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Literature Review - December 2020: Cold War 2.0? Essential Readings on the New Systemic Conflict

What are the prospects of U.S.-China relations and transatlantic cooperation after the presidential election in America? Not surprisingly, the December edition of our monthly literature review on systemic conflict is dominated by articles analyzing the outcome and impact of the U.S. presidential election. Another focus of this review is the debate on Europe’s sovereignty and strategic autonomy. In addition, it features articles on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and technological competition with China as well as on China’s rise ambitions and weaknesses. As usual, I have tried to map the ongoing debate and point out contributions I consider essential readings. Please feel invited to comment and complement my selection. I look forward to your feedback.

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Dialogue: Indo-German 1.5 Track Dialogue

Government representatives and think tankers from India and Germany met online for the second Indo-German Track 1.5 Dialogue. Discussions focused on the challenges and potential for cooperation in foreign and security policy as well as trade and economics.

AdobeStock_332969670_KONZERN_Rido_Motiv-7_V1_ST-DA.jpg(© © Rido -

Literature Review - November 2020: Cold War 2.0? Essential Readings on the New Systemic Conflict

Democratic states are increasingly challenged by assertive authoritarian powers. China, in particular, has become an economically successful, technologically advanced autocracy and an ambitious global geopolitical actor who promotes its model as an alternative to liberal democracies and their values. At Bertelsmann Stiftung, we think (and worry) a lot about this new systemic conflict and its consequences for Germany and Europe and so do many of our peers in politics, think-tanks, academia or media. In this monthly compilation, Peter Walkenhorst maps the ongoing debate and points to important contributions we consider essential readings. Please feel invited to comment and complement our selection.

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Study: European AI with Indian Data: The illusion of low-hanging fruits

Europe is keen to unleash the potential of closer ties with India. Many hope that cooperation in the field of Artificial Inteligence (AI) and data driven businesses could lead the way. But a new study cautions about unrealistic expectations: If you’re looking for quick wins, look elsewhere.

AdobeStock_332969670_KONZERN_Rido_Motiv-7_V1_ST-DA.jpg(© © Rido -

Literature Review - October 2020: Cold War 2.0? Essential Readings on the New Systemic Conflict

Democratic states are increasingly challenged by assertive authoritarian powers. China has become an economically successful, technologically advanced autocracy and an ambitious global geopolitical actor who promotes its model as an alternative to liberal democracies and their values. Other authoritarian governments like Russia or Turkey pursue similar narratives. At Bertelsmann Stiftung, we think (and worry) a lot about this new systemic conflict and its consequences for Germany and Europe and so do many of our peers in politics, think-tanks, academia or media. In this compilation, Peter Walkenhorst maps the ongoing debate and points to important contributions we consider essential readings. Please feel invited to comment and complement our selection.

AdobeStock_182232288_KONZERN_be_ST-DA.jpeg(© © Montage: blackzheep -; Matthias Enter /

Study: Exploring a “Green List” for EU-China Economic Relations

A new study assesses which areas of the EU’s economic engagement with China are safe from being drawn into discussions about sensitive sectors, critical infrastructure or national security.

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Asia Policy Brief: China’s footprint in Central Asia

European thought traditionally imagines Central Asia as a remote and disconnected “hinterland”. It is no less of a cliché, but it would be more useful to think of the region as a Eurasian core. “Great game” metaphors neglect Central Asian agency, but the geographical centrality of the region and competition between great powers do imbue Central Asia with greater relevance. The EU has designated China as an “economic competitor” and a “systemic rival” (as well as a partner). If the new “geopolitical Commission” truly wants to mitigate Beijing’s influence, Central Asia, where actors welcome balancing forces, is a good place to exercise its nascent geopolitical muscle.

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Asia Policy Brief: The Struggle for Democracy in Asia – Regression, Resilience, Revival

Aurel Croissant

Worldwide, democracy is under pressure. The slow but steady erosion of democracy in many places in the last decade seems to be accelerating since the outbreak of the Corona pandemic. As political leaders seize powers to fight the virus, worries grow if they will give up accrued powers readily once the crisis eventually subsides. In addition, the uneven performance of many democracies in fighting the pandemic rekindles questions about the superiority of political systems and if authoritarian governments do a better job in handling this or other mega challenges than democratic governments. The Asia-Pacific region is of crucial importance for the future of democracy and its global contestation with autocracy in the twenty-first century. The region is not immune to the impositions of authoritarian populism and other illiberal threats to democracy. Yet, it provides both major examples of democratic regression and failure as well as inspiring stories of democratic resilience and revival.

