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Asia Unbound

CFR experts give their take on the cutting-edge issues emerging in Asia today.

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Flying Objects, Different Zeitgeists

by Alyssa Ayres
India launches a satellite carrying the Mars orbiter on November 5, 2013. India launches a satellite carrying the Mars orbiter on November 5, 2013. (Babu Babu/Courtesy Reuters)

Since November began, I’ve been struck by the great gulf in the zeitgeist between India and Pakistan. I don’t mean the gulf in how each perceives the other, though, or any preoccupation of Indo-Pakistan relations—I mean the vast difference in current events in each and the public debate surrounding them. Read more »

Prosperity and Politics

by Alyssa Ayres
Primary school students march by the bank of the river Buriganga during an event in support of education, organised by Campaign for Popular Education Bangladesh, in Dhaka April 23, 2007 Primary school students march by the bank of the river Buriganga during an event in support of education, organised by Campaign for Popular Education Bangladesh, in Dhaka April 23, 2007 (Rafiqur Rahman/Courtesy Reuters).

Two seemingly unrelated items caught my eye this week: one, the release of the new Legatum Prosperity Index, and the other, the release in Bangladesh of a transcript detailing an important and much-anticipated phone conversation between the prime minister and the leader of the opposition. Read more »

Introductory Post

by Alyssa Ayres
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (L) speaks with Gujarat's chief minister and Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi, the prime ministerial candidate for India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) during the inauguration ceremony of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel national museum in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad October 29, 2013 (Amit Dave/Courtesy Reuters). Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh (L) speaks with Gujarat's chief minister and Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi, the prime ministerial candidate for India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) October 29, 2013 (Amit Dave/Courtesy Reuters).

Hello Asia Unbound readers! As CFR’s newest senior fellow, and the newest contributor to the blog, I look forward to adding a little more content on South Asia to the group effort. At CFR, I am covering the broader South Asian region, with a strong focus on India. I’ve spent my entire professional life working on South Asia, and there is never any shortage of new and interesting issues to explore. Read more »

Friday Asia Update: Top Five Stories for the Week of October 18, 2013

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy
Women in kimonos stand at the Yasukuni Shrine during the Annual Autumn Festival in Tokyo on October 18, 2013. (Toru Hanai/Courtesy Reuters Women in kimonos stand at the Yasukuni Shrine during the Annual Autumn Festival in Tokyo on October 18, 2013. (Toru Hanai/Courtesy Reuters

Will Piekos and Sharone Tobias look at the top five stories in Asia this week.

1. India, China near border deal. Diplomats from Beijing and New Delhi are finalizing a border defense cooperation pact in advance of Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to China next week. The two sides agreed to notify the other of any planned patrols, to not tail each other’s patrols, and to establish a hotline between top ranking military officers. The pact follows a period of heightened tensions in the wake of a three-week border incursion in May by Chinese forces into disputed territory. Read more »

What China Needs to Learn From India

by Elizabeth C. Economy
Labourers are silhouetted against the setting sun as they work at the construction site of a residential building in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad on October 5, 2012. (Krishnendu Halder/Courtesy Reuters) Labourers are silhouetted against the setting sun as they work at the construction site of a residential building in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad on October 5, 2012. (Krishnendu Halder/Courtesy Reuters)

In discussions and writings about the Asia Pacific, India often seems to get short shrift—despite its size, record-breaking economic growth, and growing regional and global influence. Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to pose some questions to the renowned economist—as well as Columbia University professor and my CFR colleague—Jagdish Baghwati about his terrific new book with Arvind Panagariya on India, Why Growth Matters: How Economic Growth in India Reduced Poverty and the Lessons for Other Developing Countries. Read more »

Friday Asia Update: Top Five Stories for the Week of May 24, 2013

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (L) shakes hands with India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh ahead of their meeting at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on May 20, 2013. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (L) shakes hands with India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh ahead of their meeting at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on May 20, 2013. (Adnan Adibi/Courtesy Reuters)

Sharone Tobias and Will Piekos look at the top five stories in Asia this week.

