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SnapshotsSep 22, 2020 | 22:24 GMT
Reading the Fine Print of Angola’s Debt Restructuring
The International Monetary Fund (IMF)'s recently announced $1 billion disbursement to Angola is based partly on China indicating a willingness to defer 2020 debts. But Beijing's creditor role may be complicated by possible efforts to take an equity stake in some of the Southern African country's oil fields. And while the funds will help fill some of Angola's financing gaps, there is clearly a market view that the country may require more comprehensive debt restructuring, even if it doesn't happen until 2021 or later. 
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AssessmentsNov 22, 2019 | 09:00 GMT
Workers at the Chinese-majority owned Colombo International Container Terminal (CICT) in Colombo load a cargo ship in this photograph from June 24, 2016.
A Familiar Name Takes Charge in Sri Lanka
A familiar name is taking the helm in Sri Lanka. Gotabaya Rajapaksa surged to victory in Nov. 16 elections in part because he succeeded in channeling his credentials as a minister who helped end Sri Lanka's long-running civil war to win the confidence of an electorate demanding security after an Islamic State-inspired group killed 290 people in terrorist attacks in April. Economic grievances, however, were as much a factor in the minds of voters as national security. And as Sri Lanka's $89 billion economy lumbers through its latest downturn, the new president's administration will focus on reviving growth, raising the country's income status and creating jobs, all while ensuring the growing debt burden remains manageable. As a developing country in a strategically significant location, Sri Lanka's needs for capital will create more opportunities for China and India to lavish funding on the island nation. Whatever the case, Gotabaya Rajapaksa will
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GuidanceOct 11, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
Indian students form the Chinese character for the name of Chinese President Xi Jinping, in Chennai on Oct. 10, 2019, ahead of a summit between Xi and his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi.
For China-India Ties, the Status Quo Will Do
For two of Asia's most enduring military rivals, the search for harmony is taking center stage in a relationship rooted in decades of mistrust. Chinese President Xi Jinping was set to arrive in India on Oct. 11 for an informal summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Mamallapuram. Xi hosted Modi last year after bilateral ties deteriorated during the 2017 Doklam standoff, in which thousands of Indian and Chinese troops nearly came to blows. For Xi, a preoccupation with U.S. President Donald Trump's trade war as part of Beijing's broader strategic competition with Washington explains why he wants calm with neighbors like New Delhi. And for Modi, a desire to avoid confrontation with China -- the superior military and economic power -- explains why he wishes to sustain high-level dialogue with Xi. Ultimately, however, any dialogue will strive purely to manage tensions, which will only grow in the long run
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AssessmentsSep 4, 2019 | 09:00 GMT
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih shake hands before a meeting on Dec. 17, 2018, in New Delhi.
Wary of China, Modi Courts India's Neighbors
Since winning a landslide reelection in May, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has taken major strides toward advancing his country's grand strategy. Most prominently, Modi revoked Jammu and Kashmir's autonomous status on Aug. 5 to strengthen the country's territorial unity, much to the consternation of archrival Pakistan. And against the backdrop of that momentous decision, Modi's government is pursuing another element of its grand strategy as well: preserving its sphere of influence. With that in mind, New Delhi has recently beaten a path to the door of the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh. But with China more than prepared to open the checkbook to dazzle the region with infrastructure projects as part of the Belt and Road Initiative, India knows it can ill-afford to neglect its backyard, meaning Modi's "Neighborhood First" policy will be front and center as he begins his second term in office.
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AssessmentsApr 26, 2019 | 05:45 GMT
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks during the opening session of the Belt and Road Forum on Legal Cooperation at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on July 2, 2018.
