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Harsh V Pant
Articles by Harsh V Pant

China is challenging India in the Indian Ocean Region

This has been a longstanding policy of China, but more recently, Beijing has been perturbed by New Delhi’s proactive push in China’s periphery along the wider Indo-Pacific. Beijing is attempting to portray itself as the new leader in the emerging multipolar world

n November 21, the Communist Party of China’s China International Development Cooperation Agency launched its first-ever Indian Ocean Region Forum. The latest development indicates Beijing’s keenness to institutionalise its influence in IOR and challenge India’s status quo in its backyard. (Shutterstock)
Updated on Dec 02, 2022 08:55 PM IST
ByHarsh V Pant and Aditya Gowdara Shivamurthy

What do the young think of India’s foreign policy?

The young respondents of The ORF Foreign Policy Survey displayed a sophisticated understanding of India’s foreign policy and the evolving world order

Despite India’s rising stakes in the new world order, young people attached strategic importance to India’s neighbourhood. (Shutterstock)
Published on Nov 12, 2022 08:33 PM IST

Don’t have unrealistic demands from Sunak

The bilateral relationship is growing due to a newfound convergence in their strategic orientation. Let’s not burden Sunak with unrealistic expectations.

With his cabinet formation, Sunak tried to provide a sense of stability by bringing various factions together. He continued with three key cabinet positions from the Truss administration — Jeremy Hunt as chancellor, James Cleverly as foreign secretary and Ben Wallace as defence secretary — ensuring much-needed continuity in policymaking. (Bloomberg)
Updated on Oct 30, 2022 07:28 PM IST

Xi’s Taiwan policy has a message for the world

Xi has sounded the bugle that Taiwan will continue to be the most important fault line in his global engagement. The rest of the world, including India, must assess the implications of this development with a degree of seriousness

China's President Xi Jinping gives a speech during the opening session of the 20th Chinese Communist Party's Congress at the Great Hall of the People, Beijing, October 16, 2022 (AFP)
Published on Oct 17, 2022 08:19 PM IST

India is at the heart of global governance shifts

At a time of unprecedented global flux, new structures of global governance will emerge and India is at the heart of most of these. This is a transformative moment in global politics, and in Indian foreign policy aspirations.

Jaishankar showcased India’s multilateral record at the UN by highlighting its term as a member of the Security Council this year where it focused on issues such as maritime security, peacekeeping and counterterrorism. (ANI)
Published on Sep 29, 2022 06:42 PM IST

Delhi-Dhaka ties have entered a new golden age

The robust India-Bangladesh ties has helped India to claim its links with East and Southeast Asia and ensure its role as a key interlocutor in the Indo-Pacific strategic architecture. Dhaka should be willing to go the extra mile to help Bangladesh achieve its true potential

ilateral ties are doing well and are on a strong footing. But beyond MoUs and pacts, there is genuine warmth for Sheikh Hasina in India across segments and that was reflected in her outreach engagements. Her investment in India has been significant and paid off despite some in her country deriding her as a ‘proxy of India’ (PTI)
Updated on Sep 09, 2022 07:43 PM IST

Ukraine war: The global order is being reshaped

A new era of great power politics is playing out among Russia, China, and the United States as the conflict in Ukraine drags on. India will have to make tough choices

In recent days, the focus has shifted to Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant, Zaporizhzhia, where shelling by the two sides has fuelled fears of a potential nuclear disaster. (Reuters)
Published on Aug 28, 2022 07:43 PM IST

Taiwan: Beijing’s growing belligerence is a warning

The message to countries in East and Southeast Asia, as well as India, is clear: Be ready for Beijing’s military intimidation if its unilateral alterations in the status quo are resisted.

And so, the pressure on Taiwan has been ramped up by imposing economic sanctions, launching missiles over the island and military drills that simulated an attack on Taiwan and its forces. (Reuters)
Published on Aug 11, 2022 08:28 PM IST

S Asia is in a flux. India must show leadership

New Delhi’s leadership during the Covid-19 crisis has generated a new sense of expectation and the multiple crises brewing in the neighbourhood should also be seen as an opportunity to project an India that takes its regional responsibilities with the seriousness they deserve

Amid this rising regional turmoil, India has a tough task ahead. It has to first ensure that its economic fundamentals remain strong, and it continues to remain on an upward growth trajectory. (Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Jul 29, 2022 08:33 PM IST

