Indian paramilitary soldiers march during the Republic Day parade in New Delhi, India, Jan. 26, 2015 (AP photo by Manish Swarup).

When Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP decisively won last year’s elections, many were worried about the potential for interreligious tensions. But so far, Modi has allayed those concerns while bringing a new dynamism to India’s foreign policy, as the articles in this report make clear. The Modi Era Takes Shape Marked by Strong Opposition, India’s Election Brings No Guarantee of ChangeBy Prashanth ParameswaranApril 17, 2014 Maoist Insurgency Still Simmers in Modi’s IndiaInterview with P.V. RamanaAug. 20, 2014 Modi’s BJP Seeks Inroads in Kashmir ElectionsInterview with Sten WidmalmDec. 18, 2014 After U.S.-China Climate Deal, India Feels the Heat […]

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reaches out to shake hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a welcome ceremony for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders Meeting, Beijing, Nov 11, 2014 (AP photo by Ng Han Guan).

Japan and China took another step toward thawing relations over access and territorial rights in the East China Sea with the resumption earlier this month of high-level maritime talks in Tokyo. The Jan. 12 meeting focused on creating a crisis-management mechanism that would mitigate any potential flashpoint surrounding the disputed Senkaku Islands, claimed by China as the Diaoyu. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to work toward establishing such a maritime crisis hotline after their brief meeting on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit meetings held in Beijing last November. That summit […]

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Casa Rosada presidential palace in Buenos Aires, Argentina, July 18, 2014 (AP photo by Victor R. Caivano).

Earlier this month, Argentina received $400 million from the People’s Bank of China as the fourth installment of an $11 billion currency swap agreement with China. In an email interview, Eduardo Daniel Oviedo, professor of political science and international relations at the National University of Rosario in Argentina, discussed Argentina’s relations with China. WPR: What are the main areas of cooperation between China and Argentina, and what are the areas of contention? Eduardo Daniel Oviedo: Politics, trade, investment and migration are the main areas of cooperation between China and Argentina. Mutual support on the issues of the Falkland Islands—known in […]

U.S. President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have tea in the garden at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, Jan 25, 2015 (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza).

Several weeks ago, in assessing what steps U.S. President Barack Obama might take to secure his administration’s foreign policy legacy, I raised the question of whether a “reset” of U.S.-India relations might help. Obama’s just-concluded trip to New Delhi and his meetings with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have provided us with an answer in the affirmative. Modi’s gesture of greeting Obama effusively at the airport upon his arrival, which was a break with traditional protocol, and his invitation for Obama to attend and review the annual Republic Day parade, which was a first for an American leader, clearly indicated […]

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Barack Obama watch the Republic Day parade in New Delhi, India, Jan. 26, 2015 (AP photo by Stephen Crowley).

In contrast to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s five-day visit to the United States in September, which appeared to be something of an anticlimax for yielding few concrete results, U.S. President Barack Obama’s quick trip to India this week has seen progress in many important areas. In retrospect, it appears that Modi’s visit helped create a warm bond between the two leaders, evident when Modi broke protocol to personally greet Obama at the airport upon his arrival. The two leaders’ personal rapport has clearly facilitated dialogue to overcome past grievances in the bilateral relationship. From being primarily a short-term transactional […]

Nepalese opposition lawmakers shout slogans as they walk out of the Constituent Assembly in Kathmandu, Nepal, Jan. 25, 2015 (AP photo by Niranjan Shrestha).

KATHMANDU, Nepal—As the brawl that broke out in Nepal’s Constituent Assembly last week highlighted, the country’s transition from war to peace, and from monarchy to republic, is at a critical juncture. More than eight years after the end of Nepal’s decade-long civil war, a second Constituent Assembly has failed to promulgate a new constitution within its self-imposed Jan. 22 deadline. As the ruling coalition and Maoist-led opposition struggle to find a way out of the deadlock, instability has sharpened and is likely to continue. In the past month, strikes and protests have crippled main roads and other transportation arteries throughout […]

Russian police officers check the identity papers of migrant workers arriving at Red Square ahead of New Year’s Eve festivities, Moscow, Russia, Dec. 31, 2013 (AP photo by Ivan Sekretarev).

Earlier today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov acknowledged that Russia is bracing for a rough year. “We will survive any hardship in the country—eat less food, use less electricity,” Shuvalov said. Russia, whose economy has been pummeled by falling global energy prices and Western sanctions in response to the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine, has seen a steep drop in the value of the ruble since last month. But Russia is not the only country affected by the ruble’s collapse. Russia under President Vladimir Putin has been one of the world’s […]

Kohat Tunnel, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, March 3, 2014 (photo by Flickr user junaidrao licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license).

Pakistani Finance Minister Mohammad Ishaq Dar was in Japan last week for talks with his Japanese counterpart, Taro Aso, on trade and economic cooperation. In an email interview, Ahmad Rashid Malik, a senior research fellow at the Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad, discussed Pakistan-Japan relations. WPR: What are the main areas of cooperation between Japan and Pakistan? Ahmad Rashid Malik: Economic and security issues have been the main areas of cooperation between Pakistan and Japan over the years, including promoting trade and attracting investment. Pakistan has long sought Japanese loans, technical cooperation and the transfer of commercial technology. Japan […]

U.S. President Barack Obama talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the U.S. Ambassador’s residence in The Hague, the Netherlands, March 25, 2014 (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza).