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BOOK PUBLICATION: Social Cohesion in Asia. Historical Origins, Contemporary Shapes and Future Dynamics

Social cohesion in Asia has a Janus-faced quality. Depending on the political and social framework, it can have both positive and negative effects, a new study shows.

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COMMENTARY: India's fragile cohesion

In India the conflict between Hindus and Muslims escalates. It threatens the cohesion of Indian society - and the trust of foreign countries. A policy of accommodation between religious groups has served the country well for decades.

AdobeStock_176045307_KONZERN_ST-DA_bearb_N1a.jpg(© Bertelsmann Stiftung)

Survey: Conflict between the US and China: Europeans want a stronger Europe

The tensions between the US and China are a source of great concern to people living in the EU. At the same time, the uncertain global situation is increasing their desire for a more sovereign Europe. The world’s two superpowers are viewed differently by Europeans: While the latter continue to feel a bond with the US, they see China largely as a competitor. One area where the EU’s citizens are particularly critical of the People’s Republic is data protection.

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High Level Round Table: Inclusive Innovation and Social Cohesion: Challenges and Solutions in Asia and Europe

Technological innovations and other transformation processes are changing our societies at an unprecedented pace. What effects does this have on social cohesion and how can it be strengthened? At the invitation of the Bertelsmann Stiftung, experts from Asia and Europe discussed these questions in Singapore.

IMG_20190510_134246(© Jacob Mardell)

Asia Policy Brief: China's Economic Footprint in the Western Balkans

Geopolitics has returned to vogue, and the EU does not enjoy a monopoly on influence in the Western Balkans. China is the latest player on the scene, and although its economic footprint is still relatively small, Beijing’s growing presence is a new reality that Brussels needs to contend with. China’s “no-strings attached” financing of infrastructure potentially undermines the EU’s reform-orientated approach.

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Book Publication: On dealing with minorities in India

India is one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse countries in the world. Its experience in dealing with various minorities offers important insights for other countries as well, as a new study shows.

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Study: India leads in inclusive innovation in Asia

How can innovation promote globally inclusive well-being? The "Inclusive Innovation Atlas" analyzes which Asian countries offer the best conditions for progress and sustainable development – an innovation-driven economy that simultaneously benefits all population segments. India is one of the leaders among the 21 countries surveyed.

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Study: Beyond Investment Screening

A new study explores how Europe could expand its toolbox to address economic risks from Chinese state capitalism.

AdobeStock_243955159_KONZERN_ST-DA.jpeg(© © Maksim Ksenofontov -

Study: The West has long had its own "Silk Road"

China is propagating its "Belt & Road Initiative" as a development initiative for the Eurasian continent, thereby pursuing geopolitical ambitions. Yet Europe need not feel small in light of China’s efforts. As a comparison of Western and Chinese financial flows reveals: The West is investing just as much in countries of the so-called "Silk Road" and is the better partner for many countries.

Gideon_Rachman_ST-DA.jpg(© © Alistair Hall/Weltkiosk)

Asia Briefing: Easternisation – Is Asia’s Rise the West’s Decline?

The Bertelsmann Stiftung invites you to a public lecture by the Asia expert and bestselling author, Gideon Rachman, as part of the "Asia-Pacific Week Berlin 2019": On Tuesday, May 14, 2019
from 18:00 – 20:00 followed by a reception at the Bertelsmann Premises Unter den Linden 1
10117 Berlin

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Asia Policy Brief: Outpaced by the chain - How Blockchain is being promoted in East Asia

Blockchain is one key technology that will dominate the economy in the near future. China, Japan and South Korea protect their blockchain innovations with patents. By the time German players wake up, the field will have been staked out. Applications can be bought, but others will have the control and the earnings. The private sector and government in Germany should drop their skeptical attitude, invest in research and test practical applications, argues Finn Mayer-Kuckuk.

