Search: For - Strategic Studies

887 results found

Taliban’s Afghanistan: An Emerging Security Challenge for India and Central Asia
Aug 16, 2023

Taliban’s Afghanistan: An Emerging Security Challenge for India and Central Asia

Relations between India and the Central Asia Republics (CARs) have matured over the past three decades, primarily in the areas of military technology, defence, counterterrorism, and economy, and culture. Following the Taliban’s return to power in Afghanistan and the resultant security, geostrategic, and geoeconomic challenges, India and the CARs must aim to strengthen their ties. This brief assesses the evolving situation in Afghanistan

Territorial Disputes: Can Japan and Russia Reconcile?
Sep 14, 2023

Territorial Disputes: Can Japan and Russia Reconcile?

The Ukraine crisis may have effectively ended the rapprochement between the USand Russia, and in turn affecting relations such as those of Japan and Russia. Prior to this crisis,and the subsequent Western sanctions on Russia, Tokyo and Moscow had been reaching out toeach other, and hope flickered for a resolution to the territorial dispute over the NorthernTerritories or Southern Kurils. This paper argues that with nationalist governments in powe

The 19th Congress of the Communist Party of China and its aftermath
Aug 17, 2023

The 19th Congress of the Communist Party of China and its aftermath

The recently concluded 19th Party Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) brought the world’s attention to the future direction of the CPC. As the proceedings of the Party Congress revealed, sustaining the legitimacy of the CPC’s hold on power is an overriding concern for the country’s political leaders. The Party Congress addressed the corruption plaguing the CPC and the Chinese state writ large, which has deep, long-term consequen

The 2015 India-Bangladesh land boundary agreement: Identifying constraints and exploring possibilities in Cooch Behar
Jul 24, 2017

The 2015 India-Bangladesh land boundary agreement: Identifying constraints and exploring possibilities in Cooch Behar

The border between India and Bangladesh—highly crucial to their bilateral relationship—has always been difficult to manage given, for one, its sheer length. The most important bilateral initiative between Bangladesh and India may yet be the attempt to resolve the longstanding border dispute that arose after the Partition of 1947, by means of the 2015 Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) and the exchange of enclaves (chhitmahals) and adverse possessi

The African Continental Free Trade Area: Opportunities for India
Jul 21, 2023

The African Continental Free Trade Area: Opportunities for India

Unlike in other regions of the world, the value of intra-Africa trade has remained low over the years. Moreover, Africa accounts for just 2 percent of global trade. In 2021, African countries launched the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which aims to create a single African market for the free movement of goods, services, labour, and capital, and increase intra-African trade. AfCFTA may be able to provide Indian firms and in

The Australia-India-Japan-US Quadrilateral: Dissecting the China Factor
Aug 10, 2020

The Australia-India-Japan-US Quadrilateral: Dissecting the China Factor

This paper analyses the domestic compulsions in Australia, India, Japan and the US that are influencing their positions on the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad). The paper notes that as the four countries are becoming increasingly aware of the risks posed by China’s rise over the last few years, they have sought to converge to the Quad. For Australia, the concerns are over trade dependency on China, and China’s sharp power projection and

The Bangladesh Army: Documenting its Corporate Interests
Nov 24, 2010

The Bangladesh Army: Documenting its Corporate Interests

Little is known and even less understood about the 2,00,000-strong Bangladesh Army's corporate interests. The importance of the subject owes itself to the fact that the army has been a veritable power of stability in a country that has been dogged by decades of unending political turmoil. The fact that the Army had to step in to keep the country from slipping into a political abyss in 2006 underlines the criticality of its role in providing stabi

The case against weaponising water
Feb 10, 2017

The case against weaponising water

With growing water scarcity across many parts of the world, competition over access to this vital resource has been known to spark conflict. Following the September 2016 Uri attack in India, the government made plans to retaliate against its neighbour by exercising its right to use water of the western rivers—allocated to Pakistan under the Indus Waters Treaty—by building dams, canals and reservoirs. This paper aims to address the legal, econ

The Case for a ‘Links, Not Dependencies’ Approach to EU Engagement in the Indo-Pacific
Aug 11, 2023

The Case for a ‘Links, Not Dependencies’ Approach to EU Engagement in the Indo-Pacific

Over the past year, the European Union (EU) increased its efforts to develop a more holistic approach to its engagement with the Indo-Pacific. Specifically, the EU has signalled a more concrete intention to integrate defence and security considerations into the policymaking process, with the publication of a regional strategy of engagement in September 2021. This brief aims to tie existing threads of EU diplomatic, developmental, and security pra

