The goal of this rubric is to filter and promote the recent scholarship on South Asia coming from the leading IR and Area Studies journals. The Regional Security Knowledge Hub team periodically refreshes the list, in winter, spring, summer and autumn. If you are interested in getting updates on the new content, please subscribe to our newsletter.


“Zone balancing: India and the Quad’s new strategic logic”, by Arzan Tarapore, International Affairs, 99(1): 239–257 (2023).

When a state faces a rising great power rival, it has a range of balancing options from which to choose. But a balancing state may consider many of the most common options to be either too costly or unduly provocative. Thus India, for example, considered 2020 to be a strategic watershed—with a clearly more aggressive China on the border, and a clearly more disorderly international system after the COVID pandemic—but has undertaken only modest military balancing. What alternative options do such erstwhile balancers have? This article addresses both those theoretical and empirical puzzles, by introducing the novel concept of ‘zone balancing’ as another option in a balancing state’s repertoire. Zone balancing seeks to shape the international field of competition in which the balancer and rival operate—specifically, to build the capacity and resilience of third-party states, to shrink the rival’s ability to coerce them. This article advances that concept and uses it to explain India’s post-2020 strategic adjustment, and especially its warmer embrace of the Quad—the minilateral grouping comprising Australia, India, Japan and the United States. Zone balancing effectively explains the Quad’s recently-clarified strategic logic, and predicts some of its limitations.

“Civilizational exceptionalism in international affairs: making sense of Indian and Turkish claims”, by Sebastian Haug, Supriya Roychoudhury, International Affairs, 99 (2): 531–549 (2023).

Claims to civilizational exceptionalism have long been part of how states manoeuvre international affairs. While scholarly attention has started to move beyond the civilizational claims of western powers by engaging with those of states beyond the West, few accounts provide in-depth examinations of specific cases or bring these into dialogue with one another. This article offers a comparative analysis of how and why India and Turkey are positioning themselves as civilizational forces in global forums and international cooperation initiatives. Under the Narendra Modi regime, civilizational framings in India have found expression in the seemingly benign discourse of Hindu internationalism. In Turkey, successive governments under Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have linked their engagement abroad to the legacies of the Ottoman Empire. While there are clear differences in their respective civilizational antecedents, both countries draw on a combination of moral superiority and responsibility—India as vishwaguru (the world’s guru) and Turkey as dünyanın vicdanı (the world’s conscience)—as the legitimizing base for their assumed (normative) exceptionalism on the international stage. Overall, we argue that Indian and Turkish claims to civilizational exceptionalism serve two distinct but interrelated political projects: attempts to overcome centuries-long international marginalization, and efforts to buttress competitive authoritarianism domestically.

This paper provides a critique of perspectives that see the recent global rise of right-wing populism as a direct reaction to the disastrous effects of neoliberalism. By turning attention to the uneven development of capitalism and international competition, in this paper, I present a distinction between ‘offensive’ and ‘defensive’ types of right-wing populism that take place in different zones of the world economy. Through a comparative analysis of India and Turkey, this paper discusses the particularities of the rise of ‘offensive’ populists in emerging powers of the Global South in a period of economic growth. The comparative-historical framework employed in the paper allows us to understand how the world-hegemonic crisis empowered populists by providing opportunities for upward mobility for emerging powers.

“What (Who) Is Moderate Islam for? Malaysia’s Ontological Security Seeking in the Post-September 11 Global Order”, by Nicholas Chan, Foreign Policy Analysis, 19 (2) (2023).

The popular yet ambiguous idea of moderate Islam has been treated with either interest or indifference in international relations. The interest hinges on hopes of Islamic reformism, whereas the indifference originates from a cynical view that sees moderate Islam campaigns as driven by political opportunism. These viewpoints conceptualize the idea of “moderate Islam” as exegetically rooted and seek to measure state actions based on that. This article argues that “Islamic” signifiers in the foreign policy narratives of Muslim states are better understood from the postcolonial subjectivities of their producers, who are most aware of uneven global cultural hierarchies. It demonstrates that elite Muslim narratives of moderate Islam are less about religious reformation as they are about ontological security seeking. This need for ontological security seeking by Muslim state elites stems from the historical stigmatization of Islam that is exacerbated by the Global War on Terror. Using the case of Malaysia, I highlight how discourses about moderate Islam in foreign policy operate through two mutually reinforcing discursive strategies: image building and image differentiation. Through historical and discourse analysis, I argue that both strategies contain a stigma-correction motive as they worked to craft this image of Malaysia being an exemplary “moderate” Muslim state.

