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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.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen (centre) attends the inspection of a Republic of China Navy fleet in Keelung on 8 March 2021. (Sam Yeh/AFP)

Taiwan is America's best asset against China, but for how long?

Despite concerns that Taiwan might lose US support under the Biden administration, so far it seems that the opposite is true — the US has in fact maintained or even stepped up its support for Taiwan. But as platforms and mechanisms evolve in relation to containing China, how valuable will Taiwan still be as a geostrategic asset?
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".
People cross a street under the rain at dusk while a shinkansen N700A series, or high speed bullet train, leaves Tokyo on 21 March 2021. (Charly Triballeau/AFP)

Balancing China: Can Japan continue to be a reliable power in SEA after Abe?

Academic Victor Teo says that Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide has big shoes to fill as his predecessor Shinzō Abe had made visible and significant achievements on both the domestic and diplomatic fronts. With the Biden administration in place in the US, and a rising China amid a post-pandemic world, how will Suga's Japan engage Southeast Asia? Will he reaffirm the “silent” leadership role that Japan has played in the region through economic and security means? Furthermore, Japan has guided the US in regional matters during Trump's presidency and has been keen to include Southeast Asian countries in the Quad. Can Japan fulfil its security goals without seriously antagonising China?  
A general view shows the skyline of Tokyo's Shinjuku area on 22 March 2021. (Charly Triballeau/AFP)

Chinese academic: Japan is the ‘hidden warrior’ behind China-US competition

Chinese academic Deng Qingbo examines the recent Alaska meeting between China and the US, and concludes that Japan plays a hidden but crucial role in how the China-US relationship is developing. As Japan has much to gain from conflicts and intense competition between China and the US, it may indulge in actions that could worsen such big power competition and land the world in a disastrous situation.
U.S. President Joe Biden (top left), Yoshihide Suga, Japan's prime minister (top right), Scott Morrison, Australia's prime minister (bottom left), and Narendra Modi, India's prime minister, on a monitor during the virtual Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) meeting at Suga's official residence in Tokyo, Japan, on 12 March 2021. (Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg)

Quad: A regional military alliance to contain China will not work

The Quad comprising US, Japan, Australia, and India is still in its early days. Some fear it could become an “Asian NATO” targeting China, but how likely is this, given the region’s history of multilateralism in the security arena? Japan-based academic Zhang Yun examines the issue.
The "Yellow House", Vietnam's Presidential Palace in Hanoi, is seen in the background during a visit by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga (left) and his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc (right) in Hanoi, Vietnam, 19 October 2020. (Minh Hoang/Pool via REUTERS)

Balancing China: Japan and Vietnam join hands in economy and security

Vietnamese academic Huynh Tam Sang notes that Japan’s economic and security concerns are becoming increasingly intertwined with those of Southeast Asia, and Tokyo sees Vietnam as the gateway for projecting its influence in Southeast Asia. Furthermore, Japan seeks to bolster its security and defence relationship with Vietnam, and does not rule out the possibility of Vietnam being a Quad-Plus member.
A woman holds the US and China flags at a Lunar New Year ceremony in Chinatown on 12 February 2021 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/AFP)

China must understand the 'tragedy complex' of Biden's team

Understanding the psyche of Biden’s team will help China in its strategic calculations. First of all, members of Biden’s inner circle are different from the hawkish officials in the Trump administration, but they do have a “tragedy complex” that could leave them expecting the worst to happen. Could the upcoming China-US dialogue in Alaska be a first step towards re-orienting bilateral relations? Switzerland-based academic Xiang Lanxin takes a look at the factors at play.