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A coast guard official raises the Indian national flag on board the Indian Coast Guard offshore patrol vessel "Vajra" during its commissioning ceremony, in Chennai, India, on 24 March 2021. (Arun Sankar/AFP)

Indian academic: The Quad gains momentum and China feels threatened

Amrita Jash notes that the Quad has gained momentum since its inaugural virtual leader-level summit in March. China is worried, but she reasons that the Quad is taking a macro view by having a vision for a “free, open rules-based order, rooted in international law” in the Indo-Pacific, and this is a much larger endeavour than just simply targeting China. But whatever the suspicions or discomfort, the Quad mechanism looks set to stay.
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a gathering before flagging off the "Dandi March" or Salt March, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of India's Independence, in Ahmedabad, India, 12 March 2021. (Amit Dave/Reuters)

Quad now centrepiece in India’s China strategy

In the past, India was reticent about participating in the Quad. But amid China’s growing military, economic and diplomatic assertiveness and India’s decreasing capability to balance China on its own, the prospect of a Quad mechanism to help it do so is looking more attractive. At the recent first Quad summit, leaders committed to expanding vaccine production in India and building resilient supply chains. If all stars align, India is set to play a greater role in the Quad. How will it use this to its advantage in Sino-Indian relations? Yogesh Joshi analyses the issue.
A picture of Chinese President Xi Jinping overlook a street ahead of the National People's Congress (NPC), in Shanghai, China, 1 March 2021. (Aly Song/Reuters)

The US gets it wrong again

Rishi Gupta gives a critique of the strategy paper “The Longer Telegram: Toward a New American China Strategy”, by “Anonymous”, which was recently published by the Atlantic Council. He says that judging from the paper and several other important geostrategic content released by the US recently, the US has not read the situation in China and its leadership correctly, and hence has a skewed understanding of how it can draw strength globally to compete with its "most serious competitor".
This handout file photo taken and released by the Indian Navy on 18 November 2020 shows Indian army fighter jets on the deck on an aircraft carrier during the second phase of the 2020 Malabar naval exercise in the Arabian sea involving India, Australia, Japan and the US (the Quad). (Indian Navy/AFP)

South China Sea: The new frontier of Sino-Indian tussle in the Himalayas?

India’s step to send a warship to the South China Sea (SCS) following the clash in the Galwan Valley in the middle of last year proved a point — that it is prepared to link security in the Himalayas to the SCS, which it had erstwhile regarded as a secondary area of interest. Will China bristle at India’s continued quest for leverage and will chances of an accidental escalation in the SCS be raised overall?
Myanmar citizens living in India hold placards and shout slogans during a protest against the military coup in Myanmar, in New Delhi, India, 5 February 2021. (Anushree Fadnavis/Reuters)

India needs a united, democratic Myanmar outside China's strategic orbit. Can that happen?

In recent decades, India’s engagement with Myanmar has been shaped by Delhi’s growing regional contestation with Beijing as well as its growing strategic partnership with the US. As a close neighbour with clear stakes in the region, India has to tread carefully. In the aftermath of Myanmar’s latest military coup, how will it tread even more lightly, neither helping to drive Myanmar into the arms of China, nor forsaking the values it shares with allies such as the US?
A general view of the first consignment of the Covid-19 vaccines from China, seen offloading from a plane at the PAF Base Nur Khan, Pakistan in this handout photo released by Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) on 1 February 2021. (Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR)/Handout via Reuters)

Vaccine diplomacy: China and India push ahead to supply vaccines to developing countries

More than three quarters of the vaccinations that have taken place worldwide have been done in just 10 countries that account for almost 60% of global GDP, while 2.5 billion people in almost 130 countries have yet to receive a single dose, according to Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO. China and India have since embarked on “vaccine diplomacy” in a bid to despatch vaccines to developing countries. They may have their own goals in doing so, but their timely humanitarian aid for others is exemplary, says Zhu Zhiqun.
Small cargo boats docked by Male harbour, Maldives. (iStock)

Maldives: Even a tiny state in the Indo Pacific has a big role in China-US competition

The Maldives is well aware that it is of a geostrategic importance to powers seeking to dominate the Indian Ocean and what some term the Indo-Pacific. It has responded well to China’s overtures in the past, but with political pushback against China, and other suitors, not least India and the US, calling on its door, how best should it play its cards?
People wearing face masks are seen at a shopping area in Wuhan, Hubei province, China, 7 December 2020. (Aly Song/Reuters)

RCEP: The benefits, the regret and the limitations

EAI academic Yu Hong notes that the RCEP will bring greater regional economic integration by increasing trade in Asia-Pacific and generating new business opportunities for companies in the 15 member countries of ASEAN, China, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Australia. China and ASEAN in particular, are well-placed to reap many of the benefits.
In this file photo taken on 28 November 2008, US Army soliders from 1-506 Infantry Division set out on a patrol in Paktika province, situated along the Afghan-Pakistan border. (David Furst/AFP)

Biden may need China’s help in Afghanistan

One solution that ended the Vietnam war may provide some lessons for bringing the Afghan war to an end during Biden’s presidency. Forty years ago, the Nixon administration played the China card, enabling Washington to leave the Vietnam war. In the present, a replica of a Vietnam-inspired exodus — one moderated by China and its ally Pakistan — is worth pursuing. China has built relations with all of Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries and has the capacity to build a regional infrastructure and economic network. US academic Ma Haiyun explores the possibilities.