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

  • Blog

    Russian Mercenaries, Online Extremism, the Commercial Space Market: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on Russia's use of mercenaries, understanding how extremist movements operate online, trends in the commercial space market, and more.

    Apr 15, 2022

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan during a meeting in Moscow, Russia, February 24, 2022, photo by Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik/Reuters

    Commentary

    Why Most of the Indo-Pacific Tiptoes Around Russia

    Since the start of Russia's increasingly brutal war in Ukraine, the West has ramped up pressure on the rest of the world to condemn Moscow's belligerence and join sanctions against Russia and its regime. In the vast Indo-Pacific region, however, the West's message has fallen flat.

    Apr 7, 2022

  • Report

    Report

    Competition in the Gray Zone: Countering China's Coercion Against U.S. Allies and Partners in the Indo-Pacific

    This report examines how and why China uses gray zone tactics—coercive activities beyond normal diplomacy and trade but below the use of kinetic military force—against U.S. allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific.

    Mar 30, 2022

  • Officers of the Vietnamese Marine Guard monitor a Chinese coast guard vessel in the South China Sea, about 130 miles offshore of Vietnam, May 15, 2014, photo by Nguyen Minh/Reuters

    Research Brief

    How and Why China Uses Gray Zone Tactics

    China uses a variety of gray zone tactics—coercive actions that are shy of armed conflict but beyond normal diplomatic and economic activities—to advance its objectives, particularly in the Indo-Pacific. Which tactics should the United States prioritize countering?

    Mar 30, 2022

  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, India, December 6, 2021, photo by Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times/Sipa USA via Reuters

    Commentary

    Russia Looks Less and Less Like India's Friend

    India has strong ties with Russia dating back to the Cold War. But the geostrategic winds have shifted significantly in recent years, suggesting that India might want to reconsider the benefits of close Russia ties.

    Mar 4, 2022

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    A Multicity Analysis of Daytime Surface Urban Heat Islands in India and the US

    Satellite data and various spectral indices are used to predict surface heat. Built-up indices used in the U.S. do not differentiate sparse vegetation and built-up surfaces, and thus fail in India.

    Feb 25, 2022

  • India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the 76th Session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York City, U.S., September 25, 2021, photo by Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

    Commentary

    Modi's Foreign-Policy Juggling Act

    India lives in a difficult neighborhood, and there are no easy, straightforward solutions. But thus far—and especially under Modi—India has managed its foreign-policy challenges with remarkable effectiveness. With new partners and by making some tough decisions, there is a very good chance that it will continue to do so.

    Feb 7, 2022

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Tracking the Relocation of Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh: A Nighttime Lighting Approach

    This report uses nighttime lighting data to track the relocation of Rohingya refugees from the Cox's Bazaar region of Bangladesh to Bhasan Char, a 'floating island' in the Bay of Bengal built to house roughly 100,000 refugees.

    Jan 14, 2022

  • View of Pakistan and Taliban flags at the Friendship Gate crossing point in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border town of Chaman, Pakistan, August 27, 2021, photo by Saeed Ali Achakzai/Reuters

    Commentary

    Complex Calculations Shape Pakistan-TTP Negotiations

    Pakistan sees the Taliban as a facilitator of discussions with the TTP, as an ally in persuading the TTP to negotiate, and as a guarantor of whatever agreement is reached. And given the Taliban's diplomatic isolation and desperate economic situation, Pakistan can in return assist Afghanistan's new rulers in gaining acceptance and aid.

    Dec 20, 2021

  • People walk on flooded land beside the Padma River as the flood situation worsens in Munshiganj district, on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, July 25, 2020, photo by Mohammad Ponir Hossain/Reuters

    Report

    Addressing Climate Migration

    As the effects of climate change increase in scope and severity, more people will relocate to preserve or enhance their lives and livelihoods. A review of how six countries are managing climate mobility provides options for policymakers considering the needs of climate migrants and their host communities.

    Dec 7, 2021

  • A woman casts her vote during the by-election in Port Dickson, Malaysia, October 13, 2018, photo by Lai Seng Sin/Reuters

    Report

    Democracy Remains Fragile in the Asia-Pacific

    In Asia, there has been a reduction in the number of autocracies over time but also a rise in the number of partial democracies. What makes some Asian states slide toward authoritarianism? What policies can support democratization, and how can external actors help?

    Dec 6, 2021

  • 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