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Asia Policy Brieff: When promises become due - an analysis of the Modi government’s term in the world’s largest democracy

We promise according to our hopes, and perform according to our fears,” wrote the noted 17th-century French author, François VI de la Rochefoucauld. When the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which promised inclusive growth, came to power through a landslide election victory in 2014, few believed that the government would transform India and make its “Good Days for Everyone” campaign slogan a reality within its five-year term. India is too big and complex a country and changes happen in decades rather than in election cycles. Indians are used to seeing initiatives remain slogans and become repackaged for the next election. Hence, announcements by the new government of initiatives like Skill India, Startup India and Swacch Bharath (Clean India) did not raise unreasonable expectations, at least among seasoned India watchers.

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Publication: The Indian Social Enterprise Landscape – Innovation for an Inclusive Future

With an estimated two million social enterprises, India is one of the most dynamic social entrepreneurship environments globally. Our new study carried out by Intellecap examines the social enterprise landscape and its key stakeholders in India and is aimed to help impact investors fine-tune their sectoral focus and help social entrepreneurs tweak their value propositions.

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Journal Article: Comparing Social Cohesion in Western and Asian Societies

Social cohesion is a topic of increasing importance in a rapidly globalizing world. The coherence of the social fabric has become a key policy goal around the globe – not only in the Western Hemisphere, but also in Asia. A new study based on the findings of the Bertelsmann Stiftung’s “Social Cohesion Radar” compares, for the first time, social cohesion in Western and Asian societies.

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German businesses in China are socially engaged: Award Ceremony "More Than A Market 2018"

The German and Chinese economies are now interconnected in ways that go far beyond production processes, supply chains and sales structures – something demonstrated by the growing number of social projects at this year’s More than a Market Awards. 

Guha_Desk(© Sebastian Pfütze)

Asia Briefing with Ramachandra Guha: India’s Modernization Journey

India is experiencing a massive transformation thanks to its young and aspiring population. Building a tolerant, liberal society in a highly diverse country with numerous ethnic, linguistic and religious groups is not an undertaking that moves in a straight line. There has been progress and regress, argued Indian historian Ramachandra Guha on April 24 at the Asia Briefing in Berlin.

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Asia Policy Brief: Balancing China

The looming superpower rivalry between the US and China has massive implications for Germany and its European partners. While Donald Trump is forcing Europeans to think outside the transatlantic box, it is Xi Jinping who is posing more fundamental challenges. Time to balance China’s influence in a reasonable way may be running out. Three key areas to watch.

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Making Ideas happen. Now. : Startup weekend with Asian students from the region

Almost one in five of the foreign students studying in North Rhine-Westphalia is from Asia. Yet few of them remain in the state after completing their studies. That means as a business location Germany forgoes the considerable potential these future employees and entrepreneurs have to offer.

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Launch of GINSEP in Delhi: New Initiative for a Sustainable German-Indian Startup Partnership

India and Germany are both home to vibrant startup ecosystems and can substantially benefit by cooperating more closely with each other. On February 23, the official launch of the German-Indian Startup Exchange Program (GINSEP) took place in Delhi. The initiative's objective is to promote structured networking between Indian and German startups.

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ASIA POLICY BRIEF: What holds Asian societies together?

Economic development and prosperity strengthen social cohesion in Asia, poverty and discrimination against women weaken it. This is the conclusion of a study commissioned by the Bertelsmann Stiftung, which for the first time examined the cohesion of 22 societies in South, Southeast and East Asia (SSEA). According to the study, cohesion is strongest in Hong Kong and Singapore, followed by Thailand and Bhutan.

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ASIA POLICY BRIEF: The EU-Japan Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) – Responding to the Crisis of the Liberal World Order

The EU and Japan are about to adopt two (potentially) ground-breaking agreements: an EU-Japan free trade agreement and the EU-Japan Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA). The SPA, policymakers in both Brussels and Tokyo cheer, will be the ‘big bang’ of bilateral relations upgrading political and security ties from too passive to very active.

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Book Publication: What Holds Asian Societies Together?

Social cohesion has become a key policy goal around the globe – not only in the Western Hemisphere, but also in Asia. Despite growing interest in the concept among policy makers and researchers, no generally shared understanding of social cohesion exists. Most importantly, empirical data are lacking. For these reasons, we developed the Social Cohesion Radar, whose findings for the societies of South, Southeast, and East Asia have been collected in a new study.

shutterstock_335433308_Premier_Cover_Indien.jpg(© Shutterstock/tonefotografia; Komposition/Illustration: Golden Section Graphics)

Publication: Industry 4.0 - The Future of Indo-German Industrial Collaboration

Industry 4.0 can be described as the fourth industrial revolution, a mega‑Trend that affects every company around the world. A recent Input-Paper published by the Bertelsmann Stiftung and carried out by the Fraunhofer Institute analyses the potentials and challenges for collaboration between India and Germany in this field.

