Daljit Singh

Daljit Singh

Senior Fellow, Coordinator of the Regional Strategic and Political Studies Programme, ISEAS - Yusof Ishak Institute

Daljit Singh is currently Senior Fellow and Coordinator of the Regional Strategic and Political Studies Programme at the ISEAS - Yusof Ishak Institute (ISEAS). His main research interest is Southeast Asian security and the region’s interactions with the major powers. He has edited or co-edited a number of books on regional security, international relations and terrorism, written book chapters and articles on these subjects, contributed op-eds in the local and international press, as well as participated in numerous conferences. He has edited the Southeast Asian Affairs, an annual review of Southeast Asia published by ISEAS for two decades and co-edited Turning Points and Transitions: Selections from Southeast Asian Affairs 1974–2018 (2018), a 700-page compilation of selected articles from past issues of Southeast Asian Affairs. He is also one of the editors of the ISEAS publication Trends in Southeast Asia series, which serves as in-depth analysis of contemporary geopolitical and socio-economic forces in the region.

Samoa Prime Minister Fiamē Naomi Mataʻafa (left) and Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare (right) listen to the opening remarks of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) in Suva on 12 July 2022. (William West/AFP)

ASEAN needs to watch the US-China strategic competition in the Pacific

Beijing’s recent moves to establish security cooperation with Pacific island states have riled the US and Australia. Among the places that China has made moves is the Solomon Islands, where Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and US security advisor Kurt Campbell have each visited within the past three months. ASEAN needs to closely watch the ongoing great power competition there to draw lessons for its own security.
ASEAN leaders at the plenary session with US President Joe Biden in Washington during the US-ASEAN special summit on 14 May 2022. (SPH Media)

ASEAN needs unity of purpose to survive great power contestations

ASEAN and its constituent states must not neglect the crucial importance of maintaining a balance of influence and power between the great powers to secure space for their own independence. However, it can only make the most of its strategic endowments through greater unity of purpose and managing the sensitivities of treading on China's toes by endorsing new US-sponsored security arrangements.
Caution tape is seen near the Chinese embassy as activists hold a demonstration calling on Chinese President Xi Jinping to "allow safe passage to North Koreans detained in China" in Washington, DC on 24 September 2021. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP)

The war on terrorism has ended. Can the US win the next battle of great power competition?

Twenty years after the historic 9/11 attacks on the US, the threat of terrorism has largely been contained and a new era of great power competition has returned. ISEAS researcher Daljit Singh notes that in the past century, the US has been adamant about not letting any single power dominate East Asia, and will most probably continue to do so. What will this new era be like when the US's competitor is a rising China? And what can Southeast Asian states do about it?
The USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) is pictured as it enters the port in Da Nang, Vietnam, 5 March 2020. (Kham/Reuters)

Indo-Pacific: Central theatre of America's struggle against its antagonist, China

It is easy to find fault with the recently declassified version of the US’s strategic framework for the Indo-Pacific. The fact remains, however, that the US is making strategic adjustments to steel itself for years, if not decades, of strategic competition with China.
This handout photo taken and released by the Indian Navy on 17 November 2020 shows ships taking part in the second phase of the Malabar naval exercise in the Arabian sea. India, Australia, Japan and the United States started the second phase of a strategic navy drill in the Northern Arabian sea. (Indian Navy/AFP)

Indo-Pacific: The central theatre of 21st century great power struggle

ISEAS academic Daljit Singh notes that the new great power contest has spilled over into the Indian Ocean, and the term “Indo-Pacific” will better reflect the strategic geography of this central theatre of the 21st century great power struggle.
Demonstrators shout slogans as they take part in a protest march against China near the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi on 20 October 2020. (Sajjad Hussain/AFP)

Asia's flashpoint is the disputed India-China border, not Taiwan Strait

While a lot of attention is currently on cross-strait relations and a possible hot war between Taiwan and mainland China, ISEAS academic Daljit Singh points out that the disputed India-China land border, more than the East or South China Sea, is the regional flashpoint that could flare up in the short term.
Supporters of President Donald Trump wave flags and hold signs at Skylands Stadium during an election rally on 14 October 2020 in Augusta, New Jersey. (Spencer Platt/AFP)

Biden or Trump? Southeast Asia’s stakes in the US election

A checklist of the differences Southeast Asia can expect if Joe Biden wins the US presidential election or Donald Trump is returned to the White House.
In this file photo US President Donald Trump (C) is applauded by former President Barack Obama (L) and former Vice President Joe Biden during Trump's inauguration ceremonies at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on 20 January 2017. (Paul J. Richards/AFP)

Trump or Biden, America's distrust of the Chinese Communist Party will stay 

A new report by the White House has cast China as an ideological threat to cherished liberties and the American way of life. This is a bipartisan approach that will endure even if President Donald Trump loses his bid for a second term.
This US Navy photo obtained October 7, 2019 shows the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76)(L), and the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 6) and ships from the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group and the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group underway in formation while conducting security and stability operations in the US 7th Fleet area of operations on October 6, 2019 in the South China Sea. (AFP/US Navy/Erwin Jacob V. Miciano/Handout)

The South China Sea: More dangerous and unstable

Has China won control of the South China Sea? Senior Fellow Daljit Singh of the ISEAS - Yusof Ishak Institute opines that with the US' toughening stance towards China and an increased danger of a clash from naval and coast guard vessels that often operate at close quarters, China has not won yet.