The Changing Contours of Bhutan’s Foreign Policy and the Implications for China and India
Jul 21, 2023

The Changing Contours of Bhutan’s Foreign Policy and the Implications for China and India

Bhutan has historically maintained a neutral relationship with China, to its north, and a more special relationship with India, whose states border its west, east, and south. Over the past two decades, however, many factors are forcing Bhutan to settle its longstanding territorial disputes with China and diversify its relations. These factors include its own changing economy and transition from an absolute monarchy to a democracy, a gener

The Changing Contours of Regionalism and Multilateralism in a Globalised World
Sep 12, 2023

The Changing Contours of Regionalism and Multilateralism in a Globalised World

This issue brief looks at the trends of regionalism and multilateralism, their importance and evolution in an age of problems without borders that require regional or global solutions.

The changing contours of Russia’s South Asia policy
Jul 27, 2017

The changing contours of Russia’s South Asia policy

Russia’s policy towards South Asia has been the subject of much speculation lately. With closer cooperation between Russia and China and the former’s warming up to Pakistan, it is becoming increasingly evident that Russia is moving away from its India-centric approach in the region. This brief studies the changes, and continuity, in Moscow’s foreign policy towards South Asia as it transitioned from the Soviet Union into the Russian Federati

The counterterror dimension to the planning of smart cities
Aug 21, 2023

The counterterror dimension to the planning of smart cities

The Indian government’s “Smart Cities Mission” aims to drive economic growth and improve quality of life through “smart” solutions for the delivery of infrastructure and services. This is expected to transform living spaces, enhance quality of life, and provide employment opportunities, in turn helping reduce crime rates and promoting law and order. Among the challenges to the “Smart Cities” programme is terrorism—especially in ur

The Crisis in Libya
Aug 10, 2023

The Crisis in Libya

Libya, in the throes of a civil war, now represents the ugly facet of the much-hyped Arab Spring. 

The Dance of the Elephant and the Dragon: The Promise and Perils of Sino-Indian Relations
May 18, 2015

The Dance of the Elephant and the Dragon: The Promise and Perils of Sino-Indian Relations

Why is it that despite sharing significant commonalities, India and China remain trapped in a relationship that projects them as inevitable rivals? This paper examines the promise of these bilateral relations and attempts to sound the death knell to the old narrative.

The diaspora and India’s growth story
Aug 20, 2023

The diaspora and India’s growth story

This brief sketches the growing interest of the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the Indian diaspora. Over the last three years, the prime minister has repeatedly called attention to the role that the diaspora will play in India’s development process and in the promotion of its foreign policy goals. The brief gives an overview of the policies that the present government has rolled out and examines the benefits from, and pitf

The Dynamics of LTTE’S Commercial Maritime Infrastructure
Jun 04, 2005

The Dynamics of LTTE’S Commercial Maritime Infrastructure

This paper examines the maritime infrastructure of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)--tracing the history of the development of its maritime organisation, infrastructure and strategy. The paper focuses on the salience of sea power as perceived by a violent non-state actor and provides a perspective on how non-state actors employ sea power in asymmetric conflicts

The Enduring Challenges to Democratic Transition in Myanmar
Aug 14, 2023

The Enduring Challenges to Democratic Transition in Myanmar

After days of disputing the 2020 election results and claiming widespread fraud in the polls that gave the National League for Democracy a second term, Myanmar’s military, the Tatmadaw, staged a coup on 1 February 2021. The coup supposedly ended a decade of inadequate democratic reforms in Myanmar, which came after almost five decades of oppressive military rule. Ironically enough, the military regime itself had set the course of reforms post-2

The enduring relevance of India-Russia relations
May 25, 2017

The enduring relevance of India-Russia relations

The impact of Indo-Russian relations on the domestic and foreign policies of India from the 1960s is difficult to underestimate. The USSR was instrumental in helping independent India industrialise, develop its scientific potential, and defend its territorial integrity. The Indo-Russian relationship developed a level of trust between two independent countries that was unprecedented in international affairs. The collapse of the USSR negatively aff

The four faces of 21st century Asian geopolitics
May 11, 2017

The four faces of 21st century Asian geopolitics

As global geopolitics enters a multipolar era, there is a need to assess the extent to which strategic concepts from the bipolar era remain valid and useful. In this brief, the notion of a ‘strategic triangle’, which became prominent during the Cold War, is extended to a ‘great-powers tetrahedron’ for Asia in the 21st century. The brief describes this notion and examines four triangular relationships involving India, China, Russia, and t

