Military

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.
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.
Soldiers of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) take part in combat training in the Gobi desert in Jiuquan, Gansu province, China, 18 May 2018. (Reuters/Stringer/File Photo)

5 nuclear-weapon states vow no arms race: A more peaceful world?

China has made no bones about its role in shepherding a first-ever P5 joint statement on preventing nuclear war and avoiding an arms race. While the release of the statement shows some rational thought and mutual respect among the five nuclear powers, is it of any significance in moderating conflicts between nation-states and preventing possible fights in hotspots such as the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait?
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (left) poses for a photograph with Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa during their bilateral meeting in Colombo, Sri Lanka, 9 January 2022. (Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters)

China's growing influence in the Indian Ocean: Wang Yi’s visit to Comoros, Sri Lanka and the Maldives

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s swing through three strategic island states — the Comoros, Maldives, and Sri Lanka — as part of his annual African tour at the beginning of January underlines China’s continuing quest for a larger role in the Indian Ocean. Are China’s economic incentives and themes of non-intervention and sovereign equality resonating with the Indian Ocean littoral at the expense of India and the US?
This handout photo taken on 2 December 2021 and released by the Indonesian fleet command Koarmada I on 4 December 2021 shows the ASEAN countries' navy ships off the waters of Andaman during a joint exercise between the Indonesian Navy, the Russian Navy and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members. (Indonesian Fleet Command Koarmada I/AFP)

Stuck in second gear: Indonesia’s strategic dilemma in the Indo-Pacific

Indonesia's strategic resources and political leadership are heavily directed inwards, leaving little bandwidth to invest in options beyond the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) to address Indo-Pacific strategic challenges. For pressing challenges, whether over the South China Sea, Myanmar or other Indo-Pacific flashpoints like Taiwan, Indonesia needs to invest in non-ASEAN options as well. Furthermore, it would help to have a "centralised hub" under the president’s office to coordinate its strategies.