China will unilaterally dominate its own region of Asia.

To understand why, we need to quickly examine a pair of interrelated theoretical and historical falsehoods. A highly selective reading of the past two centuries leads many analysts to view geopolitics as a contest between the two most powerful states in the system at any given time. It is as if the planet is a frictionless table on which the United States and China alone are playing a game of Risk. But the global system as a whole bears no little resemblance to the narrow European historical template on which this power transition theory is based. Europe is composed of societies that share a small region and have common culture and religion, with each fearing conquest by a neighbor.

China wants to replace US in Pacific

BY SETH CROPSEY

China, especially under President Xi Jinping, seeks a return to what it regards as its rightful position, replacing the U.S. as the world’s dominant economic and military power. Previous U.S. administrations have slouched in the direction of understanding the strategic competition that grows from this ambition but did little. The current U.S. administration gets it, as evidenced by the National Defense Strategy’s identification of China as a major peer competitor.

Another proof is the Department of Defense (DOD) report, “Assessment on U.S. Defense Implications of China’s Expanding Global Access.” It examines how China is modernizing its military by reverse engineering, cyber-espionage and joint ventures that blackmail foreign companies into handing over critical military-use technology. Noted are China’s $1.024 trillion global investments and its $735 billion investment in global construction contracts from 2006 to 2017.

Examining Crime and Terrorism Along China’s Belt and Road

By Philip Dubow

The possible geopolitical motives of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the commercial viability of the projects that comprise it, and whether Xi’s multitrillion-dollar global development campaign is being implemented sustainably continue to be hotly debated. In contrast, the topics of crime and terrorism remain largely unmentioned.

Incidentally, the BRI proponents I have spoken to outright dismiss the premise and possibility that the BRI is (or could be) inadvertently facilitating illegal activity. If these individuals were to just casually glance at a mapof BRI transportation projects alongside a map of black market networks, then they would see that key paths of the initiative correspond to and elongate transnational trafficking routes.

How Chinese mobile phones took over the Indian market


Prasid Banerjee

Four years ago, Micromax’s office in Gurugram was at par with the likes of Google. The multi-storeyed building had open spaces, rooms aplenty, and even balconies and terraces where parties could be thrown.

Today, the company operates out of a single floor in a common office complex in Gurugram. The once-swanky office now has only a few cabins, far fewer employees, and is quite cramped. Incidentally, in 2014, Counterpoint Research put Micromax at the helm of the booming Indian smartphone market. It even surpassed Samsung, and shipped more phones than any other brand in India. In fact, home-grown smartphone brands such as Micromax, Lava, and Intex once cornered nearly 54% of the market share. The same brands have a less than 10% market share today. What really happened?

A look back at the last few years shows home-grown smartphone brands losing their dominance to a gradual Chinese onslaught. Today, the top player in India is Xiaomi, accounting for 29.7% of all smartphone shipments (IDC data). The company—which introduced itself with competitively priced devices—has slowly built its base in the country over the past five years, and is now reaping the benefits.

In fact, according to data from IDC, four of the top five smartphone brands in India are from China—Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo and Transsion hold the 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th positions, respectively. Samsung, which ousted Nokia from the Indian market, remains at number two, but is feeling the heat as well.

The West Isn’t Ready for the Coming Wave of Chinese Misinformation: Report

BY PATRICK TUCKER
Source Link

The report, unveiled on Wednesday by cyber security research firm Recorded Future, compares Russian and Chinese disinformation operations.

Up to 18 percent of social media posts in China are government propaganda aimed at its own citizens. And there are a lot of people working that job. How many? First, recall that the Internet Research Agency, the Russian troll farm that attempted to sway U.S. voters before and after the 2016 election, employed at most 600 people. Estimates of the size of the Chinese operation vary, according to research from different academic institutions cited by the Recorded Future report. One study put the estimate at above half a million people.

But this saturation attack on its own people isn’t necessarily how Beijing tries to influence the West. Priscilla Moriuchi, a researcher at Recorded Future, said the Chinese government’s near-total control over ita Internet space enables “techniques that are relatively unique to their own domestic information environment. They don’t use those techniques when targeting Americans in English on U.S. platforms. The goals they have for targeting Americans are different.”