The Geopolitical Imperative for Reorganising Global Supply Chains
Aug 14, 2023

The Geopolitical Imperative for Reorganising Global Supply Chains

Global supply chains are being restructured to achieve distinct geopolitical goals, given the strategic vulnerability of such networks due to being controlled by a few nations. Countries that are prominent sourcing hubs for some supply chains could potentially ‘weaponise’ their economic influence for larger geopolitical gains. This brief argues that although multiple global efforts have been initiated to address such threats, efforts

The Global Financial System: A post-GFC Report Card
Aug 23, 2023

The Global Financial System: A post-GFC Report Card

The International Financial Architecture has come under much scrutiny following the 2008 global financial crisis. There have been demands for major reforms to the IFA; but despite the steps taken so far, much more needs to be done to ensure global financial stability.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Germany’s response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
May 21, 2020

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Germany’s response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Germany’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic has earned it almost all-round approval. This special report argues that there is indeed much that German policy has gotten right. But it is also important to keep an eye on the limitations and failings, for which Germany – and other countries that seek to emulate it – might end up paying a very dear price. In contrast, a timely correction of some aspects of German policy could help pre-empt bo

The India-China Border Question: An Analysis of International Law and State Practices
Dec 16, 2020

The India-China Border Question: An Analysis of International Law and State Practices

Over the years, India has attempted to find political as well as legal solutions to its border dispute with China; these efforts have met with little success. This paper argues that the reason a resolution to the India–China border issue remains elusive is the inadequate understanding—and enforcement—of International Law. It examines the sustainability of China’s position, as well as its general approach to International Law, its interpre

The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF): An Asean perspective
Jun 25, 2022

The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF): An Asean perspective

The article has been authored by Premesha Saha, an associate fellow, Strategic Studies Programme, Observer Research Foundation.

The Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative: Towards a Coherent Indo-Pacific Policy for India
Dec 23, 2020

The Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative: Towards a Coherent Indo-Pacific Policy for India

The Indo-Pacific region is increasingly being viewed as a global centre of gravity, both for its economic and demographic potential, and the security challenges that could frustrate those possibilities. India—as a champion of the principle of ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific’ or FOIP—has initiated engagements with its partners in the region, such as the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI) that aims to ensure the security and stability of the

The Indo-Pacific Quest for the Quad’s Spirit
Jul 06, 2021

The Indo-Pacific Quest for the Quad’s Spirit

The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad)—comprising Australia, India, Japan and the US—has outlined a collective vision that recognises each country’s peculiarities in their approach to the Indo-Pacific while building upon the areas of convergence. Maritime security will continue to be a key pillar in this vision, although there is a shift towards making the Quad’s objectives more broad-based and relevant to the emerging global geopolit

The International Rules Based Architecture: Identifying Indian Priorities
Jul 06, 2013

The International Rules Based Architecture: Identifying Indian Priorities

The Observer Research Foundation (ORF), in partnership with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom, organised a multi-stakeholder workshop on the 'International Rules-Based Governance' on March 15, 2013. The objective of the workshop was to arrive at a better understanding of the order of priorities for India within the international rules-based architecture.Three areas of focus were identified, namely: Corporate governance ben

The Kashmir that India Lost: An Analysis of India’s Post-1980s Policy on Gilgit Baltistan
Jul 21, 2023

The Kashmir that India Lost: An Analysis of India’s Post-1980s Policy on Gilgit Baltistan

This paper dissects the history and politics of Gilgit-Baltistan, a part of Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK), from the 1980s to the present day. It analyses the policies implemented by Pakistani leaders in the region and how successive political parties have attempted to justify Pakistan’s administrative control of it while disregarding any democratic, secular or moral principles in the ruling of its supposed subjects. The pap

The Lingering Financial Crisis in the European Union
Aug 23, 2023

The Lingering Financial Crisis in the European Union

The economic and social problems of the European Union (EU) have not been fully resolved since the euro zone crisis. This issue brief walks the reader through the genesis of the crisis, the reforms and the bailout packages implemented; discusses the adverse consequences of austerity and proposes alternatives; and ends with implications for India.