China Changes Gears on the Belt and Road Initiative
Nearly six years since its inception, the Belt and Road Initiative, China's sprawling infrastructure program that spans Eurasia and the maritime sphere, has generated both enthusiasm and alarm in equal measure. The initiative's focus on infrastructure development, as well as Chinese financing options that are more enticing than those of many international institutions, has provided many cash-strapped countries with the only effective means to improve their infrastructure. From landlocked Ethiopia and Laos, to the ports of Piraeus in Greece and Doraleh in Djibouti, China has constructed and financed railways, ports and other facilities, brightening the prospects of the local economy. These undertakings are just a few of the multitude of projects in the BRI, which China is bankrolling with $70 billion in investments and $400 billion in loans. On the flip side of the coin, however, the BRI has triggered local pushback, resulting in setbacks for some projects and resistance
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AssessmentsApr 19, 2019 | 11:37 GMT
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) walks with Bhutanese Prime Minister Lotay Tshering during a ceremonial reception at the Presidential Palace in New Delhi on Dec. 28, 2018.
Why the Belt and Road Fuels India's Fears of Encirclement
India might be a large trading partner in its own right, but the designs of the even-larger power on its doorstep are fueling its fears of encirclement. The Belt and Road Initiative, the cornerstone of Chinese President Xi Jinping's foreign policy to blaze a trail of trade across Asia and Europe, includes five of India's neighbors: Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Nepal. But worried that the initiative will grant Beijing undue political influence in neighboring capitals -- and that new ports and highways could one day aid China in a military conflict -- New Delhi is searching for ways to remain a step ahead of China's activities in South Asia. For one, India has sought to promote its influence by dangling the prospect of greater investment. In so doing, India has scored a few important victories, but its quest for unrivaled dominance in the subcontinent is ultimately a
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AssessmentsNov 9, 2018 | 09:00 GMT
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, left, shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sept. 4, 2016, in Hangzhou, China.
India Guards Against China's Encroaching Shadow
India is the dominant country in South Asia, accounting for the majority of the region's landmass (68 percent), population (75 percent) and economic output (79 percent). These disparities have informed India's status as South Asia's reigning hegemon in the decades since it gained independence from the British Empire in 1947. Today, however, India's dominance is being challenged by China. Beijing's economic expansion into South Asia under its vast Belt and Road Initiative is meeting the infrastructure demands of India's neighboring countries and providing them with access to deep pools of capital in a way that New Delhi cannot match. For emerging markets such as Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Chinese-funded projects are too enticing to pass up, even if they come with steep price tags that add to the debt burdens of these developing countries. Still, the infrastructure race isn't India's only challenge: China is boosting its military responsiveness
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AssessmentsOct 30, 2018 | 06:30 GMT
Sri Lanka's newly appointed prime minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa, waves to supporters after a ceremony to assume duties in Colombo on Oct.
Sri Lanka: A Prime Minister's Dismissal Throws Colombo Into Chaos
A dramatic shakeup in the highest ranks of Sri Lanka's leadership has thrown the South Asian country into turmoil as a former strongman returns to power. On Oct. 26, President Maithripala Sirisena dismissed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and installed Mahinda Rajapaksa, a former rival and president, in his place. And to forestall some of the political fallout from the decision, Sirisena suspended parliament until Nov. 16 as part of a purported move to amass the support of at least 113 lawmakers to survive a likely vote of confidence. Wickremesinghe, who refused to vacate the prime minister's residence, has called for an immediate parliamentary vote to prove his majority. Sirisena, meanwhile, addressed the nation on Oct. 28, justifying Wickremesinghe's dismissal by portraying him as selfish, impatient and corrupt. The president, who was allegedly the subject of a recent assassination plot, also upped the ante by accusing one of the erstwhile prime minister's
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SnapshotsSep 24, 2018 | 22:23 GMT
Maldives: Surprise Election Result Could Upset Regional Balances
Ibrahim Mohamed Solih pulled off a general election stunner in the Maldives, handily unseating incumbent President Yameen Abdul Gayoom in balloting held Sept. 23. Solih's victory, however, didn't just deny Yameen another five-year term, but it also has the potential to shift the power balance between India and China amid their intensifying rivalry in the Indian Ocean. In the end, Solih overcame alleged vote-rigging and other concerns over the election's transparency to win the contest, which attracted nearly 90 percent of the country's 262,000 eligible voters, by a reported 16 points.