U.S. President Barack Obama will most likely devote less attention to foreign policy issues in tonight’s State of the Union speech than to his domestic priorities, including continuing the U.S. economic recovery while reducing income and wealth inequalities and addressing the special concerns of African-Americans and other U.S. minorities. What time the president does allocate to foreign policy issues will as usual probably focus on the Middle East, although Russia, climate change and the resumption of diplomatic relations with Cuba will also likely be highlighted. Although these are undeniably important issues, hopefully Obama appreciates that his ability to leave behind […]

Leaders from Israel, Mali, France, Germany, the EU and Palestine march during a rally in Paris, France, Jan. 11, 2015 (AP photo by Philippe Wojazer).

The failure of U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration to send a high-level representative to the Paris unity march, convened in the wake of the terrorist attack on the editorial offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, is being described by some as the first foreign policy gaffe of 2015. Given the Obama team’s laser-like focus on domestic issues in the run-up to the State of the Union address, however, it is not surprising. Moreover, given that one of the administration’s goals seems to be to halt further deterioration in the critical U.S.-India relationship, it is very understandable why the president […]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe at the prime minister’s office in Tokyo, Japan, May 12, 2014 (AP photo by Toru Hanai).

Earlier this month, Israel approved a plan to strengthen trade ties and boost security cooperation with Japan. In an email interview, Ben-Ami Shillony, a professor emeritus in East Asian studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, discussed Israel-Japan relations. WPR: How extensive are Israel-Japan relations, and what are the main areas of cooperation? Ben-Ami Shillony: Israel and Japan are two highly industrialized democracies, complementing each other in many ways. Despite its small territory and population, Israel is today one of the leading high-tech and startup nations in the world. Japan, the third-largest economy in the world but grappling with an […]

Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People, Beijng, China, Jan. 7, 2015 (Ecuadorean Foreign Ministry photo by Luis Astudillo).

Earlier this month Venezuela and Ecuador received major boosts from China, which has redoubled its stake in the two Latin American economies most vulnerable to plunging oil prices. Following recent visits to China by financial chiefs from both countries, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and his Ecuadorian counterpart, Rafael Correa, each traveled to Beijing in early January, where China held its first annual ministerial meeting with the Community of Latin America and Caribbean States (CELAC). Correa returned from the visit with approximately $5.3 billion in new financing from the Export-Import Bank of China; Maduro announced that Venezuela would receive an additional […]

Pakistani army soldiers check vehicles near the Army Public School which was targeted by Taliban militants last year, Peshawar, Pakistan, Jan. 12, 2015 (AP photo by B.K. Bangash).

On Dec. 16, militants from Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) infiltrated Peshawar Cantonment, a high-security zone under military administration housing key government offices, and attacked the Army Public School, killing 145 people—132 of them children. The massacre was a stark reminder of Pakistan’s crisis of urban violence, weaknesses in its intelligence apparatus and the need to strengthen its counterterrorism capabilities. The attack prompted the government to swiftly adopt new measures to improve counterinsurgency and counterterror efforts. Nevertheless, significant changes in strategic thinking and internal reforms will be needed for this incident to become a watershed moment for Pakistan’s security policies. Pakistan’s major […]

North Korea’s ceremonial leader Kim Yong Nam is escorted into Uganda’s parliament by Ugandan Foreign Affairs Minister Asuman Kiyingi, Kampala, Uganda, Oct. 30, 2014 (AP photo).

Uganda and North Korea agreed to strengthen bilateral ties during a visit from Kim Yong Nam, chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Peoples’ Assembly of North Korea, in late October last year. In an email interview, Andrea Berger, a research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, discussed North Korea’s ties with Uganda. WPR: How extensive are North Korea’s ties with Uganda, and how has the relationship changed since Kim Jong Un came to power? Andrea Berger: North Korea and Uganda have had positive bilateral relations since the mid-Cold War. At the time, the North Korean foreign policy apparatus […]

Omani Foreign Minister Yosuf Bin Alawi Bin Abdullah calling on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, New Delhi, India, June 3, 2014 (photo from the website of the Prime Minister of India).

When Oman’s foreign minister made two visits to India last year, once before Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new government was sworn in and once right after, it became the first Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member to commence high-level engagement with the new Indian government. The visits were also a signal that Oman continues to be India’s closest strategic partner in West Asia. As a country that not only hosts some 700,000 Indian expatriates, but also key Indian listening facilities, Oman is assuming ever-greater importance for New Dehli as an outpost to project Indian influence—especially with the rise of the […]

U.S. President Barack Obama talks on the phone with Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi during a foreign leader call in the Oval Office, Jan. 5, 2015 (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza).

U.S. President Barack Obama has returned from his holiday vacation in Hawaii to start a “barnstorming” tour across the United States to make the case for his domestic policy agenda in the run-up to the State of the Union address on Jan. 20. Faced with a new Republican-controlled Congress that will not be particularly hospitable to his proposals, Obama is likely to emphasize his core domestic priorities. When he does return to foreign policy matters after the address, Obama, like other “fourth quarter” presidents before him, will likely begin to sort the issues facing him in his last two years […]

Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in Astana, Kazakhstan, May 29, 2014 (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Mikhail Klimentyev).

On Jan. 1, 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s flagship geopolitical project, the Eurasian Union, formally came into existence. Building on the existing Customs Union between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, the Eurasian Union’s official goals are to enhance its members’ economic prosperity and political influence by promoting the free flow of capital, goods, labor and services, and by coordinating their agricultural, energy, industrial and transportation sectors. Back in the fall of 2011, when still prime minister, Putin made establishing a Eurasian Union among the former Soviet republics a major theme of his successful presidential campaign. He argued that by coordinating their […]

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