“Indonesia’s hedging plus policy in the face of China’s rise and the US-China rivalry in the Indo-Pacific region”, by Dewi Fortuna Anwar, The Pacific Review, 36 (2): 351-377 (2023).

Indonesia regards the shift in the center of economic gravity to Asia, marked by the rise of China and India following the earlier Asian tigers, as a welcome phenomenon that can benefit its own economic development. However, while celebrating the economic dynamism of the Indo-Pacific region, Indonesia also views with great concern China’s assertiveness in pursuing its claims over the whole of the South China Sea, as well as the re-emergence of major power rivalry, particularly between the United States and China as the incumbent and ascending superpower respectively, which can disrupt regional stability and prosperity. With its ‘free and active’ foreign policy doctrine Indonesia adheres to non-alignment, and as a matter of principle does not take sides in any great power competition. Indonesia’s policy in managing regional uncertainty which offers both opportunities for cooperation and threats of conflicts can best be described as hedging plus to ensure both its strategic autonomy and agency. It entails engaging all sides to maximize benefits while mitigating risks at both the national level and through ASEAN. At the same time, as the world’s largest archipelagic state straddling the Indian and the Pacific oceans, and the largest member of ASEAN, Indonesia carries out middle-power diplomacy by playing a leading role in promoting ASEAN-centric inclusive and cooperative wider East Asian multilateralism, helping to shape both the institutional and normative pillars of the International Order in the Indo-Pacific.

“India and order transition in the Indo-Pacific: resisting the Quad as a ‘security community”, by Kate Sullivan de Estrada, The Pacific Review, 36 (2): 378-405 (2023).

Managing order transition in the Indo-Pacific is as much about negotiating the character of regional order as it is about mounting balance of power challenges or establishing countervailing institutional arrangements. For this reason, members of the Quad have expressed ambitions to deliver shared security on the basis of collective identity and values—though at times more in discourse than in practice. This article argues that India is actively contesting and, in some ways reconfiguring, the legitimating narratives of the Quad as an Indo-Pacific ‘security community’. Under the leadership of Narendra Modi, India has approached the socialising imperative of liberal identity cues selectively and ambivalently. More widely, India has declined to pursue an overt, collective strategy of Chinese containment and has propounded distinctive visions of regional security provision. India’s vision for liberal order in the Indo-Pacific stands apart from the ‘security community’ that the other Quad partners have enunciated in their foreign policy discourse, with consequences for the future of order transition in the Indo-Pacific.

“How the Taliban Are Losing the Peace in Afghanistan”, by Ashley Jackson, Florian Weigand, Current History, 122 (843): 143–148 (2023).

Afghanistan’s Taliban are back in power. How did they get there? How can their discriminatory policies be explained? And what can be done about it? The article looks back at the failure of international engagement in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2021 and the dynamics that enabled the Taliban to reemerge. Having gained control of the country again in August 2021, the article unpacks the way they govern and control populations, how decisions are made within the divided movement, and how its highly oppressive policies have developed. The article concludes by looking at the Taliban’s approach toward the international community and the resulting limited pathways for constructive engagement.

“Institutional Dilemma: Quad and ASEAN in the Indo-Pacific” by Koga, Kei, Asian Perspective, 47 (1): 27-48 (2023).