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Study: Indian Investments in Germany

Many previous Indian investments in Germany were driven by a focus on low costs, leading to the acquisition of distressed enterprises. Today, however, most Indian investors have gained experience with expansion abroad, and are increasingly looking for strategical investment targets in Germany's high-tech sectors . This is the result of a new study of the Bertelsmann Stiftung and Ernst & Young, which combines insights from expert interviews with existing economic data. 

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Asia Policy Brief: President Moon Jae-in: The Right Choice for South Korea

The success of the newly elected South Korean President Moon Jae-in will depend on whether he can unite a divided society. He also needs the support of the opposition to implement his ambitious reform agenda.

IMG_8879.jpg(© Wang Xiaoxin)

Award Ceremony: China is more than a market for German companies

China is Germany's most important Asian business partner. Many companies are getting involved and supporting Chinese society. On June 15 in Shanghai they were recognized by us for their exemplary projects.

Asia Briefing- The China Story(© Sebastian Pfütze)

Asia Briefing: The China story – a case of "fake history"?

The Chinese Communist Party is making considerable efforts to rewrite the past and establish its own tale of Chinese history. A powerful narrative, but essentially wrong, historian Frank Dikötter emphasized at our Asia Briefing on May 16 in Berlin.

iStock-599144356_MPL.jpg_ST-DA(© FatCamera/

Study: Indian high-skilled migrants and international students in Germany

Similar to the US and UK, immigration from India plays an important role in Germany. India became the second most important country of origin of international students and the most important country of origin of high-skilled migrants in Germany in 2015. A new study of the Bertelsmann Stiftung conducted by the University of Bielefeld, examines motivations, intentions of stay and development effects of migration from India to Germany for economic and education purposes.

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Asia Policy Brief: Can Modi make the elephant dance?

Narendra Modi's commendable plan to transform India's welfare system and bring in sustainable development through radical market-driven reforms is challenged by infrastructure bottlenecks and the realities of rural India.

shutterstock_335433308_Premier_Cover_Indien.jpg(© Shutterstock/tonefotografia; Komposition/Illustration: Golden Section Graphics)

Study: How real is innovation in India?

Indian innovation and its impact on developed nations is a topic of increasing relevance in today's world. A recent study published by the Bertelsmann Stiftung and carried out by the international consulting firm Roland Berger illustrates the landscape of innovation in India and offers recommendations for establishing meaningful innovation cooperation between Germany and India.

shutterstock_335433308_Premier_Cover_Indien.jpg(© Shutterstock/tonefotografia; Komposition/Illustration: Golden Section Graphics)

Study: Europe's companies consider themselves disadvantaged compared to Asia

"Made in Europe" under pressure: With innovative technologies and business models companies from newly industrialized Asian countries like China or India are challenging their European competitors. Europe's entrepreneurs say that the competition is more and more unbalanced  - and wish for a stronger support by politics.

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Comment: Europe needs China – and vice versa

Beginning December 11, China expects the EU to treat it like a country with market economy status – as laid out in the agreement Beijing signed when it joined the WTO in 2001. This is giving rise to concerns that European companies might no longer be sufficiently protected from inexpensive Chinese exports. The current situation is more than just a maneuvering for economic advantage. It is also a game of power politics.

Gangnam-Blues-Suedkorea-Veranstaltung.jpg(© Thomas Kunsch)

Asia Briefing: Gangnam Blues: South Korea between Boom and Crisis

South Korea is the prime example of an emerging economy, which has managed to become a modern economic hub - initially through manufacturing, later through innovation. Recently, however, the South Korean economy and government have drifted into a crisis, which has become most visible in the problems of the Samsung Group with its latest smartphone model, the Galaxy Note 7 and the massive protests against President Park Geun-hye.