Abe leaves behind a formidable legacy

The former PM’s vision was focused on reaffirming Japan’s place in the world. He revitalised the economy, fought hard to reverse the nation’s pacifist stance and gave the world the construct of the Indo-Pacific

There are few capitals that will miss Abe’s steady hand more than New Delhi. While a number of his predecessors pushed for closer ties with India, Abe placed New Delhi at the heart of Japan’s strategy for Asia and the Indo-Pacific. New Delhi and Tokyo upgraded the status of their bilateral partnership and articulated a joint vision for the future of the region (PTI)
Updated on Jul 10, 2022 08:59 PM IST
ByHarsh V Pant and Shashank Mattoo

The G7 is one part of India’s pursuit of a multipolar world

At a time when the world order is intensely polarised, India remains one of the few nations which can engage with both the G-7 and BRICS in a matter of days with élan.

This summit saw leaders achieve seeming unity on the Russia-Ukraine issue, but it’s unclear how long it will last. (File Photos)
Published on Jun 29, 2022 08:22 PM IST

Afghanistan: India must make its presence felt

Greater engagement with the Taliban will create new possibilities for India as other regional players such as China, Russia and Iran look for ways to step up their engagement

A vendor pushes a wheelbarrow loaded with melons at a market in Kabul on June 15, 2022 (AFP)
Updated on Jun 16, 2022 09:00 PM IST

Beyond summits, Quad must deliver quickly

It seized the moment to create a front against China. But long-term sustenance will depend on timeliness of delivery

Quad is a coalition of four like-minded nations with ‘trust’ being the operative variable that not only converges on a range of issues, but also has the capability to convert their aspirations into operational realities. (Reuters)
Published on May 26, 2022 06:40 PM IST

Why is the West wooing New Delhi?

The West, often used to a pontificating India of the past, today hears an Indian voice that is capable of articulating a narrative of a responsible stakeholder that is firmly steeped in its own ethos

Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets the members of the Indian community in Copenhagen, Denmark. Prime Minister of Denmark Mette Frederiksen is also seen (PTI)
Updated on May 04, 2022 10:29 PM IST

2+2 meet: Delhi and DC are seeking new opportunities

India and the US have underscored their commitment to continue to build on the momentum of recent years and not lose sight of the larger strategic picture

(From left to right) Defence minister Rajnath Singh, external affairs minister S Jaishankar, US secretary of state Antony Blinken and US defence secretary Lloyd Austin, in Washington. (PTI)
Updated on Apr 14, 2022 06:09 PM IST

Wang visit: Beijing is not reassessing its India policy

It’s still about targeting India’s vulnerabilities — be it making common cause with Pakistan on Kashmir or with the Taliban in Afghanistan. 

Wang Yi’s visit would seem curious only to those who have no understanding of how China operates. 
Updated on Mar 29, 2022 08:09 PM IST

Delhi must review ties with Moscow

The Ukraine war shows India-Russia ties lack breadth, the Russia-China axis will grow more, and India’s relations with the West will rise. India must acknowledge these shifts to deal with the new order better

The Ukrainians are fighting back hard under President Volodymyr Zelensky’s inspiring leadership but they must be wondering if the lure of the West was a chimera that needed a more realistic appraisal (AFP)
Updated on Mar 16, 2022 08:18 PM IST

India must think of reconfiguring its ties with Russia

Through its actions in Ukraine, Russia has challenged the global order in fundamental ways and India’s foreign policy won’t be immune from its reverberations

India has been trying its best to keep Russia in good humour but the structural realities of the global order are ensuring that Russia and India are drifting apart. The foundations of the partnership are weakening by the day. (Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)
Published on Feb 25, 2022 06:48 PM IST

Indo-Pacific: How India is countering China

S Jaishankar’s visit to the Philippines from the Quad summit also showcased India’s willingness to more proactively shape the strategic contours of the Indo-Pacific

External affairs minister S Jaishankar’s visit to the Philippines from the Quad summit also showcased India’s willingness to more proactively shape the strategic contours of the Indo-Pacific. (ANI)
Updated on Feb 16, 2022 07:07 PM IST
ByHarsh V Pant

Biden is flailing. And it can affect India-US ties

America needs a strong India in the Indo-Pacific as a partner. And India, too, needs an America that can sort its internal challenges to be able to pay attention to strategic realities

This domestic vulnerability of Biden is making a hash of his foreign policy agenda. His adversaries have got the measure of him and they have found him wanting. (Bloomberg)
Updated on Feb 02, 2022 08:07 PM IST
ByHarsh V Pant

