Pesek on Asia: Snowden Effect Hits India

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Good morning. Here's my take on some of the stories driving the debate in politics, finance and social issues across Asia today:

Now NSA has an India problem, too.

The Edward Snowden effect has infiltrated India-U.S. relations. News reports citing documents from the former NSA contractor have prompted Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling party to demand explanations from Barack Obama's White House. Coming just the U.S. seeks closer ties with India's new leader amid China's meteoric rise, this latest spying scandal deserves a prominent mention In the annals of bad timing.

How far Indonesia has come.

Indonesia's election is a moment to celebrate how far the nation has come since the dark days of 1998, when anti-Chinese riots shocked the world. Here from the BBC is a look back at that tumultuous and bloody year, which saw the ouster of dictator Suharto. We can debate whether Indonesia would fare better with Joko Widodo as president, or Prabowo Subianto. But another peaceful transfer of power is reason for the world to rejoice that its fourth most populous nation is stable and teeming with energy.

Get used to protests in Hong Kong.

China must really regret last month's "white paper" spelling out tighter control over Hong Kong's 7.2 million people. It spurred almost 800,000 people to vote in an unofficial referendum against China's proposed limits on leadership candidates, increased the turnout for Tuesday's giant protest, and is exponentially emboldening the pro-democracy movement. Stay tuned for even bigger marches in the months ahead. Nice work Beijing!

Australia's "overvalued" dollar.

Is it time to stop calling the Aussie "overvalued" already? Year after year, policy makers in Canberra and Sydney bemoan the dollar's brawn. And year after year, the economy keeps bucking the global recession trend. Isn't it possible the currency is as healthy as it is because the fundamentals Down Under support it? Just a thought as Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens steps up his jawboning campaign.

Tossing cold water on Alibaba.

As the investment world toasts the success of China's e-commerce giant Alibaba, there are plenty of reasons for caution. This piece by argues that: "the way in which Chinese Internet companies are structured represents considerable risks for foreign investors. Alibaba, social networking giant Weibo and several other Chinese Internet companies use a complex legal mechanism in which ownership is deliberately obscured by a series of shell companies." Food for thought as gets ready to take over the tech world.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg View's editorial board or Bloomberg LP, its owners and investors.

To contact the author on this story:
Willie Pesek at

To contact the editor on this story:
Marc Champion at