1. Li wraps up first foreign trip to India and Pakistan. Li Keqiang finished his first foreign trip as Chinese premier, where he visited India and Pakistan. The trip came only weeks after tensions had mounted between China and India over a Chinese military incursion into an Indian-controlled disputed border region in the Himalayas. Li was eager to focus on economic talks, but the governments continue to be wary of each other. Read more »

Friday Asia Update: Top Five Stories for the Week of May 3, 2013

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy
A traditional Chinese tourist junk sails past Rubber Duck by Dutch conceptual artist Florentijn Hofman at Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour on May 2, 2013. (Bobby Yip/Courtesy Reuters) A traditional Chinese tourist junk sails past Rubber Duck by Dutch conceptual artist Florentijn Hofman at Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour on May 2, 2013. (Bobby Yip/Courtesy Reuters)

Sharone Tobias and Will Piekos look at the top five stories in Asia this week.

1. Shanghai diners fed rat, mink, and fox instead of lamb. Despite many jokes that restaurants in China replace expensive cuts of meat with cat and dog, it turns out that fox, mink, rat, and other small creatures are the counterfeiters’ animals of choice. A recent raid in Shanghai alone netted ten tons of counterfeit meats and sixty-three suspects, who are accused of earning about $1.6 million in illicit sales of fake mutton. The raid was part of a crackdown by the Ministry of Public Security that started in January, and the police have since arrested 904 suspects and raided 1,721 butcheries and workshops across the country. “In fake lamb, it is easy to pull apart the fat from the red meat. In real lamb, the fat is difficult to separate,” explained a police tweet on Weibo that was forwarded more than 10,000 times. Read more »

Friday Asia Update: Top Five Stories for the Week of April 26, 2013

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy
A woman sits with her head down next to a damaged house after Saturday's earthquake hit Lushan county, Ya'an, Sichuan province, on April 22, 2013. A woman sits with her head down next to a damaged house after Saturday's earthquake hit Lushan county, Ya'an, Sichuan province, on April 22, 2013. (Darley Shen/Courtesy Reuters)

Sharone Tobias and Will Piekos look at the top five stories in Asia this week.

1. Earthquake kills scores, injures thousands in China. A massive earthquake in Ya’an, Sichuan, on Saturday left at least 193 dead, 25 missing, and 12,300 injured. Beijing poured one billion RMB into earthquake relief, but hundreds of victims still protested, claiming they had no shelter or food. Though devastating, the earthquake pales in comparison to the 2008 Sichuan earthquake that killed 70,000. Read more »

Domestic Health Challenges and Global Health Governance: The Cases of China and India

by Yanzhong Huang
China's President Hu Jintao shakes hands with Indian's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. China's President Hu Jintao shakes hands with Indian's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (B Mathur/Courtesy Reuters).

It’s been a busy week for global health. With the Indian Supreme Court’s landmark decision to dismiss Novartis AG’s attempt to patent its cancer drug Glivec, the doors for low-cost generic drugs will remain open. At the same time in China, as it’s been covered by me and my colleague Laurie Garrett,  the rise  of  a deadly new bird flu strain has already infected nine people, three of whom have died, in Southeast China. Both developments have tremendous implications for global governance for health. Read more »

Will Piekos: China’s Port in Gwadar—Another Pearl Encircling India?

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy
A view of Pakistan's deep-sea port of Gwadar on the Arabian sea in the southwestern province of Baluchistan on February 6, 2007. A view of Pakistan's deep-sea port of Gwadar on the Arabian sea in the southwestern province of Baluchistan on February 6, 2007. (Qadir Baloch/Courtesy Reuters)

Will Piekos is a Research Associate for Asia Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

There is a lot of speculation as to China’s intentions surrounding the acquisition of Pakistan’s Gwadar port by China Overseas Port Holdings. China bought the rights to develop Gwadar from the Port of Singapore Authority, and the purchase ostensibly will give China access to a deep sea port on the western side of India. Read more »