Liz-Mohn_Aroon-Purie.jpg(© India Today)

Conference, New Delhi, 23 September 2016: Social Cohesion in Transformation: The Experience of India and Beyond

India has been undergoing monumental transformations in its economy and society since the economic liberalization and its plunge into a globalized world about 25 years ago. Globalization has caused dramatic prosperity of some and economic marginalization of many others resulting in increasing tensions and conflicts that pose a challenge to social cohesion and political stability.

shutterstock_335433308_Premier_Cover_Indien.jpg(© Shutterstock/tonefotografia; Komposition/Illustration: Golden Section Graphics)

Study: Innovation in India: Germany still slow to take advantage of full potential

Research and development in India is rapidly improving. Yet only a few German businesses are investing millions in innovation centers. Skilled labor from India could help Germany resolve its skilled labor shortage.

shutterstock_410174830_Premier.jpg_ST-DA(© Shutterstock / FreshStock)

Asia Policy Brief : The End of Panda Politics

Germany enjoys a special relationship with China – for now. The more political and economic competition that takes place between them, the more Germany will have to prepare for conflicts. Yet the instruments Germany has at its disposal for achieving its considerable interests have often been weak at best.

3712202588_8066fe5ffa_o.jpg(© yuan 2003 / Flickr - CC BY-NC 2.0,

Scenario study: China at crossroads: What about the Asian country's future?

Taken into account its geopoliticial role, its economic power and the innovation potential China plays the key role in Asia beside India, Japan and South Korea. But the future of the most populous country of the world is uncertain in different ways. In six scenarios we focus on China's potential development in the future and possible consequences for Germany.

BS2_250516_More-than-a-market_Shanghai .jpg(© Yuhao Ding)

Award Ceremony: China has long been more than a market for German companies

China is Germany's most important economic partner in Asia. Exports to the People's Republic account for about 2 percent of Germany's gross domestic product. For many companies, however, China has long been more than just a market. German enterprises are getting involved and supporting Chinese society, and a number of them have now been recognized for their efforts.

Can India innovate its way to the top?  Abhay Pandey(© Christoph Pfütze)

Asia-Pacific Week: German-Indian Startup Dialogue and Asia Briefing

Both the German and Indian start-up scenes have experienced significant changes over the last few years and both countries have emerged as important players in the global innovation landscape. As part of the 11th Asia Pacific Week Berlin 2016, the Bertelsmann Stiftung organized a dialogue between German and Indian members of the respective start up scenes. In the evening, Abhey Pandey gave a public lecture with following discussion on whether India will be able to "innovate its way to the top".

BS2_250516_More-than-a-market_Shanghai .jpg(© Yuhao Ding)

Social Engagement of German companies in China: Videos from our Awards Ceremony in Shanghai

Within the last decades, China has made unprecedented progress in many areas. Hundreds of thousands have been lifted out of poverty and given the chance to play an active role in the country’s progress. However, China still faces enormous challenges. Social exclusion, left-behind and underprivileged children and a huge gap between the level of development in urbanized areas and the countryside are just some of the most pressing concerns the country has to deal with today.

India+Germany(© Sebastian Pfütze)

Conference: India and Germany: A promising partnership?

India and Germany have had a strategic partnership for more than ten years. On the one hand, Germany is an important partner for India, especially for its ambitious economic reform agenda and the expansion of the Indian industry.  On the other hand, German representatives from politics and business regard India as a highly dynamic and growing future market with a population of 1.2 billion people. However, despite regularly held government consultations and efforts to foster economic cooperation, the partnership between India and Germany is still far below its potential.

Grafik_Indiens rechtspopulistische Partei BJP und Shiv Sena in Mumbai_20160511.jpg(© Al Jazeera English / Flickr - CC BY-SA 2.0,

Black Coffee Morning and Workshop: Nationalism in India and Europe

The Bertelsmann Stiftung, together with the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) organized a Black Coffee Morning and a workshop for Indian journalists on April 25, 2016. During the Black Coffee Morning, journalists from India and Germany, as well as think tank researchers, debated the recent rise of nationalism in India and Europe. Where do recent nationalistic forces come from? What drives them? And what role can media play? During the workshop, which took place in the afternoon, journalists from India, together with German think tank experts on India, developed plausible scenarios for India in 2025.

Xi-Jinping_UNO_21766728656_872575a40a_o.jpg(© UN Photo/Cia Pak / Flickr - CC BY-NC-ND 2.0,

Asia Policy Brief: What Economic Slowdown? Asia Looks at China

From the point of view of China's neighbors in Asia, it is inconceivable that even a China severely weakened by economic slowdown, howsoever one might define "weakened" or "slowdown", will cease to be a significant political and military actor in the region.