The Long(er) Ukraine War: Lessons for the Indo-Pacific
Aug 16, 2023

The Long(er) Ukraine War: Lessons for the Indo-Pacific

The Russia-Ukraine war has confounded observers, as much as it did the Russians themselves. Since erupting in late February, the war has not shown signs of abating any time soon. This brief argues that by its very nature, the war has lessons not just for the adversaries, but also the NATO alliance that is backing Ukraine, and even geographically distant China and India. For one, the war has both elements of the old eras—such as the mass

The Obama Visit: Issues and Challenges
Jul 31, 2023

The Obama Visit: Issues and Challenges

Indo-US relations that have witnessed a remarkable transformation in recent years, both in tenor and substance, are under intense scrutiny on the eve of US President Barack Obama's forthcoming visit to India. While relations between the two democracies have moved from one of 'estrangement' to a relationship of 'engagement' at many levels, there are outstanding issues that need to be addressed. This Issue Brief explores the prospects for cooperati

The Quad in the Indo-Pacific: Why ASEAN remains cautious
Aug 20, 2023

The Quad in the Indo-Pacific: Why ASEAN remains cautious

As India, Japan, Australia and the United States renew their quadrilateral cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, there are suggestions to expand the ‘Quad’ into a ‘Quad-plus’ grouping to include the countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). This brief argues that the Quad will not have much to offer to ASEAN; it has, in fact, the potential to dilute ASEAN centrality which is the pillar of the regional bloc.  India, too

The Relevance of Ancient Indian Strategy in Contemporary Geopolitics
Jul 01, 2021

The Relevance of Ancient Indian Strategy in Contemporary Geopolitics

This brief examines India’s relations with Pakistan and China using the lens of Kautilya, the ancient Indian strategic thinker—and argues for pragmatism: assessing the basis and severity of the threats, searching for possible strategic opportunities amidst the risks, and overall, avoiding the scenario of a two-front war. It begins by acknowledging that Pakistan and China view India through different prisms: for Pakistan, that of ideology; and

The Return of the Taliban: ‘Foreign Fighters’ and Other Threats to India’s Security
Aug 11, 2023

The Return of the Taliban: ‘Foreign Fighters’ and Other Threats to India’s Security

Afghanistan fell to the Taliban in August last year and since then, serious security concerns have arisen for India. There is the spectre of terrorist groups in neighbouring countries gaining strength; there is also the threat of Indians travelling to Afghanistan to either live as civilians desiring a home under “Islamic rule”, or else fight alongside terrorist groups. Indeed, other South Asian countries such as Bangladesh are reporting that

The rising role of Buddhism in India’s soft power strategy
Aug 20, 2023

The rising role of Buddhism in India’s soft power strategy

The Modi-led government is placing a strong accent on the use of soft power in India’s foreign policy. One of the more novel manifestations of these initiatives has been engagement in Buddhist diplomacy. The Buddhist faith, due to its emphasis on peaceful co-existence and its wide pan-Asian presence, lends itself well to soft-power diplomacy. This brief will examine India’s attempts at leveraging its historical and present-day associations wi

The road to Mekong: the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway project
Feb 07, 2017

The road to Mekong: the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway project

As India places the Mekong sub-region among its priorities under the country’s ‘Act East’ policy, the ongoing India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway project––currently the only land connectivity project between India and the Mekong countries and the wider Southeast Asian region––could prove to be a game changer. It is imperative to explore ways to ensure early completion of this strategic communication link. This paper focuses on

The Role of Perceptions in India-Germany Relations
Jul 20, 2023

The Role of Perceptions in India-Germany Relations

India and Germany, on their own, are important countries in their respective regions. Together, they have developed and diversified their partnership since the end of the Cold War. Yet, popular perceptions have historically failed to match what the governments are doing. This paper argues for better perception-building between the two countries, given its proven role in nurturing international relations, especially for countries like Germany wher

The Russia-Pakistan Rapprochement: Should India Worry?
Sep 13, 2023

The Russia-Pakistan Rapprochement: Should India Worry?

Russia and Pakistan have never really had warm relations. Following Pakistan’s independence in 1947, then Prime Minister Liaqat Ali Khan was invited by both the Soviet Union and the US. He chose to visit the US, mainly because the US had 2 more capacity to help Pakistan economically.

The Russia-Ukraine War: The Last Crisis to Break the UN Camel’s Back?
May 21, 2022

The Russia-Ukraine War: The Last Crisis to Break the UN Camel’s Back?

The United Nations (UN) has recently been plagued by several crises—the COVID-19 pandemic, the Taliban’s return in Afghanistan, and the Ukraine war—that have tested its ability to deliver on humanity’s projects of peace and security, sustainable development, human rights, and humanitarian response. Indeed, its actions and inactions in the Ukraine war have triggered an existential dilemma. India must use this moment of creative destruction