Diplomacy

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.
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 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.
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?
Lithuania's President Gitanas Nauseda speaks to the press at the end of an Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels, on 15 December 2021. (Olivier Hoslet/AFP)

Did Lithuania do a U-turn on the ‘Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania’?

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda recently commented that it was "a mistake" to allow Taipei to open a representative office using the name Taiwan. Is this a climb-down by Lithuania following economic and political backlash from Beijing or more a reflection of policy rifts within the small Baltic state? And will the EU and the US pay more than lip service to stiffen Lithuania’s resolve?
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (right) greets Russian President Vladimir Putin before a meeting at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, India, on 6 December 2021. (Money Sharma/AFP)

India and Russia remain on opposite sides of the Indo-Pacific’s balance of power

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent visit to New Delhi should be seen as one of correcting the downward slide in India-Russia relations rather than a celebration of an age-old strategic partnership, says Yogesh Joshi. Against the backdrop of a rising China, India feels the threat of strengthening Russia-China relations and the latter’s engagement of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Meanwhile, India-US relations have taken on greater strategic significance, and Russia may be wary of India’s involvement in the Quad. With divergent national interests and threat perceptions likely to continue, will it be harder for both powers to find themselves on the same side?
Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat at the 16th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) and related Joint Steering Council (JSC) meetings on 8 December 2020. (Ministry of Communications and Information)

Singapore DPM: Singapore can help to better connect China with Southeast Asian markets

In this op-ed in conjunction with the 17th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) which will take place on 29 December, Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat examines how Singapore-China relations go beyond the pandemic, into areas including digital connectivity, green energy efforts, economy and trade, and even "panda diplomacy". These efforts will bring the two countries closer together in the next chapter of bilateral relations.