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Essay by Vasundhara Sirnate: JNU Arrest: Not Just a Crackdown, It's a War on Democracy

The current showdown between Jawaharlal Nehru University, one of the most renowned universities in India, famous for its left-leaning student body, and the Modi government is driven by an anxious government that wants to suppress any counter-opinion and counter-ideology to its narrow definition of nationalism. By drawing parallels to student movements in the past, the author Vasundhara Sirnate argues that students possess great capacity for social mobilisation and progressive thought that often goes against the status quo, and therefore have often achieved their stated aims.

Indien_Pakistan_1933942618_95750a57ca_o_1240x888.jpg(© Michael Foley / Flickr - CC BY-NC-ND 2.0,

Essay by Tridivesh Singh Maini: Why New Delhi and Islamabad Need to Get Stakeholders on Board

Interest in Pakistan cuts across party affiliations in the Indian Punjab. It is much the same story on the other side though the Pakistani Punjab is often hamstrung by political and military considerations. The border States in India and Pakistan have business, cultural and familial ties that must be harnessed by both governments to push the peace process, says Tridivesh Singh Maini.

Asia Brief 30.11.2015(© Sebastian Pfütze)

Asia Briefing: „Modi’s Reform Agenda: A Toothless Tiger? “

A panel discussion on Modi's economic reforms was organised on the 30th November 2015 in cooperation with the journal Internationale Politik in Berlin. The panel of well-known experts from academia, politics and media included Dr Sandra Destradi (senior fellow, German Institute of Global and Area Studies), Mr Michael Steiner (former German ambassador to India) and Mr Raghavan Srinivasan (senior associate editor of The Hindu Businessline).

BStRadar_Titel_1.jpg(© Krankendonk/Shutterstock, Urbanhearts/Fotolia, Frank Waßerführer/PantherMedia, Hisham Ibrahim/Corbis)

Social Cohesion Radar: Measuring Common Ground: Social Cohesion in Asia

Social cohesion has become an important public goal in many countries across the globe, not only in the Western hemisphere, but also in Asia. Despite the growing political and academic interest in the concept, there is as yet no generally accepted definition of social cohesion. As a result, empirical insights are lacking. Against this backdrop, the Bertelsmann Stiftung has initiated the “Social Cohesion Radar” and now plans to extend this project to South, Southeast and East Asia.

Narendra_Modi_22593457919_22ec30bf9a_o.jpg(© Foto: House of Lords 2015 / Photography by Roger Harris / Flickr - CC BY-NC 2.0, ;  parliamentary copyright images are reproduced with the permission of Parliament)

Asia Policy Brief: Modi’s Reform Agenda: Change You Can Believe In?

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi entered office with a historic political mandate. For the first time in thirty years, a single party won a majority of seats in the lower house of Parliament (Lok Sabha). However, Modi faced sky-high expectations to fulfill his campaign promises of getting India's economy back on track. Eighteen months into his government's term and in the wake of electoral defeats in Delhi and Bihar, questions are being raised about its economic performance.

Studie More Than a Market_Skyline Shanghai Pudong_17.jpg(© Jan Siefke)

Soft Power: China’s Cultural Clout

China is not only an economic powerhouse and political world power, it also has considerable soft power - even without a Chinese McDonalds or Coca Cola. Bernhard Bartsch, Senior Expert at the Bertelmann Stiftung, argues that we all have an instinctive understanding of Chinese culture, acquired through watching Kung Fu movies, eating Chinese food, adoring Pandas or following news about Chinese dissidents.

Foto für Pressemeldung vom 19.05.2014: Indien hat gewählt – kehrt der wirtschaftliche Aufschwung zurück? Eine Analyse zum Wahlsieg der Hindunationalisten unter Narendra Modi. Ungewohnt eindeutig endeten die Wahlen in Indien: Die Hindunationalisten ü(© Flickr-Account von Narendra Modi/Wikimedia Commons, © CC BY 2.0 -

Essay by Vidya Subrahmaniam: From Emergency to Now: The Wide Arc of a Hack’s Ideological Journey

Indian political landscape changed post the imposition of Emergency by Indira Gandhi between 1975 and 1977 when she ruled by decree, suspending elections and curbing civil rights. The path taken by a nation built on the ideals of secularism and economic and social equity from authoritarianism towards hindu nationalism is the subject of this essay. The veteran journalist at The Hindu explains how she outgrew her obsessive anti-Congressism, became more empathetic to Dalit and backward caste aspirations, and simultaneously came to view Hindutva as a threat to India's social and emotional well-being.