How is the future of the Indo-Pacific institutional arrangements envisioned by the Quad and ASEAN? Are they mutually exclusive or compatible? How can the institutional competition between the Quad and ASEAN in the Indo-Pacific be avoided? I argue that the institutional competition between the Quad and ASEAN can be provisionally alleviated through strategic ambiguities about the institutional division of labor in the Indo-Pacific. However, such strategic ambiguities do not resolve normative inconsistencies between the Quad and ASEAN, which would probably trigger institutional competition in the future. To resolve such difficulties, both the Quad and ASEAN need to create a mechanism that clarifies their regional institutional division of labor.

“Introduction: Partnership or Polarization? Southeast Asian Security between India and China”, by Laksmana, Evan A. and Byron Chong, Contemporary Southeast Asia: A Journal of International and Strategic Affairs 45 (2), 145-165, (2023).

Southeast Asian states face numerous security challenges that require the assistance of external partners. China and India, two Indo-Pacific powerhouses, could offer potential solutions but their relations with Southeast Asian states vary considerably. At the same time, escalating tensions between China and India increase the risks of their engagement with Southeast Asian states leading to greater polarization in the region. By utilizing the “”4-C Calculus””, which comprises cost, complexity, credibility and capacity, this special issue seeks to understand how Southeast Asian states evaluate China and India as potential security cooperation partners, and whether cooperation with both—together or individually—can help address the region’s security needs. The articles in this special issue employ the 4-C framework to analyse five key security concerns: defence modernization; health security; the post-coup crisis in Myanmar; humanitarian assistance and disaster relief; and maritime security. They contribute to the literature on security partnerships by providing fresh insights into our understanding of why and how smaller states partner with larger powers over shared security challenges, as well as by illustrating how certain policy considerations can influence the direction and quality of security partnerships.

“Elevated strategic partnership between India and Japan in the context of the rising power of China”, by Nadia Shaheen & Ren Mu, India Review, 22:4, 433-462 (2023).

The growing India-Japan engagements are not only focused on economic issues, but also cover a wide range of interests, including regional security, political, and maritime security concerns. Both countries are consolidating strategic partnerships to address the risks and vulnerabilities posed by the evolving regional balance of power. Through their embeddedness with China, both India and Japan form an intrinsic part of the Indo-Pacific geopolitical security architecture. The key transformation of relations between these two states in the region is in response to the geopolitical change brought about by China’s rapid ascension. In this regard, the article further explains how both countries are systematically strengthening a strategic partnership and gradually reinforcing economic, political, security, and strategic cooperation against China. This article seeks to address how both states would restrain rising China’s strategic maneuvering in the Indo-Pacific region through an analysis of the India-Japan alignment, with the main focus of this study being on analyzing how both India and Japan are now investing in a long-term strategy to balance China’s hegemonic policies.

“Abandoning Hedging: Reconsidering Southeast Asian Alignment Choices”, by Hunter S. Marston, Contemporary Southeast Asia: A Journal of International and Strategic Affairs 45 (1): 55-81 (2023).

In the face of intensifying strategic competition between the United States and China, most Southeast Asian states continue to prefer hedging strategies in an effort to maintain autonomy and flexibility. This involves deepening ties with both superpowers rather than siding with one or the other. Many studies have focused on why and how states hedge, but no scholarly analysis to date has considered why a state would abandon hedging even when it is not facing a direct security threat. While structural realist factors such as external security threats and economic rewards remain significant determinants for alignment decisions, this article demonstrates that internal threats can also compel states to abandon hedging in favour of bandwagoning. The article examines two case studies, Cambodia and Myanmar, to demonstrate how autocratic rulers in those two countries have stopped hedging and opted for closer alignment with Beijing in order to bolster regime security. In both cases, political leaders have prioritized personal interests and regime survival over national interests.

“Framing ASEAN’s Cooperation with India and China over Myanmar Post-coup: A Strategic Resourcing Framework”, by Monalisa Adhikari, Contemporary Southeast Asia: A Journal of International and Strategic Affairs, 45 (2):216-245 (2023).

