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

    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.

    Mar 14, 2018

  • U.S. President Joe Biden holds a virtual meeting with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss Russia's war with Ukraine from the White House in Washington D.C., April 11, 2022, photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

    Commentary

    Modi's Multipolar Moment Has Arrived

    Russia's war in Ukraine has benefited India as great powers are competing more vigorously for New Delhi's affection, particularly the United States and China. India has also prevented its Russia policy from spoiling partnerships with key European and Indo-Pacific partners. These trends, if sustained, will contribute to India's rise to great-power status and in turn, shift the global system toward even greater multipolarity.

    Jun 6, 2022

Explore South Asia

  • Labourers work at a railway station construction site in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa

    Blog

    New RAND Study Examines Chinese Economic Assistance to Other Countries

    With the world's second largest economy, China has the capacity to engage in substantial programs of economic assistance and government-sponsored investments in 93 emerging-market countries.

    Sep 19, 2013

  • Report

    China's Foreign Aid and Government-Sponsored Investment Activities: Scale, Content, Destinations, and Implications

    With the world's second largest economy, China has the capacity to engage in substantial programs of economic assistance and government-sponsored investments. Researchers assessed the scale, trends, and composition of these programs in 93 emerging-market countries.

    Sep 18, 2013

  • Indian Army BMP-2 IFV combat vehicle

    Commentary

    Modernisation and Austerity

    In a time of austerity, strategic planning is about prioritisation. How should India prioritise its future military modernisation to meet its envisioned security requirements? Each of the three services can claim urgent need.

    Sep 16, 2013

  • India's Defence Minister A.K. Antony shakes hands with China's Premier Li Keqiang during a meeting at Zhongnanhai Leadership Compound in Beijing July 5, 2013

    Commentary

    Double Trouble: A Realist View of Rising Chinese and Indian Power

    Washington sees Indian power as part of the solution to the challenges posed by the rise of China, but this view underestimates the complex, sometimes inter-related challenges America will face as both Asian giants become more powerful, write George J. Gilboy and Eric Heginbotham.

    Sep 5, 2013

  • Report

    Lessons from Department of Defense Disaster Relief Efforts in the Asia-Pacific Region

    The Asia-Pacific region bears the brunt of the majority of the world's natural disasters and is home to key U.S. allies. In an effort to improve the effectiveness of such operations, this report analyzes recent HA/DR operations in Burma, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Japan, and identifies lessons that can be applied in the future.

    Jul 31, 2013

  • News Release

    News Release

    India's Rapidly Expanding Higher Education System Could Be Improved by Linking Education Quality to Funding

    India's higher education system faces challenges from underprepared faculty, unwieldy governance, and other obstacles to innovation and improvement. Instituting policies that link funding to quality could hold schools accountable for their performance, encourage greater innovation, and further the nation's education goals.

    Jul 23, 2013

  • a college lecture in India

    Report

    Linking Funding and Quality to Improve Higher Education in India

    India's higher education system faces challenges from underprepared faculty, unwieldy governance, and other obstacles to innovation and improvement. Instituting policies that link funding to quality could hold schools accountable for their performance, encourage greater innovation, and further the nation's education goals.

    Jul 23, 2013

  • india map on blackboard

    Research Brief

    Linking Funding and Quality to Improve Higher Education in India

    RAND researchers developed a course of action to help India implement policies and reforms that link higher education quality to funding to increase accountability, encourage greater innovation, and contribute to national goals.

    Jul 23, 2013

  • Pakistani community leaders from its Federally Administered Tribal Areas

    Commentary

    A Frontier on Low Boil

    Dozens of people were killed in a series of bomb blasts across Pakistan Sunday, just a week after 10 foreign mountain climbers and their Pakistani guide were shot and killed in Northern Pakistan. The attacks again demonstrated the Pakistan government's inability to prevent terrorist violence in certain areas.

