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Commentaries by Brahma Chellaney

Brahma Chellaney

Professor, Center for Policy Research

Brahma Chellaney is Professor of Strategic Studies at the New Delhi-based Center for Policy Research. He is also a geostrategist and the author of nine books, including “Water, Peace, and War” (Rowman & Littlefield).
  • Oct 04 , 2017

    Given the rising prominence and influence of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), Chinese President Xi Jinping is endeavoring to maintain a delicate balance between civil and military authority.  His failure to reign in the increasingly assertive armed forces could have a significant and far-reaching impact on international relations and security.

  • Sep 14 , 2017

    China tactically retreated in Doklam because, beyond declaring war on India, it was running out of options. But without the distraction of a looming party congress, China could seek revenge for Doklam at a time and place of its choosing. Next time, the PLA is unlikely to make the mistake of encroaching onto an area where India enjoys the military advantage.

  • Jul 31 , 2017

    There has always been tension between China and India, but the recent standoff between troops of both armies at the border of Tibet, Bhutan, and Sikkim has only added fuel to the fire. Now, through the use of psychological warfare in addition to various other strategies, China hopes to intimidate India into backing down.

  • Jul 07 , 2017

    Bhutan has protested that China is chipping away at its territory by building a strategic highway near the Tibet-India-Bhutan tri-junction in the Himalayas. Bhutan has security arrangements with India, and the construction has triggered a tense standoff between Chinese and Indian troops at the tri-junction while Chinese state media warns of the possibility of war.

  • Jun 13 , 2017

    U.S.-led sanctions against Moscow are helping to create a more assertive Russia determined to countervail American power, even as a special counsel investigates alleged collusion between President Donald Trump’s election campaign and Moscow, have compelled Russia to pivot to China.

  • Mar 31 , 2017

    Trump’s ascension to power was bad news for Beijing, especially because his “Make America Great Again” vision collides with Xi’s “Chinese dream” to make this the “Chinese century.” Yet China thus far has not only escaped any punitive American counteraction on trade and security matters, but also the expected Trump-Xi bonhomie at Mar-a-Lago could advertise that the more things change, the more they stay the same in U.S. foreign policy.

  • Mar 14 , 2017

    The reported fatal poisoning of North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un’s estranged half-brother, Kim Jong Nam, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport represents a major setback for China. Beijing valued Kim Jong Nam — a faded playboy with residences in Macau and Beijing — as a key asset against the North Korean dictator. China’s strongest action against North Korea to date — the recently imposed suspension of coal imports — can be ascribed to the “Trump effect.” U.S. President Donald Trump’s less predictable line, reflected in his wavering on the one-China policy and his tougher stance on Chinese expansion in the South China Sea, has prompted Beijing to take this action to blunt U.S. criticism that it is not doing enough to implement United Nations sanctions.

  • Dec 16 , 2016

    Recent developments are highlighting how competition over shared water resources is a major contributory factor to the growing geopolitical discord in Asia. China’s “territorial grab” in the South China Sea has been accompanied by a quieter “freshwater grab” in transnational river basins. Reengineering trans-boundary water flows is integral to China’s strategy to employ power, control, influence, and fashion a strongly Sino-centric Asia. The upsurge of resource and territorial disputes has underscored the looming dangers. Various developments indeed are highlighting the linkage between water and peace.

  • Nov 10 , 2016

    The organization BRICS faces challenges defining a mutual mission. Although these five emerging economies pride themselves on forming the first important non-Western global initiative with the aim to end the era of Atlantic dominance, the grouping is still searching to define a common identity and build institutionalized cooperation. Additionally, the Goa summit indeed was a reminder of China’s lengthening shadow over BRICS. China’s motives reflect a domineering power in the organization through its efforts to assert regional dominance, and the BRICS organization, coupled by a lack of common interest, struggles to establish legitimacy.

  • Oct 19 , 2016

    Brahma Chellaney discusses the growing strategic nexus between Pakistan and China. The article outlines several instances where China has defended Pakistan on an international scale, particularly regarding Pakistan’s close ties to terrorist organizations. Pakistan, because of these ties, has caused political tensions with neighbors and the U.S., but China remains a regional ally. Chellaney also details the growing economic partnership between the nations and the implications of the “one belt, one road” project to be instituted.

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