Studie More Than a Market_Kids at Shanghai Car-fair_15.jpg(© Jan Siefke)

Initiative and Award: China - More than a Market

The German Chamber of Commerce in China, Shanghai, together with the Bertelsmann Stiftung and supported by the German Consulate in Shanghai, have started the initiative "More than a Market". In 2016, the inaugural "More than a Market Awards" will be given out for exemplary social projects of German companies in China.

Asia Briefing mit Ian Buruma(© Sebastian Pfütze)

Asia Briefing: The Long Life of East Asians Ghosts

Ian Buruma on Nationalism and Unsolved Questions of Asia’s Past

4.jpg(© U.S. Department of Defense - CC BY-NC-ND 2.0,

Asia Policy Brief: The Coup One Year on: Thailand's "Ugly German" Constitution

One year after the military seized power once again, Germans still tend to think of Thailand as a tropical dream destination. In reality, it has become a dictatorship. The draft constitution that was written will not bridge the political divide that runs through the country.

Rise of Asia(© Sebastian Pfütze)

Asia Briefing: How Asia’s rise is changing the West and what it means for Germany

The rise of Asia and the ideas that lie behind it are shaping the 21st century. The hegemony of the West seems to be collapsing and with it Western norms and political ideals that many had taken for granted. These developments pose grave challenges, but they also offer opportunities to develop a new and more inclusive vantage point to look at world affairs, as the renowned author Pankaj Mishra pointed out in a public lecture organized by the Bertelsmann Stiftung on 20 May 2015 in Berlin.

13949152679_e2bf475bb3_o.jpg(© Zucchi Enzo / President of the European Council / Flickr - CC BY-NC-ND 2.0,

Asia Policy Brief: Abe's Victory – Fresh Start or More of the Same?

Japan under its old and new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is at a crossroads. The choice is between the adoption of badly needed structural reforms and the continuation of familiar economic stimulus packages that have proven unsuccessful in the past. The new Asia Policy Brief provides an analysis.  

15340844849_2627db9d75_o.jpg(© Doctor Ho / Flickr - © CC BY-SA 2.0,

Asia Policy Brief: Asian Middle Classes – Drivers of Political Change?

Asia's growing middle classes have been exceptionally influential not only in the Umbrella Revolution in Hong Kong, but also in many other recent political developments in China, Indonesia, Thailand and India. Four authors examine that role in the new issue of the Asia Policy Brief.

BST2_130.jpg(© Frederik Wissink)

Forum: Asia-Europe Young Leaders Forum 2014

In November, Bertelsmann Stiftung and the Asia Pacific Committee of German Business (APA) hosted for the second time the Asia-Europe Young Leaders Forum. The YLF brought together young decision makers from Asia and Europe to discuss crucial global developments. This year’s theme: “Towards a Global Middle Class”.

Forum: Shaping Tomorrow’s World at the Young Leaders Forum

Young high-potentials from Asia and Europe discuss current affairs and future challenges at the Asia-Europe Young Leaders Forum. (YLF). Every two years Bertelsmann Stiftung organizes the Forum together with the Asia-Pacific Committee of German Business (APA). The established network lasts well beyond the YLF.

Vertrauen Wagen - eine Konferenz mit Pionieren der Deutsch-Chinesischen Beziehungen, 23.-24. September 2013 in Beijing an der Bei Da/ Beijing  University.
Programm Inhalt: 
2 Vormittage Workshop der Pioniere, 2 Nachmittage Konferenz, 1 Abendgala(© Jan Siefke)

Events: Building Bridges Through Information and Exchange

Renowned experts discuss challenges and strategies for Europe and Asia at Bertelsmann Stiftung events. Our conferences and briefings are open to the public. Come and join the debate!

(© Martine A Eisenlohr /

Studies: Putting Asia into perspective through in-depth studies

Our studies examine current developments in Asia's most important countries and develop strategies for better cooperation. They deal with the positive as well as the negative effects on Germany of Asia's rise to power.

Fotoshooting zum Thema Asien - Deutschland/Europa.(© Jan Voth)

Asia Policy Briefs: Policy Briefs on Current Affairs

The informed analysis of crucial political and economic developments in Asia is at the heart of our publication series, the “Asia Policy Briefs”. Contributors are renowned experts and authors of the Bertelsmann Stiftung who reflect on the impact of events in Asia on Germany and Europe.

