Tuesday, January 14, 2020
The challenges facing the region involve domestic politics, bilateral ties and multilateral dynamics
- India will refuse to reconsider its decision to reject RCEP, despite efforts by the pact’s participants to convince it otherwise.
- Ambitious renewable energy targets among South-east-Asian governments will spur renewable energy projects in the region.
- Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad will likely delay handing over power to a coalition partner beyond 2020.
The Kashmir situation is central to the risk landscape in South Asia. If insurgency in Indian-administered Kashmir intensifies, Pakistan’s military may find it hard to resist involvement through militant proxies (although Islamabad’s need to disclaim ties to militancy, to avert FATF ‘blacklisting’, would be a restraining factor). In the ensuing cross-border strife, each side would test the other’s limits.
Key opportunities across South and South-east Asia relate to trade deals. The ASEAN states and five partners will finalise RCEP, paving the way for lower tariffs between them. Meanwhile, India appears close to an agreement with the United States to put aside recent tariff spats.
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