With all his theatrics, it is hardly surprising that so much attention has been lavished on United States President Donald Trump, and whether his administration will usher in a new era of instability in Asia. But behind those headlines, a quieter though potentially no less significant change is brewing: The start of a period of unusual stability in the leadership of Asia itself.
Over the past month, the region’s three most important politicians – China’s Xi Jinping, Japan’s Shinzo Abe and India’s Narendra Modi – have all but ensured they will serve a further term in office. This matters, because leaders tend to achieve more the longer they serve, becoming more radical as their tenure extends, and their authority increases.
The most obvious is Mr Modi, who won a crushing victory this month in elections in Uttar Pradesh, India’s largest and most politically significant state. Only a gutsy gambler would now bet against him returning to power with a similarly healthy victory in national elections in 2019.
James Crabtree is a visiting senior research fellow at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore. He is on sabbatical from The Financial Times, where he was until recently its Mumbai bureau chief.
This article was first published on The Straits Times on 20th March 2017.