    Jul 1, 2013

  • 'Remnants of an Army' by Elizabeth Butler portraying William Brydon arriving at the gates of Jalalabad as the only survivor of a 16,500 strong evacuation from Kabul in January 1842.

    Commentary

    Book Review: 'Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan, 1839–42' by William Dalrymple

    While Dalrymple's account of the British retreat is masterful, his effort to generate lessons for today is at times simplistic, writes Seth Jones. Massive social and political changes in Afghanistan make it thorny to pull many lessons from the first Anglo-Afghan war.

    Jun 26, 2013

  • Ceremony for the martyrs of the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack

    Testimony

    Lashkar-e Taiba and the Threat to the United States of a Mumbai-Style Attack

    Lashkar-e Taiba poses a grave danger to U.S. interests and citizens in South Asia, but is less of an immediate risk to the American homeland than a Mumbai-style attack — one dramatic and shocking enough to inspire widespread terror even without the use of weapons of mass destruction or a casualty-count in the thousands.

    Jun 12, 2013

  • Muslims protest terror attack on Mumbai

    Testimony

    The Threat of a Mumbai-Style Terrorist Attack in the United States

    A Mumbai-style attack is conceivable in the United States, although probably not one at anywhere near the scale of the 2008 assault in India, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Jun 12, 2013

  • Ambassador Munter Attends Pashtun Tribal Jirga in Quetta in 2011

    Commentary

    How to Negotiate Like a Pashtun

    Fortunately, the rules by which Afghans (and particularly Pashtuns) forge durable pacts may be difficult to master, but they are quite comprehensible, writes Jonah Blank.

    Jun 4, 2013

  • Nawaz Sharif billboard on Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Headquarters

    Commentary

    Preventing a Nuclear 'Great Game'

    America's imminent withdrawal from Afghanistan raises the possibility of renewed tension between Pakistan and India. With this month's election of Nawaz Sharif as Pakistan's next prime minister, Islamabad and New Delhi have a fleeting window of opportunity to improve relations.

    May 30, 2013

  • Garments factory in Bangladesh

    Commentary

    What Bangladesh — and US Retailers — Must Do to Prevent Man-Made Tragedies

    Perhaps most tragic of all are the disasters that are wholly preventable: the deaths, maimings, and crushed livelihoods that result from human callousness or indifference, writes Jonah Blank.

    May 17, 2013

  • An MQ-1C Gray Eagle unmanned aircraft

    Commentary

    Drones Are Useful, but Not the Solution or the Problem

    The effectiveness of our attacks, particularly by drones, has already decimated the al Qaeda hierarchy, writes Harold Brown. That achievement, together with the negative effect on Muslim publics of drone attacks, suggests that the rate of their usage could be moderated.

    May 16, 2013

  • A public meeting of the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML)

    Blog

    Pakistan Elections: More Continuity Than Change

    This weekend's elections in Pakistan are more likely to yield continuity than change, an outcome that could offer some opportunities for enhanced engagement between Washington and Islamabad, a pair of RAND experts told reporters on April 6.

    May 8, 2013

  • U.S. special envoy James Dobbins addresses reporters during a flag raising ceremnoy in U.S. embassy in Kabul December 17, 2001

    Blog

    A New Diplomatic Mission for James Dobbins

    President Obama named Ambassador James F. Dobbins, a veteran diplomat and the current director of the RAND International Security and Defense Policy Center, as his special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    May 7, 2013

  • Call with the Experts

    Multimedia

    Media Conference Call on Pakistan Elections

    RAND Pakistan experts Jonah Blank and Seth Jones hosted a news media conference call to discuss the May 2013 Pakistan general elections and their potential effect on U.S.-Pakistan relations. Media Relations Officer Joe Dougherty moderated the call.

    May 6, 2013

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Options for Effective Mechanisms to Support Evidence-Informed Policymaking in RMNCH in Asia and the Pacific

    This RAND Europe report looks at providing timely, reliable and high-quality evidence to inform decision-making to improve women's and children's health.

    May 1, 2013