South Asia

Bordered by the Himalayas in the north and Afghanistan in the west, South Asia consists primarily of India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. RAND research in the region is wide-ranging, focusing on security concerns and nuclear proliferation, economic development and labor market dynamics, child and family well-being, and health and education systems.

  • U.S. President Barack Obama and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi wave before their meeting at Hyderabad House, New Delhi, January 25, 2015

    Commentary

    U.S.-India Relations: Will the Obama-Modi Personal Chemistry Suffice?

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in India has generated generally positive reactions from analysts. These judgments will be reinforced if the leaders' current chemistry changes Indo-U.S. policy for the better.

    Feb 3, 2015

  • U.S. President Barack Obama and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the gardens of Hyderabad House in New Delhi, January 25, 2015

    Commentary

    The Afterparade: No Breakthroughs — and That's Just Fine

    President Obama's visit to India last week was hailed in many quarters as a landmark event, perhaps signaling a new era of cooperation. In reality, the concrete takeaways were quite modest: there was no breakthrough on climate change, trade, or civil nuclear liability. But the trip should nonetheless be judged a success.

    Feb 2, 2015

  • Sri Lanka's newly elected President Maithripala Sirisena arrives for his swearing-in ceremony in Colombo, January 9, 2015

    Commentary

    In Sri Lanka, Elections Could Signal New Opportunities

    With the inauguration of President Maithripala Sirisena in Sri Lanka, both the United States and India have an opportunity to influence reconciliation between the country's Tamils and Sinhalese. But if that influence is used unwisely, the result may be the same sort of aggressive Sinhalese nationalism that propelled Mahinda Rajapaksa to power a decade ago.

    Jan 27, 2015

  • Two Indian college students outdoors

    Commentary

    Building a Sound Technical and Vocational Education and Training System

    Technical and vocational education and training in India has expanded significantly over the past two decades. But quality and relevance remain significant issues. What may be learned from other countries' experiences?

    Dec 31, 2014

  • Report

    Essays on Family Welfare and Indian Development Policy

    Explores family welfare and economic development in India.

    Dec 16, 2014

  • Supporters of the Pakistan Muslim League (N) party cheer their leader, Nawaz Sharif (not pictured), during a campaign rally in Islamabad, Pakistan, May 2013

    Report

    Drivers of Long-Term Insecurity and Instability in Pakistan

    Already one of the most urbanized nations in South Asia, Pakistan is projected to have a majority of its population living in cities within three decades. Researchers examine Pakistan's increasing urbanization as a potential driver of long-term insecurity and instability, with particular attention to the cities of Karachi, Lahore, and Quetta.

    Oct 30, 2014

  • A supporter of the 'Yes' campaign stands outside a polling station during the referendum on Scottish independence in Pitlochry, Scotland, September 18, 2014

    Commentary

    Will Scotland's Vote Spur Separatism in Asia?

    Scotland's vote could be a step toward disrupting the historical pattern of independence being won by force, not granted after a vote. This was the paradigm of the past, and it remains the paradigm of the present. But the vote in Scotland just might help set a new roadmap for the future.

    Sep 22, 2014

  • India's Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel march during a rehearsal for the Republic Day parade in New Delhi, January 4, 2013

    Commentary

    Let's Talk About Kashmir

    When U.S. combat troops have withdrawn from Afghanistan in December 2014, and training units follow two years later, the dynamics that once turned northern India's Kashmir into both a target and an incubator of global terrorism may return. This would threaten U.S. security, as well as that of the region.

    Sep 8, 2014

  • Youth leaders for the NGO Jatan Sansthan's youth program

    Commentary

    Women's Menstrual Hygiene in India: The Health and Environmental Implications

    According to India's 2011 census, 89 percent of the nation's rural population lives in households that lack toilets. This absence of proper sanitation presents public health challenges and affects Indian women disproportionately.

