- Year of publication: 2007
- Source: Show
- Pages: 3-6
- DOI Address: -
INDIA AS THE RISING ECONOMIC SUPERPOWER
Since 1991 the world’s interest in South Asia has been rising. Simultaneously, India’s ambitions and commitment to international affairs influenced both its foreign and economic policy.
In the mid- 21st century India will become the most populous nation in the world. Owing to the profound changes in India’s economy, which began in the early nineties, India has been enjoying sixteen years of accelerated economic growth. This involves changes of the society and growing domestic demand. Increased openness of Indian economy attracts more foreign investment to the country and India’s share in global trade has been rising steadily over the last decade.
Contrary to a common belief that specific Indian political culture may hamper growth, the author maintains that India’s democratic political system is likely to start working towards its benefit over the next decades enhancing the country’s competitiveness in the global markets. In the late nineties India was called the world’s call-center. Now it is becoming the world’s greatest supplier of most modern IT solutions.
On the down side, there are other factors such as widespread poverty, dramatic social and economic inequalities, bureaucratism and rife corruption that, if not managed properly, could jeopardize growth in the coming years. The article stresses the need of second-generation reforms.
POLISH RELATIONS WITH INDIA FROM THE 16TH TO THE 20TH CENTURY – A HISTORICAL OVERVIEW
The study presents an overview of the history of the Polish relations with India before the official diplomatic relations have been established (1954). It covers the period from 15th century to the year 1945.
Polish contacts with India can be divided into two categories – direct and indirect. The latter prevailed in the more distant past. Later on individual Polish travelers, soldiers and missionaries travelled to India and acquired knowledge on this country and its heritage. In the more recent times regular studies of Indian matters evolved. During the World War II there happened new significant events in direct Polish-Indian co-operation. The study is based on both English and Polish works, in particular on studies published in “Rocznik Orientalistyczny” and “Przegląd Orientalistyczny”, published by Oriental Institute of Warsaw University.r
RELATIONS BETWEEN INDIA AND EU AT THE THRESHOLD OF THE 21ST CENTURY
This article discusses the circumstances of established closer UE relations with India and their development until the end of 2006.
The authoress focuses her attention on trade relations – which are most signifi cant to both sides. Other important issues are also presented, such as: cooperation within the World Trade Organization, Free Trade Agreement between India and EU, reform of the United Nations Security Council, EU’s dilemmas in relation to India’s nuclear status, and India’s politics towards EU and USA.
In the last part the authoress analyses the current state of bilateral relations. The strategic partnership of the two giants is also indicated.
INDONESIAN ISLAM, MAINSTREAM MUSLIMS AND POLITICS
Indonesian Islam is rather moderate and accommodative, and can be called “Islam with a smiling face”. In general, Islam is compatible with modernity, democracy, and pluralism, and it is true in Indonesia as well. The general elections of 1999 and 2004 prove that Moslems do not have any problem with democracy.
Indonesia is the third largest democracy in the world and the world’s largest Muslim country, but neither is Indonesia an Islamic state, nor is Islam its official state religion. It is the Pancasila (Five Pillars) state that recognizes importance of religion and accepts belief in One Supreme God as the first pillar. It is neither theocratic nor secular state. For mainstream Muslims the Pancasila state is Islamic enough, although there are groups who want to transform Indonesia into an Islamic state either through constitutional change or by illegal means.
Women play much more important role there than in the countries adherent to the Arabised version of Islam. It is a traditional distinctive feature confirmed by the election of Megawati Soekarnoputri to the presidency. The bulk majority of Indonesian Muslims and their parties supported her. The activity of Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah, and many other mainstream Muslim organisations is another distinctive feature of Indonesian Islam. They are non-political, and operate not only as religious organisations, but also as social, cultural, and educational. They own thousands of schools from elementary to university levels. As civil organisations they play an important role as mediating and bridging forces between society and the state.
CHINA AS A SUPERPOWER: A REVIEW OF ATTRIBUTES
The paper outlines the main attributes of a “great power” and poses the question: in which respects contemporary China already acquired such a status. The study analyses her way to the global power, as well as her increasing infl uence in the region.
China’s rise, especially during the last decades, makes difficult predictions of the future developments of the world affairs. We should take the “Chinese factor” into account, but its increasing significance cannot be precisely evaluated. Hence the author analyses various dimensions of China’s power and their significance for China’s international position. He starts with the demographic potential, and analyses advantages and disadvantages of so numerous population, the ethnic composition and the significance of other “Chinese centres” beyond the PRC’s borders, the prospects of the unification of Taiwan, the centripetal and centrifugal forces, education and the productive potential of the Chinese labour forces, etc. The second factor indicated by him is the geopolitical position, which also includes mineral resources, the routes of transportation, etc. The economic potential constitutes the third factor. The author presents well-known Chinese achievements and shortages. He analyses in detail the military potential as the forth factor, and the political potential, that includes position in the international organisations, as the fith.
