During their first in-person summit, leaders from the four Quad countries—Australia, Japan, India, and the United States—announced a new infrastructure coordination group that will resonate in the Indo-Pacific and beyond.
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As the U.S. and its allies strengthen their Development Finance Institutions (DFIs), they must strike a balance between fostering their domestic competitiveness, advancing geopolitical goals, and promoting growth in developing countries.
This paper discusses the geopolitical dynamics of the Indo-Pacific, including the impacts of Covid-19, and emerging foreign policy initiatives, and offers recommendations for how Japan can solidify a comprehensive leadership role in this critical, multipolar region.
While most heads were turned to the East-West transport arteries spearheaded by China’s Belt and Road investments, activity along the lesser known North-South corridors has been slowly gaining momentum. Like their East-West cousins, the North-South routes consist of a bundle of land and sea multimodal corridors and connect South Asia to Northern Europe via the Persian Gulf and the Caspian region. Unlike the China-sponsored Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects, however, the development of the North-South corridors follows a more multilateral and multi-stakeholder approach.
The International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC), examined in the first part of this series, has developed slowly but steadily during its twenty years of existence. Although mired by political and financial difficulties, including new sanctions on Iran (and Russia) placed by the Trump administration, the corridor will retain its potential for the actors involved. Today, the INSTC is complemented by two other initiatives: the Chabahar International Transport and Transit Corridor; and the proposed Russia-Pakistan (Ru-Pak) Corridor. The two projects are discussed below, followed by a brief evaluation of the potential impact of the full roll-out of these emerging North-South trade routes.