Politics

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporters hold chairs and cut-outs with portrait of BJP leader and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi as they await his arrival during a rally ahead of the state assembly elections in Ferozepur on 5 January 2022 which was reportedly cancelled later citing security concerns. (Narinder Nanu/AFP)

Why India’s influence over South Asia will continue to weaken

India has long held dominance over South Asia, but recent developments show that the situation may be changing, says Chinese academic Guo Bingyun. China has been stepping up its engagement of the region while India has turned much of its attention on the US in its bid to counter China. In what was once its own backyard, India may have fallen too far back from leading contenders China and the US.
A child stands near a giant screen showing the image of the Tianhe space station at China Science and Technology Museum in Beijing, China, 24 April 2021. (Tingshu Wang/File Photo/Reuters)

India-China space race: The role of the private sector

As geopolitical competition among global powers extends into outer space, major players are looking at how the private sector can play a bigger part in the space race and boost national space venturing capabilities. Yogesh Joshi and Ashmita Rana note that while India's space expenditure stands at only one-sixth of China's, and the latter seems to be leading the way in working with its private space firms, India's great ambitions and edge over China in working with global partners may give it a greater push to catch up.
A Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Northern Army Type-90 tank participates in a live tank firing competition at the Hokkaido Great Maneuvering Ground in Eniwa, Hokkaido prefecture on 7 December 2021. (Behrouz Mehri/AFP)

Japan's increased funding for US forces in Japan: A true alliance in the making?

Japan recently agreed to increase its five-year budget for hosting US troops in Japan to 1.05 trillion yen, but this is not the usual "sympathy budget" the Japanese set aside for this purpose. This time round, it has made sure that a greater proportion of the funding will go towards enhancing its Self-Defence Forces and overall Japan-US security cooperation.
In this picture taken on 13 November 2021, Taliban fighters stop next to destroyed armoured vehicles displayed along a road in Ghazni, Afghanistan. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

China and Russia compete for influence in Central Asia

China-Russia rivalry in the Central Asian region is intensifying, with the US's departure from Afghanistan and the two countries seeking to fill the power vacuum by working within their Central Asian spheres of dominance. Can the two powers work together to foster greater regional stability or will they let their competitiveness get the better of them?
A protester sticks posters outside the Chinese embassy following reports that China has encroached on Indonesia’s maritime area in the South China Sea, in Jakarta, Indonesia, 8 December 2021. (Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana/Reuters)

South China Sea dispute: Why can't Southeast Asian countries stand united against China's claims?

Amid the spectre of China's growing assertiveness in the South China Sea, Indonesia plans to convene a meeting with some of its ASEAN colleagues — including the Philippines, Vietnam and Singapore. If the meeting happens, Beijing may not dial down its activities in the disputed areas, but the point would have been made that Indonesia is prepared to take the lead in galvanising ASEAN on South China Sea matters. The idea of a meeting is not new, but this time it might just work.
A soldier participates in a military exercise simulating an invasion by China, organised by Taiwan's Army Infantry Training Command, in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, on 6 January 2022. (I-Hwa Cheng/Bloomberg)

Why Xi Jinping ignores Washington's calls for cross-strait talks

Chen I-hsin asserts that the US is no longer in a position to facilitate cross-strait talks, given that China’s national strength has increased considerably and the US is no longer seen as a neutral arbiter. Moreover, the “two states” theory which Taiwan’s ruling party seems to support leaves little room for dialogue, rendering any pressure from the US futile.
Taiwan Armed Forces soldiers crew a CM-11 Brave Tiger main battle tank during a military combat live-fire exercise in Hsinchu, Taiwan, on 21 December 2021. (I-Hwa Cheng/Bloomberg)

If China strikes Taiwan, can it bear the punishment from the US and its allies? 

Cross-strait relations look set to remain tense, with mainland China increasing its military might and the US continuing to provide support to Taiwan, says Cambodian commentator Sokvy Rim. But despite the rhetoric, the mainland will be cautious. Even if Beijing can launch a first strike, the US and its allies will give a formidable response, not forgetting that they are in a position to choke off China’s energy supply route through the Indian Ocean and Strait of Malacca.
A nuclear-powered Type 094A Jin-class ballistic missile submarine of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy is seen during a military display in the South China Sea, 12 April 2018. (Stringer/File Photo/Reuters)

China’s ‘hegemony with Chinese characteristics’ in the South China Sea

Though in word it professes to never seek hegemony or bully smaller countries, in deed, China behaves unilaterally and flexes its economic and political muscles for dominance in the South China Sea, says Indian academic Amrita Jash.
The commissioning ceremony of the UMS Minye Kyaw Htin, a Chinese-made Type 035 (NATO code-class Ming) submarine. (@KushalSinha001/Twitter)

Myanmar’s submarines: The race is on between China and Russia

Last month, Myanmar became the first Southeast Asian country to take delivery of a made-in-China submarine, the UMS Minye Kyaw Htin. Given that the EU will not sell arms to Myanmar, that leaves China and Russia as possible arms suppliers. The latest sale gives China an advantage over Russia to supply Myanmar with a new fleet of submarines, as both countries ignore US calls to ban arms sales to Myanmar. This means that price and geopolitics will decide which country wins.