However, a closer examination of each of these aspects demonstrates not only the advantages but also substantial weaknesses and deficiencies, which may jeopardise China’s future development.
The author points out that contradicting predictions concerning China’s future that circulate in the world depend to large extent on a political orientation, whereas objective, strictly scientific studies should be promoted. China’s rising is often presented as a threat to the world, but it could also be peaceful and beneficial to the world, both to the developed and developing countries.
HONG KONG’S BUMPY ROAD TO INTEGRATION WITH THE MOTHERLAND
In 1997 Hong Kong returned to China after 156 years of the British colonial rule as a Special Administrative Region of the PRC. In the past the city has been served China as a bridge between the centrally commanded economy of the Mainland, which suffered various restrictions in its foreign trade and free market economies of the West. To preserve existing position of Hong Kong and the Westernised style of life of its inhabitants a special formula of „one country – two systems” was set up and its principles were included into the “Sino-British Joint Declaration on the Question of Hong Kong” of December 1984 and into the “Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region” of 1990. Implementation of these documents is crucial to both parties. In practice, these agreements are implemented most vigorously by Hong Kong big business community which have profited very much from a large scope cooperation with the Mainland.
The territory of Hong Kong has a particular international status with many prerogatives similar to these of a state, to name only its right to negotiate and conclude international treaties as „Hong Kong, China”.
During last 10 years of Hong Kong under motherland’s jurisdiction Beijing did its utmost to respect a „high degree” of HK autonomy as required by these agreements. However, from time to time the Central Government had to remind some Hong Kong local politicians, who demanded more freedom or democracy for the territory, that Hong Kong is only an administrative part of China. As PRC leaders insist, this enclave has almost unlimited economic liberty, but still has to wait for more democratic solutions as a universal suffrage, for instance. In general, however, the integration of Hong Kong with the motherland progressed rather smoothly during the last ten years.
OKINAWA – THE GEOGRAPHICAL AND POLITICAL PERIPHERIES OF JAPANn
For years, the Japanese government propagated the image of Japan as a culturally and ethnically homogenous entity. The official stance has changed, but the vision of “exceptional Japan” is still powerful and it is shared by numerous Japanese, even though there are minority groups of the Korean and the Chinese descent. They have been brought in to forced labor during the World War II. There are also the indigenous people of the Japanese archipelago: the Ainu, presently living on the northern island of Hokkaidō, or the burakumin – the former outcasts, and at the south the inhabitants of the Ryūkyū archipelago within boundaries of the present day prefecture of Okinawa.
The study analyses this prefecture, although it offers a wide range of issues relevant also to other minority groups elsewhere in Japan. The “Okinawa problem ” (Okinawa mondai) is the euphemism by which the Japanese offi cials conceal the political and economic discrimination that the prefecture has suffered in the result of its historic, cultural, geographic, political and social differences.
The authoress discusses the geo-cultural characteristics of Okinawa, its historical background since the time of Ryūkyū Kingdom, the problem of the American military bases covering approximately 20% of the most populous main island. The American presence constitutes the key to the “Okinawa problem” because of the prefecture’s economic diffi culties arising thereof. She also points out the implications of this particular situation to local politics.
The study rejects the often-cited opinion that the essential problems of the prefecture cannot be solved due to its peripheral location. The authoress points out that a change for the better is conceivable, but might be expected only in case of transfer of power from the long-ruling, conservative and pro-American Liberal Democratic Party to a more open-minded political groupings.
CRISIS OF CONSOCIATIONAL DEMOCRACY. THE CASE OF FIJI
The paper draws attention to the phenomenon of consociationalism and to political accommodation in divided societies. The concept of “consociationalism” has been developed by Lijphart as a theory of political stability in plural societies. In his opinion democracy and social peace can be secured in deeply divided societies when their elite engage in accommodative actions and prevent centrifugal competition of the main groups. The socio-political feature of consociational democracy is a plural society, characterised by distinct and recognisable social segments; corresponding divisions between social, economic and political organisations and stability in the electoral support for “segmental parties”.
As the proto-typical West European consociational democracies could serve the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland and Austria. After World War II the consociational model has also started to shape the political systems in several new-born multinational, multiracial or multireligious states of Asia and Africa.
One of the countries, which tried to solve the internal confl icts through building the multinational political coalition based on the premises of consociationalism was Fiji. The organization of the Alliance Party strictly followed the set-up of the electoral system, which combined communal roles of the ethnic Fijians, the Indo-Fijians, and the “General Electors” with national constituencies that promoted voting across the ethnic boundaries. The system thus created, however, was far from stability. The coup of 1987 and the marginalization of the Fijian Alliance put an end to the peaceful co-existence of the ethnic Fijians and the Indo-Fijians. The paper outlines the historical sources of ethnic confl icts there and the mechanism of the collapse of the consociational political system on Fiji.
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