While India’s GDP recently overtook Japan‘s on a purchasing power parity basis, the two nations couldn’t be more different on the development, education, and income scales. Their divergent needs and strengths could be complementary, as The New York Times explained, with Japan’s aging population balanced by India’s youth, and Japan’s manufacturing prowess matched with India’s undeveloped natural resources.

PHILNAMBODIA: Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia (and potentially Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand as well). Likes: UN maritime law. Dislikes: China’s nine-dash line.

Image for article titled Meet the new Asia order—Chiran, Japindia, and Philnambodia

Southeast Asia’s fast-growing economies have rarely been on the same side on political matters. But China’s increasingly aggressive territorial claims in the area are creating allegiances where they never existed before. On May 21, Vietnam prime minister Nguyen Tan Dung and Philippines president Benigno S. Aquino met to discuss the “extremely dangerous” situation China is creating by flouting United Nations maritime laws. Indonesia and others are pushing for a multilateral agreement on conduct in the sea, while China insists on brokering deals on a country-by-country basis.

While all of these new allegiances could result in political fireworks, serious economic upheaval is less likely. Asia is “geopolitically fraught, but economically integrating—this is the basic contradiction that is likely to define Asia for the coming years,” says Meidan of China Matters. “While the shifting allegiance or alliances are important from a geopolitical perspective, their market impact is limited.”

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