    Aug 22, 2014

  • Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping shake hands before the opening ceremony of the fourth Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia summit in Shanghai May 21, 2014

    Report

    China's Strategy Toward South and Central Asia

    China's response to the complex challenges on its western borders during the past two decades has been to adopt an "Empty Fortress" strategy, whereby China boldly projects an image of considerable strength in Central and South Asia to mask serious frailty. China is not a major threat to U.S. interests there and is unlikely to pose one in the near future.

    Aug 11, 2014

  • Two Indian men working in a textile shop

    Project

    Mapping the Diversity of Employment Interventions in South Asia

    RAND Europe has been commissioned by the World Bank to conduct a stocktaking exercise to map the diversity of employment interventions in South Asia. In addition, RAND will conduct a scoping review of international evidence on the impact of interventions.

    Jun 18, 2014

  • U.S. Vice President Joe Biden meets students at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) campus at Powai in Mumbai

    Commentary

    Four Approaches to Improve Higher Education in India Through Policies

    In India, university enrolment has grown from 10 to 23 million from 2000 to 2013, and so has interest in improving access and quality. A review of research on higher-education policies on affirmative action, financial aid, private education, and vocational education identifies gaps in research on improving access and quality.

    Jun 12, 2014

  • Affordable housing in India

    Project

    Socio-Economic Effects of Affordable Housing on the Working Poor of India

    RAND examined the socio-economic effects of affordable housing on the working poor of India.

    May 30, 2014

  • The Dinesh Nagar housing complex on the outskirts of New Delhi

    Report

    The Effects of Moving to Permanent Dwellings on India's Working Poor

    In India, low-cost housing projects like the Ashray Affordable Housing Pilot may help the working poor and their families improve their living conditions, while still allowing developers to recover their costs.

    May 30, 2014

  • Narendra Modi waves during a youth event organized by India's Citizens for Accountable Governance.

    Commentary

    A Milder Modi?

    India has never had an election like this one—and its political landscape will likely never be the same again. Narendra Modi, India's most polarizing political figure in a generation, will become prime minister with a virtually unchecked mandate.

    May 19, 2014

  • Hindu saints stand in line to cast their votes at a polling station in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad April 30, 2014

    Commentary

    India Votes — and What It Might Mean for the United States

    If elected, Modi could turn out to be the politician that India's Congress accuses him of being, focusing on an internal agenda that discourages foreign engagement. The U.S. would no doubt prefer that he follow the economic course he charted in Gujarat.

    May 5, 2014

  • A man on a donkey-pulled cart transports an auto-rickshaw for repair in Lahore, Pakistan

    Project

    Pakistan Urban Sector Assessment

    RAND is examining the trends and implications of rapid urbanization in Pakistan. The analysis leads to recommendations for policies to enhance productivity and economic growth in urban areas.

    Apr 18, 2014

  • Mumbai city skyline

    Project

    South Asia Regional Trade and Investment Policy

    RAND identified and assessed the role of political economy and non-tariff factors that have impeded regional integration, and developed policy recommendations to promote regional integration in South Asia.

    Apr 18, 2014

  • A suicide car bomb hit two diplomatic vehicles entering the Indian Embassy in Kabul on July 7, 2008

    Commentary

    Book Review: A Reporter Analyzes the Driving Role of Pakistan in the Afghan War

    With its focus on Pakistan, Gall's “The Wrong Enemy” is a valuable contribution to a body of work on the American war in Afghanistan that has become stale and hackneyed. It provides a raw, unvarnished look at one of the darkest and least understood parts of the war.

    Apr 11, 2014

  • Two Indian men working in a textile shop

    Content

    Causes and Consequences of the "Missing Middle" of Manufacturing Firms in India

    This project examined the "missing middle" in India—the fact that employment is concentrated in very small and very large firms, with few mid-sized firms. In particular, the project aimed to examine the employment size distribution of firms in India, explain its causes, and identify the consequences for firm productivity in the manufacturing sector.

    Apr 4, 2014