Should Duterte step back on the South China Sea?  

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte (L) meeting with Chinese ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua during a courtesy call in Davao city, southern Philippines, 16 May 2016.

Author: Aileen San Pablo-Baviera, University of the Philippines

Some countries have become wary of China’s aspiration to become a maritime power because the means pursued by the Xi Jinping government — as seen in the disputed South China Sea — appear to ignore the legitimate interests of its smaller neighbours, flout existing international norms and pose risks to regional peace and stability.

Read more…

Filipino strongman Duterte not just talk

Philippine president-elect Rodrigo Duterte speaks during his final campaign rally in Manila, Philippines, 7 May 2016. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Damien Kingsbury, Deakin University

There may be more to the Philippines’ new president Rodrigo Duterte than his tough guy image indicates. In the populist theatrics that are Filipino politics, the overwhelming election of Duterte should not have come as a surprise, even with common, but inaccurate, comparisons to the US presidential candidate Donald Trump. Read more…

India buys into deeper, if restrained, US defence ties

Indian prime minster Narendra Modi speaks as US President Barack Obama looks on during a joint press conference at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, India on 25 January 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Editors, East Asia Forum

The dream of the ‘Indo-Pacific’ idea has been peddled around New Delhi over the past few years by military enthusiasts from Canberra to Washington. But the concept of extended US naval and military power stretching across the Pacific to the Indian Ocean, with a land-stop in Australia, augmented by quadrilateral partners and allies in the region was never an easy sell. Read more…

A swell in US–India defence cooperation

Then US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel inspects a Guard of Honour before a meeting with his Indian counterpart in New Delhi, India on 8 August 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Sourabh Gupta, Institute for China–America Studies

On 10–13 April, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter paid his third visit in just 30 months to India — the seventh by a US Defense Secretary since 2008. The frequency of high-level visits reflects the prominence accorded to New Delhi within the Pentagon’s emerging strategy towards the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. Read more…

Realistic risk assessment key to fighting IS in Southeast Asia

People hold up flowers and shout ‘we are not afraid’ during a rally at the scene of a bombing attack that killed two civilians the day before, in Jakarta, Indonesia, on 15 January 2016. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Joseph Liow, RSIS

Terrorism is not a new phenomenon in Southeast Asia, but goes as far back as the era of anti-colonial struggle. It gathered pace after September 11 with a series of attacks perpetrated mostly by the Al-Qaeda linked organisation Jemaah Islamiyah. Read more…

Australia–France security ties find new depth

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull speak during a joint press conference in the Prime Ministers Courtyard at Parliament House in Canberra, 2 May 2016. Australia awarded French shipbuilder DCNS a $50 billion contract to build 12 new conventionally-powered submarines. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Sam Bateman, RSIS

Australia’s decision to award the French firm DCNS the contract to design and build new submarines for its Navy was a controversial one. DCNS will build a scaled down conventional version of its Barracuda-class nuclear submarine with all, or most, of the submarine to be built in Adelaide, South Australia. Read more…

India’s non-alignment ship hasn’t sailed yet

Author: Darshana M. Baruah, Observer Research Foundation

Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power, India has developed a distinct maritime outlook in its diplomacy and security policy. For years, there was a lack of political will to look toward India’s maritime interests. Read more…