The ASEAN-led Five-Point Consensus (5PC) framework calls for an immediate end to violence, dialogue among all parties and the provision of humanitarian assistance to address the post-coup political crisis in Myanmar. Such endeavours have yet to deliver concrete outcomes. However, this article argues that there is an opportunity for ASEAN to work with India and China through a framework of “”strategic resourcing”” to break the impasse. Strategic resourcing does not seek to foster a trilateral framework between ASEAN, India and China but seeks to take advantage of the comparative strengths of the two states across two thematic domains, both of which are critical for the implementation of the 5PC: (1) using Indian and Chinese borderlands to establish humanitarian corridors to deliver aid, and (2) using the economic, political and normative leverage that India and China possess over different political constituencies in Myanmar to bring an immediate end to the violence and to foster dialogue for a long-term solution. This article explores the prospects of that process as well as the institutional mechanisms that ASEAN could wield to cooperate with India and China through the strategic resourcing framework. It also explains some of the framework’s limitations. Conceptually, “”strategic resourcing”” adds to and differentiates from the dominant framework of “”hedging””, which has been mooted as an explanation for ASEAN’s international security cooperation. Practically, the article charts policy options to strengthen and reform the current 5PC format, notably on the framework of the proposed dialogue process.

This article studies China’s and Pakistan’s key interests in Afghanistan, and their mutual cooperation to pursue them. It identifies security, energy, connectivity and geopolitics as China’s main interests. Get recognition of the Durand Line as an international border with Afghanistan, prevention of ‘hostile elements’ from using Afghan territory and access to the CARs as those of Pakistan’s motives. Both sides cooperated with each other on Afghanistan under the umbrella of their strategic partnership. Islamabad helped in establishing initial Taliban-China contacts and persuaded the Taliban for negotiations with the USA and Kabul authorities. Beijing supported Islamabad’s Afghan policy and mediated between Islamabad–Kabul and Taliban–Kabul negotiations. China and Pakistan backed their diplomacy with economic assistance and extended CPEC and BRI to Afghanistan. Amidst various challenges, thus far Sino-Pakistan cooperation on Afghanistan has benefited to their mutual interests and contributed to the peace process. Afghanistan has emerged as a new chapter of their relationship. How Sino-Pakistan cooperation advances in this troubled country in future is yet to be seen.

“Russia–Pakistan Relations and the Constraints of Geoeconomics”, by Christopher Clary, Asian Survey 62 (5-6): 838–865 (2022).
Russia–Pakistan relations have improved since the end of the Cold War. While that trend is likely to continue, Russia is unlikely to transform Pakistan’s difficult strategic circumstances. Russia is insufficiently wealthy to provide enough aid and investment to revitalize Pakistan’s economy. Russia is also too concerned with maintaining access to the Indian defense market to increase defense sales to Pakistan more than modestly. This article reviews what I call the constraints of geoeconomics, where the relatively small size of the Russian and Pakistani economies combines with the considerable distance between them to limit Russian–Pakistani ties despite periodic official interest in deepening them. It situates these current obstacles in the context of the historic Soviet–Pakistani relationship, which was similarly constrained by distance, great power politics, and Indian concerns.

“Violence and insurgency in Kashmir: Understanding the Micropolitics”, by Iymon Majid, India Review, 21 (4-5): 576-598, (2022).

One of the longest-surviving insurgent groups fighting the Indian state in the disputed region of Jammu and Kashmir is Hizb ul Mujahedeen. It has been linked with the Kashmiri offshoot of the Islamist organization Jama’at e Islami and has been called its armed wing. By looking at the degree of involvement of Jama’at e Islami in the Kashmir insurgency and its relationship with Hizb, the article focuses on existing organization structures. Existing structures affect the effectiveness of the insurgent group. More specifically, the paper inverts the focus from Jama’at e Islami as the political front of Hizb ul Mujahedeen and argues that the latter, in a clear understanding of the ‘micropolitics of rebellion,’ used the former to organize themselves. This article also investigates the militantization of Jama’at e Islami – a perception that its political program is inherently violent – because of its association with the insurgency.

“Between Independence and Autonomy: The Changing Landscape of Ethno-nationalist Movements in Pakistan”, by Rafiullah Khan, Nationalities Papers 50 (4): 643 – 660 (2022).

