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

  • A mother and her child walk along the Ganges river during a dust storm on a hot summer day in Allahabad, India, June 9, 2015

    Commentary

    Where Are India's Heat Hotspots?

    Poverty, poor sanitation, a precarious water and electricity supply, and limited access to health care make India vulnerable to heat waves. Rural and urban districts could improve their preparedness by developing and targeting local adaptation strategies.

    May 17, 2017

  • Afghan Special Forces prepare for battle with the Taliban on the outskirts of Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand Province, Afghanistan, October 10, 2016

    Testimony

    U.S. Policy Toward Afghanistan and the Region

    Afghanistan remains a key frontline state in the struggle against terrorist groups. With that in mind, the United States should make Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan an enduring part of its counterterrorism efforts.

    Apr 27, 2017

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    Domestic Factors Could Accelerate the Evolution of China's Nuclear Posture

    This brief discusses how domestic factors could influence China's evolving nuclear deterrent.

    Apr 20, 2017

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Heat Wave Vulnerability Mapping for India

    Indexing relative variation in heat-related vulnerability across all of India can help planners, policy makers, and disaster mitigation experts target climate adaptation efforts.

    Apr 4, 2017

  • Afghan security forces take position during a gun battle between Taliban and Afghan security forces in Laghman province, Afghanistan, March 1, 2017

    Commentary

    How Trump Should Manage Afghanistan

    While media coverage has focused on Syria and Iraq, Afghanistan remains an important frontline state in the fight against terrorism. The Trump administration should aim to prevent the Taliban from overthrowing the Afghan government, encourage political reconciliation, and pursue terrorists that threaten the United States.

    Mar 21, 2017

  • Military vehicles carrying DF-26 ballistic missiles travel past Tiananmen Gate during a military parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in Beijing, September 3, 2015

    Report

    China's Evolving Approach to Nuclear Deterrence

    China's nuclear posture has been consistent since 1964. But in recent years, China has increased the numbers of its missiles and warheads and improved the quality of its force. Understanding its future nuclear direction is critical to shaping U.S. strategy.

    Mar 15, 2017

  • Dissertation

    Dissertation

    Let There Be Light: Green Industrial Policy and Energy Access in India

    Explores the competitiveness of India's domestic manufacturing across the supply chain; barriers and enablers to developing a domestic industry; and the cost of industrial policy support.

    Feb 27, 2017

  • Somali government soldiers secure the scene of an explosion in front of Dayah hotel in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, January 25, 2017

    Commentary

    U.S. Counterterrorism Strategy Must Be About More Than ISIS

    ISIS is a worthy candidate for eradication, but failing to also target its franchises, al-Qaida splinters, and other non-aligned groups in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia could allow other threats to metastasize.

    Feb 9, 2017

  • Afghan National Army soldiers inspect passengers at a checkpoint in eastern Afghanistan, June 29, 2015, after Islamic State fighters had seized territory from rival Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan for the first time

    Commentary

    The Islamic State-Taliban Rivalry in Afghanistan

    The weakening of the Islamic State is a positive step. But Taliban successes against the group have strengthened the Taliban's power, bolstered its reputation, and complicated U.S. and Afghan government efforts to wind down the Afghan war.

    Nov 28, 2016

  • U.S. President Barack Obama (right) stands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during an arrival ceremony at the White House in Washington, September 25, 2015

    Commentary

    China's Actions Are Causing U.S. 'Militarization' of the Pacific

    Beijing's aggression in the Asia-Pacific is threatening key U.S. allies, causing America to respond. Any change in U.S. policy must be based on changes in Chinese behavior.

    Nov 3, 2016

  • An Indian army soldier keeps guard from a bunker near the border with Pakistan in Abdullian, southwest of Jammu, September 30, 2016

    Commentary

    Could the Kashmir Standoff Trigger Nuclear War?

    Militants trained in Pakistan have been raiding the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir for over a quarter of a century, but the recent attack was the deadliest in years. A short-term return to peace remains uncertain and the longer term is even harder to predict.

    Oct 10, 2016

  • Students hold a placard and candles during a vigil after a terror attack on Dhaka, Bangladesh, in Agartala, India, July 3, 2016

    Commentary

    Is the Surge in Terrorist Attacks Coincidence or Coordinated Campaign?

    Whatever the investigations of recent terrorist attacks reveal, the facts may be portrayed (or ignored) to fit narratives written even before the blood has dried.

    Jul 11, 2016

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    China Ponders Post-2014 Afghanistan: Neither "All In" nor Bystander

    Since 2001, China has warily watched the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan and associated footprint in Central Asia.

    Jun 28, 2016

  • Dissertation

    Dissertation

    Deception in Covert Nuclear Weapons Development: A Framework to Identify, Analyze, and Mitigate Future Long-Term Deception Efforts

    Develops a framework to categorize observable signatures, formulate a judgement on whether long-term deception is taking place, and propose additional areas of collection that may yield evidence of in research and development.

    May 18, 2016

  • Afghan security forces keep watch after a suicide car bomb attack on a government security building in Kabul, Afghanistan, April 19, 2016

    Commentary

    The Taliban's Persistent Threat

    The United States and its NATO allies have been scaling back their military commitment in Afghanistan. The Taliban, in response, have been scaling up their operations, inflicting unprecedented heavy casualties on Afghan government forces and gaining increased control over much of the countryside.

    Apr 21, 2016

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    The Health of Aging Populations in China and India

    Our data compare health status, risk factors, and chronic diseases among people age forty-five and older in China and India.

    Feb 4, 2016

  • A laborer lifts a basket of crushed bricks at a construction site in Dhaka, Bangladesh, May 22, 2014

    Commentary

    What to Do About Informal Employment in Developing Countries

    The staying power of informal employment in developing countries is a concern, because informal employees (e.g., day laborers) tend to receive lower wages, fewer benefits, and fewer legal protections. How can policymakers improve conditions for informal workers?

    Jan 22, 2016

  • Pakistani Taliban fighters, who were arrested by Afghan border police, stand during a presentation of seized weapons and equipment in Kabul, Afghanistan, January 5, 2016

    Commentary

    Pakistan Holds the Key to Peace in Afghanistan

    Sustained and intensified U.S. pressure on Pakistan offers the only viable path to advancing the Afghan reconciliation process in a way that does not turn Afghanistan into a launching pad for terrorism and extremism.

    Jan 11, 2016

  • News Release

    News Release

    India's Interest in Southeast Asia Will Have a Significant Impact on U.S. Strategic Planning

    India's core goals for Southeast Asia are in basic harmony with those of the United States. Domestic concerns will likely prevent Prime Minister Modi from implementing his “Act East” policy as rapidly as some might wish, so America should demonstrate strategic patience and willingness to cultivate a long-term relationship with India.

    Oct 22, 2015

  • Indian security personnel on the Brahmaputra River in Guwahati, India, August 6, 2014

    Report

    India's Interest in Southeast Asia Will Have a Significant Impact on U.S. Strategic Planning

    India's core goals for Southeast Asia are in basic harmony with those of the United States. Domestic concerns will likely prevent Prime Minister Modi from implementing his “Act East” policy as rapidly as some might wish, so America should demonstrate strategic patience and willingness to cultivate a long-term relationship with India.

    Oct 22, 2015