China reconnecting Afghanistan? Anyone attempting to “rebuild” Afghanistan will have their work cut out but the success of China’s Silk Road initiative needs progress here, writes Pepe Escobar. Since 2002, Washington has spent a mind-boggling US$780 billion on its still incomplete Operation Enduring Freedom but Chinese government researchers have now quietly started a discussion in Kabul billed as “Afghanistan Reconnected”.
Suu Kyi’s challenge: During Myanmar’s political upheavals in the late 1980s, then pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi famously said any future government she led would not have an “easy time” after decades of military misrule. Bertil Lintner writes that nearly three decades later, and after a year in office where the list of national woes grows, the question remains: How much power does Suu Kyi have to counter the military and impose a more democratic order?
China’s submarine buildup: The increasing size of the People’s Liberation Army Navy fleet of surface vessels captures most international attention, based on the sheer numbers and advanced weapons on an array of new warships. But, writes Bill Gertz, Chinese development of modern and increasingly quiet submarines poses one of the more serious strategic challenges for the United States and, indeed, any other nation concerned about Beijing’s growing hegemony in Asia.
Dalit for president? After India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s named lower-caste Ram Nath Kovind as its presidential nominee, expectations are that Congress will follow by fielding Meira Kumar, the daughter of Dalit leader Jagjivan Ram. E Jaya Kumar asks if these two – that represent India’s underprivileged Dalit community – do fight for the presidential election on July 17, is it a political sea-change or a public relations exercise?
Biggest financial database? The People’s Bank of China has a financial and credit database on 926 million people and 23.71 million enterprises, reports Asia Times. The database was set up to prevent cross-market credit risks and promote financial integrity.