19 February 2016

Each week on the Policy File we round up some essential weekend policy reading from around the web. This week we look at Make in India, the rising tensions in the South China Sea, and grand plans for gardens, bridges and beaches.

Tensions in the South China Sea are rising again after it was revealed that China has deployed missile launchers on the disputed Woody Island. On The Diplomat Shannon Tiezzi takes a look at the latest development in this water-based game of chess.

On Policy Forum Sylvia Mishra takes a look at India’s growing regional ambition and asks if there might be a role for the country in the South China Sea issue, while Xiaodon Liang writes that arguments about ‘freedom of navigation’ are failing to win the war of words in the region.

Another long-standing issue for China is Taiwan, where pro-independence candidate Tsai Ing-wen last month swept to victory in the country’s elections. Amrita Jash takes a look at what the change could mean for future relations between the two countries, while Mark Harrison gives a fascinating insight into how new media has boosted Taiwanese independence and spurred on the Sunflower Movement.

Lawrence Chung on the South China Morning Post writes that Beijing may bypass Taipei in wooing the Taiwanese people following the election, while Nick Frisch in The New York Times reports on how China lost Taiwan. Ankit Panda, meanwhile, takes a look at the lessons for Beijing and Washington out of the election result.

In New Zealand an extraordinary crowdfunding campaign to buy a beach and keep it in public hands has successfully raised its target of NZ$2 million. Kerre McIvor on the New Zealand Herald looks at the incredible public response to the campaign. Other campaigns about public space have met with more lukewarm support though: Rowan Moore on The Guardian takes a look at London’s grand ‘Garden Bridge’ idea and the anger stirred up by the proposal, while Rachel Holdsworth at the Londonist says it’s time to shelve the plan.

This week has been Make in India week – a business expo promoting manufacturing in the country. On the Financial Express they wrap up the 10 key points from the event’s keynote speeches. Natalie Obiko Pearson on Bloomberg Business says that the US$89 billion in investment pledges announced at the event mask the challenges to come for the country. Asit K Biswas and Kris Hartley write for Make in India to succeed there must be an evidence-based policy environment that places society’s welfare alongside industrial expansion. Meanwhile, Kakali Mukhopadhyay takes a look at the potential and price of India’s increasing bilateral ties with Japan.

Also this week was the US-ASEAN summit where the South China Sea tensions were again in the spotlight. Xinhua writes that the discussions are more symbolic than substantial, while Caitlin McCaffrie on New Mandala writes that the summit sends a bad signal for rights across the region.

Finally, last week saw the release of the 2015 Australian Aid Stakeholder Survey which this time around found a perceived decline in the effectiveness of Australian aid over the last two years. On Devpolicy Blog, Terence Wood, Camilla Burkot and Stephen Howes takes an in-depth look at the numbers and trends from the report.

Don’t forget, you can debate key public policy issues by joining the Asia and the Pacific Policy Society’s LinkedIn group – a closed group exclusive to Society Members.  Be part of the conversation – we’ll see you there.

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Pearce, M. (2016). The Policy File - Policy Forum. [online] Policy Forum. Available at: http://www.policyforum.net/the-policy-file-19-feb-2016/