South Asia

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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.

  • A cityscape of Shanghai

    Content

    The RAND Center for Asia Pacific Policy

    Mar 14, 2018

    The RAND Center for Asia Pacific Policy improves policy by providing decisionmakers and the public with rigorous, objective, cutting-edge research on critical policy challenges facing Asia and U.S.-Asia relations.

  • A woman holding a baby looks out of a window from a shanty in Dharavi, Mumbai, India, October 15, 2009, photo by Arko Datta/Reuters

    Commentary

    Economic Development: A Recipe for Social Cohesion in India

    Mar 16, 2020

    Given the staggering economic challenges that need attention, how might India refocus its attention away from sectarian divides to economic development? While there is no easy answer, focusing on inclusive growth and development might offer one potential route.

Explore South Asia

  • Paramilitary soldiers walk past the Pakistan Parliament building in Islamabad, Pakistan, April 10, 2015, photo by Faisal Mahmood/Reuters

    Commentary

    Negotiating with TTP—A Different Perspective

    America's withdrawal and the Taliban's swift return to power in Afghanistan could be a primary force in shaping the trajectory of the continuing armed struggle with Pakistan's Taliban. It may be time for Islamabad to consider whether to renew efforts aimed at reaching a political settlement.

    Oct 27, 2021

  • Blog

    China-Pakistan Partnership, Media Literacy, Incarcerated Parents: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the China-Pakistan partnership in light of the Taliban's rise to power, media literacy education, parenting from prison, and more.

    Sep 24, 2021

  • Taliban flags are seen on a street in Kabul, Afghanistan, September 16, 2021, photo by West Asia News Agency via Reuters

    Commentary

    China and Pakistan See Eye to Eye on the Taliban—Almost

    Beijing and Islamabad share a long history of cooperation and have much in common on Afghanistan. Both are poised to benefit strategically from the Taliban's success. But the Taliban's resurrection almost certainly will add some stress to an otherwise positive and productive bilateral partnership.

    Sep 21, 2021

  • Navy Cmdr. Ryan T. Easterday, commanding officer of the guided missile destroyer USS John S. McCain, observes from the bridge wing as the ship sails in the South China Sea, Oct. 20, 2020, photo by Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Markus Castaneda/U.S. Department of Defense

    Commentary

    Reinforcing U.S. Deterrence in the Indo-Pacific After the Fall of Afghanistan

    China and North Korea are seizing on the U.S. departure from Afghanistan to press their own political warfare messages. What can the United States do to mitigate the impact of the Taliban takeover on America's interests in the Indo-Pacific?

    Sep 3, 2021

  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken holds a news conference in New Delhi, India, July 28, 2021, photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    Commentary

    Biden's Indo-Pacific Policy Blueprint Emerges

    The Biden administration has yet to detail its goals in the Indo-Pacific region and how it plans to achieve them. But following recent virtual engagements and U.S. visits to the region, at least three key points have crystallized.

    Aug 23, 2021

  • Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and other Taliban delegation members attend the Afghan peace conference in Moscow, Russia, March 18, 2021, photo by Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool via Reuters

    Commentary

    China and the Taliban Begin Their Romance

    China is set to benefit significantly from a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. It's worth following this dynamic closely in the coming weeks and months.

    Jul 22, 2021

  • Russian President Putin addresses the audience during Moscow City Day celebrations in Moscow, Russia, September 5, 2020, photo by Sputnik/Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin via Reuters

    Report

    Confronting a More Globally Active Russia

    For the last 25 years, Russia has been focused on regaining the ability to influence actions beyond its own region. Recognizing Russia's global interests could help the United States implement its own global strategy.

    Jun 15, 2021

  • An Indian Air Force Dassault Rafale fighter

    Report

    Regional Responses to U.S.-China Competition in the Indo-Pacific: India

    This report examines the potential benefits of, and potential impediments to, partnering more closely with India in long-term strategic competition with China.

    May 24, 2021

  • India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi attends a meeting at the United Nations in New York City, New York, September 24, 2019, photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    Commentary

    India's Brittle Confidence in America

    Democracies are supposed to get along. But that has not always been the case for the United States and India. From New Delhi's perspective, there are significant irritants in U.S.-India ties. Any of these could derail an otherwise positive relationship.

    May 21, 2021

  • U.S. President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken meet virtually with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga of Japan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, and Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia at the White House in Washington, D.C., March 12, 2021, photo by Pool/ABACA via Reuters

    Commentary

    Biden Should Consider Downsides of Stressing National Values in Indo-Pacific

    The Biden administration has argued that the United States must strengthen its Indo-Pacific alliances and partnerships to compete more successfully with China. Will Washington prioritize national interests or national values?