Don’t Call It an ‘Arms Race’: US-China AI Competition Is Not Winner-Takes-All

BY JUSTIN SHERMAN
Source Link

The United States and China are undoubtedly in an era of great-power competition; both countries, among other actions, are consolidating national resources and investing in science, technology, and industrial productivity to boost state power. Many cutting-edge technologies are involved in this international rivalry, including 5G telecommunications, quantum computing, and artificial intelligence. Yet with respect to AI, the dialogue around U.S.-China competition has been rather consistently framed as an “arms race.” Michael Kratsios, President Trump’s deputy assistant for technology policy, even used this framing in a recent op-ed about the administration’s executive order on AI development.

The problem is: this winner-takes-all “arms race” framing is wrong—and it’s dangerous for American policymaking. To better design policies that bolster American AI development and confront China’s technological rise, policymakers must reframe their approach to this technological competition.

China’s tech giants have conquered the East, now for the West

Hasan Chowdhury 

At a global summit on artificial intelligence in Washington last November, Eric Schmidt, former executive chairman of Alphabet, the parent company of Google, delivered a stark warning on China’s technological prowess.

“By 2020, they will have caught up. By 2025, they will be better than us. By 2030, they will dominate the industries of AI,” he said.

But Schmidt’s keynote speech at the Centre for a New American Security only addressed part of the story of China’s emergence as a technology powerhouse – and the growing threat its big companies pose to the hegemony of Silicon Valley.

Over the past year, the best-known US technology giants – Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google – the so-called FAANGs – have experienced a rollercoaster ride.

How Chinese mobile phones took over the Indian market


Four years ago, Micromax’s office in Gurugram was at par with the likes of Google. The multi-storeyed building had open spaces, rooms aplenty, and even balconies and terraces where parties could be thrown.

Today, the company operates out of a single floor in a common office complex in Gurugram. The once-swanky office now has only a few cabins, far fewer employees, and is quite cramped. Incidentally, in 2014, Counterpoint Research put Micromax at the helm of the booming Indian smartphone market. It even surpassed Samsung, and shipped more phones than any other brand in India. In fact, home-grown smartphone brands such as Micromax, Lava, and Intex once cornered nearly 54% of the market share. The same brands have a less than 10% market share today. What really happened?

A look back at the last few years shows home-grown smartphone brands losing their dominance to a gradual Chinese onslaught. Today, the top player in India is Xiaomi, accounting for 29.7% of all smartphone shipments (IDC data). The company—which introduced itself with competitively priced devices—has slowly built its base in the country over the past five years, and is now reaping the benefits.

War by Proxy: Iran’s Growing Footprint in the Middle East


There is growing Iranian activism in the Middle East despite U.S. and allied efforts to weaken Iran’s economy and politically isolate Tehran. There has been an increase in the size and capabilities of militias supported by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps-Quds Force in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen collectively. Iran is also working to establish a land bridge across the region. Nevertheless, Iran has weaknesses and vulnerabilities that can be exploited by the United States and its partners.

Tehran wields influence in the Middle East through its use of non-state partners, despite renewed U.S. sanctions against Iran and a U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal. Iran’s economic woes have not contributed to declining activism in the region—at least not yet. If anything, Iranian leaders appear just as committed as ever to engagement across the Middle East using irregular methods. According to data collected and analyzed in this brief, there has been an increase in the overall size and capability of foreign forces that are partnered with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps-Quds Force (IRGC-QF), Iran’s paramilitary organization responsible for foreign operations. The IRGC-QF’s partners are in countries like Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, and Afghanistan. Iran is also attempting to establish land corridors across the region and increase its ability to move fighters and material from one theater to another.

Cuba’s Shifting Geopolitics

Allison Fedirka

The United States’ animosity toward Cuba seems a matter of course. So, it came as no surprise when Congress passed legislation this week that allows U.S. companies to sue Cuban entities. Over the past 125 years, however, the U.S. and Cuba have shifted from close allies to sworn enemies. Washington has provided military support to independence movements and invested in Cuba’s development. It has also backed dictators, blocked missiles, executed covert operations and imposed sanctions on the island. As global power dynamics have shifted, so too have Cuba’s importance and its relationship with Washington – illustrating that while a country’s geography is constant, its role in the geopolitical system evolves over time.

Cuba Then