The US-Russia tango, and the Indo-Pacific

Stability in Russia-US ties will alleviate pressure on India at a time when the rise of China has changed the geopolitical calculus for the Indo-Pacific

Through its recent diplomatic moves, Moscow is hinting that it wants to move out of the looming shadow of China, and accommodation with the West might go a long way in realigning Russian foreign policy priorities (AP)
Updated on Jan 06, 2022 08:05 PM IST
ByHarsh V Pant

Delhi-Dhaka: A model for the neighbourhood

The relationship has its roots in history, but both States have ensured continuous engagement, crucial for contemporary South Asian relations

Connectivity has been a vital aspect of the relations. Both States have perceived it as a means to promote mutual economic growth and counter China’s growing assertiveness (Mohd Zakir/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Dec 20, 2021 08:09 PM IST
ByHarsh V Pant and Aditya Gowdara Shivamurthy

Amid great power competition, what Delhi and Moscow mean to each other

As it balances China’s rise and builds a strategic partnership with the US, India would like to invest in a stable relationship with Russia

For Russia, maintaining strong ties with India is important to signal to China that Beijing is not the only game in town (Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Dec 05, 2021 08:32 PM IST
ByHarsh V Pant

Behind the facade of civility, the reality of the US-China dialogue

China sees itself as a power that has risen to become a peer of the US and wants its place under the sun, in the process unmasking its aggressive intent. The US is trying to push to retain its pre-eminent global status

In the three-and-a-half-hour summit, Biden touched upon a range of contentious issues such as human rights abuses against the Uyghur minority in the western Xinjiang Province and in Tibet, Chinese aggression toward Taiwan and trade issues — all we are told in a spirit of “healthy debate” (REUTERS)
Updated on Nov 18, 2021 05:08 PM IST
ByHarsh V Pant

India can bridge the gulf on Afghanistan

Continuing instability in Afghanistan is a recipe for regional disaster. As a responsible stakeholder, India has to step up to the plate

Taliban fighters stand guard at an entrance gate of the Sardar Mohammad Dawood Khan military hospital, Kabul, November 3, 2021 (AFP)
Updated on Nov 09, 2021 02:39 PM IST
ByHarsh V Pant

China’s hypersonic missile test won’t go unanswered

As power competition among major powers accelerates, arms races are likely to be the norm. New Delhi should be prepared for such eventualities.

China’s hypersonic capability cannot go unanswered — not just by a great power such as the US but equally by India. (AFP)
Updated on Oct 28, 2021 02:02 PM IST
ByHarsh V Pant and Kartik Bommakanti

There is a change in US attitude to South Asia. India should leverage the moment

This is a transformative period in the US-India relationship. New Delhi should be more self-confident in its ability to shape the trajectory of this engagement

Wendy Sherman’s visit to South Asia last week should offer a timely corrective to some of the myths prevailing in Indian strategic thinking (PTI)
Updated on Oct 12, 2021 07:28 PM IST
ByHarsh V Pant

Why Modi’s visit to the US matters

New Delhi has a key role in ensuring that the broader coalition of like-minded partners in the Indo-Pacific is sustained

Prime Minister Narendra Modi leaves for USA from New Delhi on Wednesday. (ANI/PIB)
Updated on Sep 22, 2021 03:16 PM IST
ByHarsh V Pant

For China, the challenge has just begun in Afghanistan

Conflict resolution and political problem-solving in other countries are not traits that Chinese diplomats excel at. It remains to be seen how China walks this tightrope in Afghanistan, which remains a fractured crucible of contradictory ethnic and political interests

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, political chief of Afghanistan's Taliban, in Tianjin, China, on July 28, 2021. China’s enhanced diplomatic efforts primarily focus on securing Xinjiang against any jihadist influence, and Beijing does not seem to have any intention to involve itself in the treacherous territory of Afghanistan based on miscalculations of power and interests. (VIA REUTERS)
Updated on Sep 13, 2021 04:21 PM IST
ByHarsh V Pant and Vinay Kaura

Young Indians distrust China, Pakistan; rate pandemic, economy as big challenges

The Observer Research Foundation first conceptualised the foreign policy survey last year to build on the existing strand of polling research in India. In December 2020, the poll sampled 2,037 Indians aged 18-35 from 14 cities

Representational Image. (File photo)
Updated on Aug 16, 2021 04:34 PM IST
ByHarsh V Pant and Aarshi Tirkey
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