It would certainly seem so. After years, nay decades, of refusal to talk to the Taliban, India sent its representatives to Moscow on November 9, 2018 to finally sit at the same table as the representatives of the militant organization at the “Moscow format.”
There are two major international peace efforts that are currently underway to restore peace and stability in Afghanistan: the recently galvanized American push for peace led by Zalmay Khalilzad and the year-old Moscow-led consultations.
Making the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) more than a buzzword, on 15 November 2018, leaders of Australia, India, Japan and the United States met on the sidelines of the 13th East Asian Summit in Singapore.
Washington DC based analysts sharply criticized the policy and actions of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration regarding China’s actions in the South China Sea, reflecting the US government concern that under Duterte it is “losing” the Philippines.
In October 2018, the MoU on the feasibility study of the Muse-Mandalay railway, a part of the USD 20 billion Sino-Myanmar railway, was signed. This led to the speculation that the canceled Sino-Myanmar railway might be resumed.
The US and China are increasingly confronting each other militarily in the South China Sea. The US is deploying new undersea drones in multiple sizes and diverse payloads. China’s use of drones in the East China Sea has already raised political hackles.
The Trump administration’s concept of the “Indo-Pacific” should be placed in the context of the main strategic aims of his administration: to preserve the world primacy of the US and to prevent a strong China from displacing the US in Asia.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said: “Lagging behind on the military front is lethal to the security of the country. I have read a lot on China’s modern history, and it gives me great pain whenever I come across a time when we dropped back (in military building) and fell victim to invasions”.
A robust, binding code of conduct for the South China Sea has become a “holy grail” for analysts and decision makers alike. Many have tried to find it and failed. The Blueprint for a South China Sea Code of Conduct is likely to fail to gain wide acceptance too.