India gets the message all wrong after Myanmar foray

Indian forces have hunted down and inflicted 'significant casualties' on rebel groups allegedly involved in the killing of 20 soldiers in the remote northeast of the country last week, officials said on 9 June 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Arun Vishwanathan, NIAS, Bangalore

Recent events along the Indo–Myanmar border have proven that India’s Narendra Modi government has a different playbook when it comes to pro-active responses against groups that harm Indian national interests. Read more…

Is Japan really tilting to the right?

Demonstrators shout while holding banners reading 'No War' during a protest against reforms that would allow Japan to dispatch its Self-Defense Forces overseas, on 26 May 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Stephen Robert Nagy, ICU

Japan is coming under increasing scrutiny as the 70th anniversary of World War II approaches and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe moves to reform Japan’s defence policy. Recent concerns over hate speech and the right-wing nationalistic rhetoric of revisionist groups like Nippon Kaigi (Japan Conference), Sakura Channel, and Zaitokukai (The Association of Citizens Against the Special Privileges of the Zainichi — that is, the resident Korean population) have led commentators to conclude that Japanese people are becoming more nationalistic. But is this really the case? Read more…

Jokowi tries a different tack in Papua

Indonesian President Joko Widodo greets freed Papuan political prisoners during a ceremony at a prison located in the restive eastern province of Papua on 9 May 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Emirza Adi Syailendra, RSIS

President Joko Widodo (popularly known as Jokowi) has affirmed that special attention will be given to the Papua region, comprising the two provinces of Papua and West Papua. The region has endured a low-level guerrilla insurgency from a militant Papuan independence movement since 1969. Read more…

Building security and integration in the Asia Pacific


Author: David Huang, Academia Sinica

The current strategic environment in the Asia Pacific can be characterised by an intensifying competition (mixed with some cooperation) between China and the US. As the strategic competition between these two countries is likely to intensify, whether they prefer to accommodate or confront each other will have spillover effects on other Asia Pacific countries’ decisions. Read more…

Why is the US upping the ante in the South China Sea?

An aerial photograph made available by the Armed Forces of the Philippines shows construction at Chigua (Kennan) Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea on 19 February 2015, appearing to show extensive land reclamation and building done by China in disputed territories. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Nick Bisley, La Trobe University

Since March 2015 the US has hardened its attitude toward China’s activities in the South China Sea. Beijing appears genuinely surprised by the shift in tone and behaviour. In the past, the US has taken a more measured approach. So why has it escalated its language and flagged risky military exercises in the South China Sea? Why does the US risk upsetting the tenor of Sino–American relations over rocks, islets and reefs? Read more…

Regional divisions simmer beneath the surface at Shangri-La

Armed policemen with Singapore's special operation command unit patrol the vicinity near the Shangri-La hotel where the 14th Asia Security Summit, the Shangri-La Dialogue, took place. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Evelyn Goh, ANU

The recent 2015 Shangri-La Dialogue focused on China, the United States and maritime security. But those expecting fireworks in the wake of China’s new Defence White Paper and recent sharply worded speeches by US defence officials were left disappointed.  Read more…

Mutual interests underlie a strong China–Pakistan relationship

Chinese President Xi Jinping reviews an honour guard with Pakistan's President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at Nur Khan airbase in Islamabad, Pakistan, 20 April 2015. Xi’s two-day visit saw the launch of an ambitious $45 billion economic corridor linking Pakistan's port city of Gwadar with western China. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Ghulam Ali, Peking University

China seems to have abandoned its cautious approach to relations with Pakistan and has adopted a policy of active and deep engagement. This new approach will most likely increase Beijing’s influence in Islamabad.

During Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Pakistan in April 2015, China announced US$46 billion worth of investment in the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Read more…