Chinese Workforce Discovers Africa

By Mark Kapchanga* | IDN-InDepth NewsReport

NAIROBI (IDN) – Africa is turning out to be a new home for Chinese people. Four years after he entered Kenya, a Mr Liu says he may not head back to his rural home in East China’s Fujian Province anytime soon.

Having taken part in the construction of the just completed Thika Superhighway, the father of three says he plans to open up a retail business or get another job in the country.

This worker represents the latest wave of Chinese migrants to Africa. To date, there have been more than 810,000. Lucrative earnings, coupled with enormous businesses opportunities, have motivated the majority to remain behind, despite their work permits expiring.

Some have also been drawn in by Africa’s vast arable land, which they intend to turn into a gold mine.

Li Ruogu, chairman and president of the Export-Import Bank of China, once suggested that there was no harm in allowing Chinese farmers to leave the country to become farmers in Africa. He argued that the institution would support a migration that was investment-oriented.

The Taliban Discover Thailand

By Murray Hunter | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

ARAU, Perlis (IDN | – A frequent traveller to Thailand who goes around the country today, couldn’t help but notice a rapid rise in the prominence of Muslims in the country, stretching from Chiang Rai in the north – right down to the south. Many of Thailand’s 6-7 million Muslims are totally integrated into Thai culture and society, a country that takes great pride in its cultural homogeneity.

India Still at the Centre of the Indian Ocean

By Nilanthi Samaranayake* | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint

ALEXANDRIA, VA (IDN) – Is India’s influence declining in the ocean named after the country? That seems to be the conclusion of some analysts after Maldives’ cancellation of an airport development contract with an Indian company in November 2012.

These concerns are elevated by China’s increased engagement with smaller states in the Indian Ocean, including Maldives. Given the legacy of the 1962 war between China and India and ongoing competition for influence, New Delhi is right to have suspicions about Beijing’s intentions in its neighbourhood and whether smaller Indian Ocean countries are playing the two sides off each other.

The Unnoticed India-Sri Lanka Fishing War

By Kalinga Seneviratne | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

SINGAPORE (IDN) – A recent skirmish has highlighted a widely unnoticed fishing war that has been going on for two years in the Palk Straits, a stretch of sea about 30 km long, that separates India’s Tamil Nadu state from Sri Lanka’s northern province that was plagued by a civil war for over 30 years. The southern state of Tamil Nadu is often at daggers drawn with the central government in New Delhi.

Sanctions Do Not Lead To Nuke Abolition in Asia

By Kalinga Seneviratne | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

SINGAPORE (IDN) – North Korea’s response to the United Nations Security Council’s expanded sanctions on January 22 by threatening to resume nuclear tests and failure last November of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to persuade the five recalcitrant nuclear powers to sign the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone Treaty (SEANWFZ) have focused attention on the atomic threat facing the Asian region that is fast emerging as the centre of the global economy.

China To Survey Disputed Marine Territories

By Bijoy Das*
IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

NEW DELHI (IDN) – After establishing Sansha, passing a new maritime regulation from Hainan, and, printing maps on passports, the Chinese authorities have now unveiled a plan to survey all marine and island territories for marine resources.

Although the report indicates that the survey will be carried out throughout the country, it also specifically mentions Sansha (i.e. South China Sea) and baseline points (which would include all disputed marine territories). The terse report, when translated, reads as follows:

“The 2nd Chinese Comprehensive Survey of Marine and Island Resources will be started sometime in the first half of this year. The survey is expected to be completed by December 2016. By this survey, the Chinese hope to fill earlier gaps regarding the distribution, quality and quantity of resources in important marine and island territories like Sansha and other baseline points.”

Challenges Ahead For Indian Space Programme

By Radhakrishna Rao*
IDN-InDepth NewsReport

NEW DELHI (IDN | IDSA) – By all means, 2012 can be considered a watershed year for the Indian space programme. The programme had begun modestly in November 1963 with the launch of a 9-kg sounding rocket from a modest facility in the fishing hamlet of Thumba on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram. 2012 saw the 100th space mission of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

On September 9, 2012, the four stage workhorse PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) orbited the 720-kg French remote sensing satellite Spot-6 along with the 15-kg Japanese Proiteres probe as a piggy back payload on commercial terms, and in the process helped ISRO complete the saga of a “space century”. The significance of the mission lay in the fact that the PSLV, considered a highly reliable space vehicle, launched the heaviest ever satellite of an international customer on commercial terms.

The Rape and Hypocrisy of Indian Politicians

By Suresh Jaura*
IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

NEW DELHI (IDN) – Over the years, there have been cases of step-fathers / uncles / grandfathers, coming from different classes and religions in different countries, raping or molesting the ones who trust them the most. The cases are hidden to protect so-called ‘family honour’. The recent gang-rape of a 23-year student in a moving bus in Delhi has outraged the public who have protested against the inaction of the authorities including the police and transport licensing body.

Lessons From 1962 Sino-Indian War

By S.G.Vombatkere*
IDN-InDepth NewsAnalyis

NEW DELHI (IDN) – Institutions and nations rarely if ever learn from successes, but it is possible and necessary to learn from institutional or national failure. This is particularly true of military operations. On October 20, it was 50 years since India and China went to war, there is vigorous public debate regarding India’s humiliating defeat. It is vital that the “how” and “why” of the failure are brought to light so that India, as a mature democracy, can learn from them. The “who” issue is unimportant since all the principal political, bureaucratic and military actors of the debacle are dead.

Negotiate with North Korea Sans Illusions

By Daniel Pinkston*
IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis | Crisis Group’s Blog

SEOUL (IDN) – North Korea has beaten its South Korean rival in the race to place a satellite into earth orbit, becoming the 10th nation to do so. Despite this impressive scientific and engineering achievement, the launch (on December 12) violates UN Security Council resolutions that prohibit all North Korean launches using ballistic technologies. Pyongyang argues that as a signatory to the Outer Space Treaty it has the sovereign right to launch satellites because Article 1 stipulates that “outer space…shall be free for exploration and use by all states without discrimination of any kind…”

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