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SnapshotsAug 14, 2018 | 20:49 GMT
Pakistan: What Does a Loan From China Mean for the Already Indebted Country?
China has reportedly agreed to give Islamabad a loan to shore up Pakistan's plummeting foreign exchange reserves as its import bill grows. Although the two countries have yet to sign a deal, the prospective loan -- reportedly on the order of at least $10 billion -- would enable Pakistani Prime Minister-elect Imran Khan's incoming administration to avoid turning to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for help, as Pakistan has done 12 times in its history. The IMF attaches conditions to its loans, and austerity measures such as spending cuts, tax hikes and structural reforms would undermine Khan's ability to fund his populist vision for Pakistan: to turn the country into a social welfare state aimed at improving the lives of the poor.
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Contributor PerspectivesJul 11, 2018 | 10:00 GMT
A container ship pulls into Djibouti's Doraleh Port in 2015.
How Development Finance Is Changing Geopolitics
Development finance has undergone a shift. Though traditional aid flows once dominated the sector, foreign direct investment (FDI) is now by far the leading source of development finance in most of the world's emerging states. At the same time, competition for influence in these countries is heating up, led by China's massive investments in infrastructure projects in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. The race in development finance is already altering the balance of global geopolitics and will have major economic, military and political repercussions.
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AssessmentsJun 22, 2018 | 09:00 GMT
China's ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, formally announced in 2013, has revived the country's ancient concept of the Silk Road.
China's Belt and Road Initiative, Five Years In
Since it began in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative has become the centerpiece of China's domestic and foreign policy, jump-starting diplomatic, financial and commercial cooperation between China and more than 70 neighboring countries across the Eurasian landmass. When it's complete, the massive infrastructure project will increase China's overland and maritime connectivity to other regions, extending its trade, and technological capabilities to new markets. The initiative also gives China the opportunity to offload excessive industrial capacities, facilitating the necessary domestic industrial reforms it needs in order to establish a more stable economy. In the past five years, China has spent at least $34 billion on the Belt and Road Initiative, focusing primarily on connectivity projects such as railways, ports, energy pipelines and grids. And though China has made major progress toward its long-term goals, it has also encountered several delays and setbacks.
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AssessmentsApr 24, 2018 | 09:00 GMT
A Buddhist temple sits near a hydroelectric grid main in southeastern Bhutan in 2013.
Wary of China, India Shares Its Largesse With Neighbors
Big changes in the neighborhood are giving the government in New Delhi more than a few sleepless nights. Buoyed by an $11 trillion economy and plans to connect Eurasia with its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, China is showing up in areas that India has traditionally viewed as its backyard. Around South Asia and the Indian Ocean, New Delhi has long understood the imperative of preventing another neighbor from allying with a rival military power (as Pakistan has done with China), as well as the need to earn the support of regional governments to help resolve bilateral irritants and expand trade to bolster the country's $2 trillion economy.
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AssessmentsApr 16, 2018 | 09:00 GMT
An Indian man works at a construction site for the Asian Highway project, which connects Nepal, India and Bangladesh.
For India, Another Day, Another Geopolitical Snag
India's quest to create a sphere of influence in South Asia keeps running into snags. This time the complication is in Nepal. Khadga Prasad Oli returned as prime minister at the head of a communist alliance after the country's election in December 2017. Oli had positioned himself as a nationalist channeling anti-Indian sentiment and vowing to explore a closer relationship with Nepal's giant northern neighbor, China. Once in office, however, he tempered his stance. He honored tradition by choosing India as the destination for his first international visit on April 6 -- a sign of his government's pragmatic desire to maintain cordial relations with Nepal's giant southern neighbor. Nonetheless, Oli's election represents a setback for India's strategy in Nepal, and it will force New Delhi to change its approach, since China and its Belt and Road Initiative offer tempting alternatives.
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