Since its inception, Pakistan has faced challenges of ethnic-nationalism from her ethnicities. State efforts to mold these diverse identities into one communal Muslim identity have been continually resisted by the different nationalities comprising Pakistan. The demands of ethno-national movements have fluctuated between independence and autonomy, depending upon the relation between the state and the respective ethnic group. Sometimes the demand for autonomy has expanded into a desire for independence, as was the case with Bengali ethnic nationalism. At other times, the desire for independence has shrunk to a demand for autonomy, as manifested by Pashtun nationalism. This shift is explicated through the relationship between the state and ethnic groups. The author analyzes this shift through the prism of Paul Brass’s instrumental theory of elite competition. The factors that contributed to the success of Bengali nationalism in achieving statehood and the failure of Baloch nationalism to do so are viewed through Ted Gurr’s concept of relative deprivation. The integration of Sindhi and Pashtun ethnic groups into the state structure is explained via Andreas Wimmer’s notion of ownership of the state.

“How not to deal with a rising China: a perspective from south Asia”, by Amitabh Mattoo, International Affairs 98 (5), 1653–1675, (2022).

Debates on China’s rise often limit the focus on the continuity and sustenance of the United States’ hegemony and the liberal global order. This debate often ignores the primacy of the regional actors, who are generally reduced to ‘pawns’ in great power politics, acting without agency, interests, or values of their own. Instead, this article suggests that as China rises—like any other great power of the past—it will first aim to secure regional primacy through an array of policy instruments. To test this it examines three case-studies: 1) China–Pakistan relations in nuclear proliferation; 2) China–India relations with respect to border conflict; and 3) Sri Lanka–China relations for development infrastructure. It finds that China’s rise has not been benign and instead Beijing has adopted aggressive policies in its neighbourhood. This article finds that the strategic binary of balancing (interest-based containment) and engagement (constructive cooperation) does not reflect immediate realities and long-term sustainability for regional actors. Instead, it suggests the latter would be better advised looking for closer cooperation with like-minded allies in the region (and beyond) as a way forward.


“The Charitable Terrorist: State Capacity and the Support for the Pakistani Taliban”, by Federico Masera and Hasin Yousaf, Journal of Conflict Resolution 66 (7–8), 1174–1207 (2022).
Violent organizations are often providers of many social services in competition with the state. We provide evidence that these organizations use the provision of social services to gain support. This strategy is only effective when it fills the void left by a weak state. We show this by studying the provision of natural disaster relief by the Pakistani state and the Taliban. We first analyze the floods of 2010 that received an inadequate response from the government and show that support for the Taliban increased in the areas affected by the flood. These effects were concentrated in places where the Taliban likely provided help and where the state under-delivered. We then study the 2005 earthquake that instead received a swift government response and show that the Taliban lost support in the affected areas. Results cannot be explained by alternate mechanisms as anger against incumbents, political competition, electoral participation, and religiosity.
“When Home Disappears: South Asia and the Growing Risk of Climate Conflict”, by Andrea Malj, Laurabell Obana & Cidney Hopkins, Terrorism and Political Violence 34 (5): 939-957, (2022).

This article highlights the multiple risks of political violence facing South Asia amid the backdrop of climate change. Specifically, it draws attention to Bangladesh and its shared border with Northeast India, a region with a long history of terrorism and insurgency. As the impact from climate change intensifies, there are several specific vulnerabilities in the region. First, internal migration within Bangladesh threatens to stress already weak infrastructures, especially in urban centers like Dhaka, which already hosts thousands of climate migrants. Internal rural-to-rural migration may further instigate clashes among farmers as they compete for diminishing agricultural resources. Second, cross-border migration from Bangladesh into India threatens to escalate existing tensions between Indians and Bangladeshi migrants, particularly in Northeast India. Violent identity movements within Northeast India are already common and a key grievance has been Bangladeshi presence in the region. These grievances have historically escalated into multiple separatist and terrorist organizations and threaten to escalate again. Hindu nationalist groups threaten to further exploit these existing tensions for political gain. Third, Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh are situated in a location that is at very high-risk for climate disasters. Cyclones and flooding threaten to create a new humanitarian crisis in the region. Finally, both Hindu and Islamic extremist groups may exploit grievances and utilize it for recruitment efforts. Together, these factors make South Asia particularly vulnerable to climate impacts. Using GIS, we map the climate vulnerable areas of Bangladesh alongside locations that have experienced fatal political violence from 2015–2020. We find that each administrative division faces its own unique challenges, but urban centers, areas near water, and border regions are the most vulnerable to climate conflict.