    May 3, 2021

  • Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (R) and Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne (L) participate in the inaugural Quad leaders meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, U.S. President Joe Biden, and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in a virtual meeting in Sydney, Australia, March 13, 2021, photo by Dean Lewins/Reuters

    Commentary

    What to Expect When You're Expecting So Much from the Quad

    In March, the leaders of the United States, Japan, India, and Australia met virtually for their first Quadrilateral Security Dialogue group meeting. What are the goals of the Quad? What tangibly can or will the Quad do and what does it look like in practice?

    Mar 31, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Improving Preferential Market Access Through Rules of Origin: Firm-Level Evidence from Bangladesh

    This paper studies how rules of origin in potential export markets influence the export behavior of firms in least-developed countries.

    Mar 23, 2021

  • Exploring Workplace Financial Wellbeing Interventions

    Multimedia

    Exploring Workplace Financial Wellbeing Interventions

    Workplace financial wellbeing interventions could offer a key means for addressing rising financial concerns and mental health issues in the workplace. In this video, Christian van Stolk and Jennifer Bousfield describe their findings from an extensive analysis of British and Asian workplace survey data.

    Mar 9, 2021

  • An Indian fighter plane flies over a mountain range in Leh, in the Ladakh region, India, September 15, 2020, photo by Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

    Commentary

    Stabilizing China-India Relations in 2021: Is This Possible?

    China-India relations seem to be at their lowest point in decades. The Ladakh confrontation is fraught with the risk of escalation. But both countries have much to gain from a compromise. Leadership on both sides could help by focusing on the long-term gains in a spirit of give-and-take.

    Feb 2, 2021

  • Piles of files, photo by Ioana Davies (Drutu)/AdobeStock

    Journal Article

    Illicit Synthetic Opioid Consumption in Asia and the Pacific: Assessing the Risks of a Potential Outbreak

    While many illegally manufactured potent synthetic opioids (IMPSO) are produced in Asia, there is little evidence they have entered markets there. We consider the susceptibility to IMPSO's encroachment in markets in the Asia-Pacific region.

    Jan 26, 2021

  • News Release

    News Release

    Interest in a U.S. Grand Strategy of Restraint May Be Growing, So Advocates Need to Provide More Details

    As the Biden Administration takes over, some U.S. policymakers have expressed interest in a new approach to America's role in the world: a realist grand strategy of restraint under which the U.S. would cooperate more with other powers, reduce its forward military presence and end or renegotiate some security commitments.

    Jan 22, 2021

  • A world map puzzle with a piece on top, photo by Yuriy Panyukov/Adobe Stock

    Report

    A U.S. Grand Strategy of Restraint

    Some U.S. policymakers have expressed interest in a realist grand strategy of restraint. Under this approach, the United States would cooperate more with other powers, reduce its forward military presence, and end or renegotiate some security commitments. What are the policy implications of embarking down this path?

    Jan 21, 2021

  • Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and China's Premier Li Keqiang shake hands during a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China July 4, 2019, photo by Mark Schiefelbein/Pool via Reuters

    Commentary

    China Isn't Backing Down in South Asia

    Much to India's frustration, China's influence is on the rise across South Asia. India will probably have to work overtime, and in concert with like-minded partners such as Australia, Japan, and the United States to complicate and rein in China's successes in the region.

    Dec 30, 2020

  • People walk near India Gate on a smoggy afternoon in New Delhi, India, November 15, 2020, photo by Adnan Abidi/Reuters

    Commentary

    Curb Climate Change After COVID-19? Fast-Growing India and Brazil Are Key

    India and Brazil are facing pressure to launch recoveries after the economic devastation caused by the pandemic. Will they backslide on their Paris climate agreement commitments, or will the expected return of the United States to the pact encourage them to build a more sustainable economic future?

    Dec 15, 2020

  • An F-22 Raptor conducts a combat air patrol mission over an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, September 13, 2019, photo by MSgt. Russ Scalf/U.S. Air Force

    Research Brief

    Who Has More Influence in the Indo-Pacific, the United States or China?

    Neither the United States nor China is clearly winning the competition for influence in the Indo-Pacific region as a whole. China has more economic influence, and the United States has more diplomatic and military sway. But partners generally value economic development over security concerns.

    Nov 12, 2020