P. S. Suryanarayana

Adjunct Senior Fellow, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS)

P S Suryanarayana is an adjunct senior fellow with the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. He was previously a foreign correspondent of India’s English-language daily, The Hindu, where he served successively in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and the Asia-Pacific region. He is the author of three books: The Elusive Tipping Point: China-India Ties for a New Order (World Scientific, Singapore, 2021); Smart Diplomacy: Exploring China-India Synergy (World Century, USA, 2016); and The Peace Trap: An Indo-Sri Lankan Political Crisis (Affiliated East West Press, India, 1988).

A member of security personnel stands guard behind a perimeter fence at the Taj Mahal in Agra, India, on 20 May 2022. (Pawan Sharma/AFP)

India's choice: Pro-US, pro-China or stay autonomous?

With his visit to Asia in May and the launch of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity which includes India, US President Joe Biden clearly seeks to recast the strategic environment in which China operates. On its part, China had earlier launched the Global Security Initiative and is articulating its vision of a changing world order. For India, therefore, the long-term choice is either strategic autonomy, or the role of a pro-US or even pro-China “swing state”.
A pro-Ukraine demonstrator holds a sign with Putin depicted as Hitler during a protest against Russian invasion of Ukraine, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, 9 April 2022. (Carla Carniel/Reuters)

Lessons from Russia-Ukraine war: The UN of 1945 must be reformed

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine has disrupted global geopolitics and geoeconomics. By supporting Ukraine, the US-led NATO is trying to clip the powerful military wings of its strategic rival, Russia. Furthermore, US President Joe Biden’s massive sanctions on Russia have produced cascading adverse consequences for many economies. Amid greater uncertainty, might the G20 under UN auspices be a good avenue of negotiating the new global order?
US President Joe Biden holds virtual talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping from the Situation Room at the White House in Washington, US, 18 March 2022. (The White House/Handout via Reuters)

Xi Jinping's answer to Washington's expansionist moves in Asia and the world

Chinese President Xi Jinping has suggested a “balanced, effective and sustainable security architecture” to manage the fallout of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and to ensure stability regionally and worldwide. He seems to suggest that the balance of national interests, not balance of power, is better at promoting a regional order for Asia or East Asia too.
Indian Army soldiers stand next to a M777 Ultra Lightweight Howitzer positioned at Penga Teng Tso ahead of Tawang, near the Line of Actual Control (LAC), neighbouring China, in India's Arunachal Pradesh state on 20 October 2021. (Money Sharma/AFP)

Overcoming power imbalances and policy clashes: The quest for a peaceful China-India future

Mind games among the US, China, Russia and India may influence Sino-Indian engagement in the new year and beyond. China could move even closer to Russia in dealing with India, and the US could further call on India as a “major defence partner” in its intense competition with China. External factors aside, a peaceful and cooperative China-India future requires synchronised political will in their bilateral and global diplomacy. Key is unequal power and core interests as China and India each employ the diplomacy of smart power. Will an uneasy status quo be maintained in their long-unresolved boundary dispute, and will they find the impetus for collaboration in a post-Covid-19 order?
US President Joe Biden listens as India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks during a 'Quad nations' meeting at the Leaders' Summit of the Quadrilateral Framework held in the East Room at the White House in Washington, US, 24 September 2021. (Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters)

AUKUS and Quad do not solve India's regional security problems

China’s efforts to reap strategic gains in Kabul, in partnership with Pakistan and Russia, are of real concern to India following the US pullout from Afghanistan. Will Beijing reinforce Islamabad’s navy in retaliation for the AUKUS pact? Is an alternative arrangement linking China, Pakistan and Russia emerging to rival the US-led Quad which includes India?