“Beyond India and China: Bhutan as a Small State in International Relations”, by Nitasha Kaul, International Relations of the Asia-Pacific 22 (2), 297–337, (2022).

This article makes a novel contribution to the literature on Bhutan’s International Relations (IR) by shifting the focus away from an exclusively India–China framing. First, it points out how small states are increasingly salient but under-studied in IR and how non-European non-island states like Bhutan are even more so, and why we gain by addressing this. Second, it shows how the conventional study of Bhutan has solely focused on its friendship with India and the threat to it/this from China, and why it is important that these conventional narratives be critically examined. In doing so, we perceive the endogenous drivers of Bhutan’s foreign policies, for instance via Bhutan’s stance on the Doklam issue. Third, going beyond the three typical determinants (economic factors, bilateral relations with India, and threats from China), the article provides two additional axes of understanding Bhutan’s foreign policies – bridging of attributional distances and learning from experience.

Autumn 2021


India’s security dilemma: engaging big powers while retaining strategic autonomy, by Alexey D. Muraviev, Dalbir Ahlawat, Lindsay Hughes, International Politics, published online 4 September 2021.

Abstract: India currently faces a security dilemma specifically because of the rise of China, Russia’s strategic convergence with China, and the US’s indeterminate Indo-Pacific policy stance. To overcome this dilemma, India’s shift from non-alignment to strategic autonomy poses several questions about its future strategic orientation, notably: Will India enter into a formal alliance with the USA, will India continue to engage China, will India retain close historical relations with Russia or will it more robustly pursue its ‘Act East’ policy? This article attempts a critical analysis of the different strategic options available to India and argues that while entering into a quasi-alliance with the USA, it will retain its strategic autonomy. India could simultaneously retain relations with Russia, China and the ASEAN. However, to the extent possible, its tendency will be to support a multipolar-Asia paradigm rather than a zero-sum alliance system to play a leading role in international fora.


Singapore Comes to Terms with its Malay Past: The Politics of Crafting a National History, by Michael D. Barr, Asian Studies Review, published online 16 September 2021.

Abstract: Ethnic tensions were central to Singapore’s birth as an independent republic, and they left the government in a quandary: how to talk about the country’s history when its birth was mired in contention between its dominant Chinese population and its large Malay minority? The surprising answer to this dilemma involved crafting a new national narrative that started in 1819, with the arrival of British imperialism. This move had the intended effect of excluding earlier centuries of Malay agency completely from the record, thus delegitimising the claims of one of the main communities in contention. The key element in the construction of the new national narrative was the implicit acceptance of colonial claims about Singapore’s achievements during the colonial era: that they were British achievements, building upon terra nullius. This mythology gave no credit or recognition to the Malays who had lived and traded in the region and on the island for centuries. This article explores the shifting politics of Singapore’s official historiography, paying particular attention to the role of scholars and education professionals in facilitating and reforming the national narrative. It posits that academic collaboration has been an overlooked feature of Singapore’s national myth-making.


The Emergence of Populist Nationalism and ‘Illiberal’ Peacebuilding in Sri Lanka”, by DB Subedi, Asian Studies Review, published online 7 October 2021.