140905_A01B9224_jan_voth_High_Res_38699_1240x600px(© Jan Voth)

Germany and Asia: How Asia Shapes the Future of Germany

Asia is certain to leave its mark on the 21st century. The rapid changes taking place there, especially in China and India, are altering the global balance of power. For Germany, this development brings opportunities and risks. The program “Germany and Asia” offers advice and orientation.

Jokowi_10374500436_9681c394c2_o_fuerWeb_ver2.jpg(© Eduardo M. C. / Flickr - © CC BY-NC-ND 2.0,

Asia Policy Brief: Jokowi's Victory: A New Era for Indonesia?

With the election of its new president, Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, Indonesia is now entering a new era. In the current Asia Policy Brief, Andreas Ufen, senior research fellow at the GIGA Institute of Asian Studies in Hamburg, examines what the victory means for the country's democratic development.


Asia Policy Brief: The Electoral Verdict and After: The Road Ahead for India

The decisive victory of the BJP in the 2014 Indian general elections came as a surprise to many. Most opinion polls, which had predicted a win for the BJP, had not anticipated the scale of the party's victory. A new Policy Brief examines the election results and the new government in India.


Asia Policy Brief: Going Global, Going West! Chinese Direct Investment in Germany

German chancellor Angela Merkel, accompanied by a business delegation, is visiting China. Mutual investment flows will be one topic on her agenda. German investors in China still encounter many hurdles, whereas Chinese companies in Germany may count on a generally open investment environment.

(© Sebastian Pfütze)

Conference: Asia Europe Economic Forum (AEEF)

Renowned experts from business, politics and academia gathered in Berlin from May 15-16 2014 to hold the Asia Europe Economic Forum (AEEF). The 10th AEEF took place under the title „Asia and Europe in Times of Global Change".


Asia Policy Brief: Xi's Real Test: Delivering on Reform and Maintaining Stability in 2014

Emerging signs of economic difficulties have greatly compounded the challenges facing Xi Jinping in 2014. After rolling out a surprisingly ambitious reform blueprint last year, China’s leader now finds his agenda complicated. The Asia Policy Brief assesses Chinese reform policy.

Foto: Claude Truong-Ngoc/Wikimedia Commons © CC BY-SA 3.0 Friedensnobelpreisträgerin Aung San Suu Kyi, Oppositionsführerin in Myanmar
Foto für Pressemeldung vom 23.01.2014: Auf dem Weg zur Demokrat(© Claude Truong-Ngoc/Wikimedia Commons © CC BY-SA 3.0

Asia Policy Brief: On the Road to Democracy? Political Liberalization in Myanmar

Myanmar is currently at a critical juncture. The liberalizing reforms initiated by President Thein Sein after taking office in March 2011 are raising high hopes of peace and democracy in the country. Progress, after nearly three years, has however been uneven. The new issue of Bertelsmann Stiftung's Asia Policy critically assesses the situation.

Vertrauen Wagen - eine Konferenz mit Pionieren der Deutsch-Chinesischen Beziehungen, 23.-24. September 2013 in Beijing an der Bei Da/ Beijing  University.
Programm Inhalt: 2 Vormittage Workshop der Pioniere, 2 Nachmittage Konferenz, 1 Abendgala(© Jan Siefke)

Daring to Trust: Conference on German-Chinese relations

For two days, more than 100 participants from different academic fields discussed possibilities for promoting mutual understanding between China and Germany. Liz Mohn, vice-chair of the Bertelsmann Stiftung Executive Board, together with the foundation’s chairman and CEO, Aart De Geus, met with the Chinese Minister of Culture Cai Wu in Beijing.

(© Bertelsmann Stiftung)

Forum: Asia-Europe Young Leaders Forum 2012

Crowded streets, honking cars and large crowds characterize the rapidly growing metropolis of New Delhi, the location of the Asia-Europe Young Leaders Forum (YLF) in October 2012. The Indian capital demonstrates why demographic change is an important challenge and therefore a suitable topic for the YLF.

(© Bertelsmann Stiftung)

Magnet China: China and Germany’s push and pull factors

The Magnet China dialogue series, a community project of Bertelsmann Stiftung, Körber Foundation and Robert Bosch Foundation, discussed both the factors that drew China and Germany together, but also those that kept them apart.