Abstract: This article examines Sri Lanka’s ‘illiberal’ peacebuilding through the lens of what is referred to as populist nationalism, a distinct form of post-war political order characterised by nationalist politics with a populist orientation. It shows that the notion of ‘victor’s peace’ has facilitated a shift from ethnolinguistic nationalism to populist nationalism. It identifies three interrelated dimensions of populist nationalism – leadership, new social polarisation, and the narratives of crisis and securitisation. This analytical framework is applied to discern how and why ‘illiberal’ peacebuilding emerged in post-war Sri Lanka. The article argues that populist nationalism and ‘illiberal’ peacebuilding have a symbiotic relationship. Populist nationalism provided political justifications to legitimise ‘illiberal’ peacebuilding, which, in return, empowered the war victors, disempowered conflict victims, and enabled populist-nationalist leaders to manipulate peacebuilding resources to consolidate power. Emerging as a leader-centric political discourse, populist nationalism is reinforced by new social polarisations and securitisation, which further deepens social conflicts.


Women’s Political Participation in Post-conflict Settings: The Case of Timor-Leste”, by Sara Niner, Deborah Cummins, Selver B. Sahin, Stella Mulder, Emily Morrison, Asian Studies Review, published online 22 September 2021.

Abstract: Tackling gender gaps in political representation is a key pillar of peace building and development interventions in conflict-affected environments, which has been addressed using special measures (e.g., gender quotas and reserved seats). We argue that although this is a necessary first step, these interventions privilege descriptive or quantitative indicators that may not equate to the substantive participation of women. Instead, a focus on qualitative transformation of deeply entrenched inequitable social structures is required. Our argument is illustrated by the case study of Timor-Leste, where control of political institutions is held by a small group of privileged, male leaders, legitimised by a rigidly defined social hierarchy. We argue that any special measures need to be accompanied by social change that provides equality of opportunity for participants within political parties, political institutions and electoral systems. By providing this analysis the article aims to contribute to the discussion of the ways in which gendered structural limitations can be better identified and addressed to promote more effective participation by women in politics in post-conflict settings.


From securitization to security complex: climate change, water security and the India–China relations”, by Anjan Kumar Sahu, Surinder Mohan, International Politics, published online 28 May 2021.

Abstract: Interstate and intrastate linkage of water security and climate change in India and China has significantly impacted the two states’ relations, particularly over their shared transboundary river water. Being an upstream riparian state, China enjoys an advantageous position that extends it a significant edge to regulate the flow of the Brahmaputra River. China’s unilateral moves to build dams, and unwillingness to negotiate any water sharing agreement with the downstream neighbor or agreeing to have bilateral/regional bodies for effective transboundary water governance of the river, raise serious water security concerns for the Indian policymakers. By employing ‘securitization’ and ‘security complex’ theories, we argue that the securitization of climate change policy at the national level—particularly in the domain of water—not only increases the prospects of conflict formation and security dilemma between India and China but also draws them into traditional security complex that diminishes their prospects to secure a negotiated transboundary river water sharing agreement in the near future.


India’s multi-alignment management and the Russia–India–China (RIC) triangle, by Frank O’Donnell, Mihaela Papa, International Affairs 97 (3): 801–822 (2021).

Abstract: In its Eurasian diplomacy toward Russia and China, India has preferred to engage these states bilaterally and through the Brazil–Russia–India–China–South Africa (BRICS) and Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) multilateral alignments. By contrast, India views the Russia–India–China (RIC) triangle as a less effective mechanism. However, despite its ongoing militarized crisis with China in the spring/summer of 2020, India surprisingly agreed to participate in a meeting of RIC foreign ministers and initiate RIC defence ministers’ engagements. India also initiated the revival of RIC summits in 2018. This article analyzes the drivers for India’s recent shift toward enhancing RIC. Drawing upon Indian policy statements and alignment documents, the article firstly argues that India generates policy agenda overlaps across RIC, BRICS and SCO, which facilitate forum-shopping. Introducing the case-study of Indian counterterrorism diplomacy across the three alignments, the article secondly argues that Indian dissatisfaction with its progress in advancing a security policy agenda within one grouping leads it to refocus on building this agenda in alternative alignments. This article contributes to conceptualizing multi-alignment management, while providing new insights into Indian relations with Russia and China within multilateral institutions and diplomacy in the era of regime complexity.



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