Asia for the Asians — but which Asians? / C Raja Mohan

Sep 8, 2022

Listen as C Raja Mohan explains how India can cope with a dangerous world and a dangerous neighbor.


We live in a complicated, conflicted world. Russia’s unprovoked war in Ukraine. US and European efforts to punish Russian aggression in ways that challenge the basic rules of financial and commercial globalization. China’s growing geopolitical and military assertiveness, highlighted by increasing threats to repatriate Taiwan. Even Japan and Germany, long advocates of soft power, have announced they will re-arm in the face of rising global threats.

What about India? Today it’s the world’s sixth largest economy and famously, the world’s largest democracy. But it aims higher. Prime Minister Modi recently declared that the country must accelerate its growth and development; by 2050 only China and the US are likely to have larger economies.

However, rapid economic growth might be the easy part compared to figuring out how to live with an expansionist, aggressive China. When Chinese leaders intone their mantra of “Asia for the Asians” they don’t seem to be offering co-leadership to Delhi or anyone else.

Indeed, India shares a border of more than 2000 miles with China and has fought the Chinese repeatedly, as recently as 2020. It seems inevitable that India and China will butt heads again—perhaps repeatedly—as both countries become stronger. And to add a twist, Russia, China’s declared best friend forever is India’s largest arms supplier.

C Raja Mohan, senior fellow at the Asia Society Policy Institute in Delhi, has a deep understanding of India’s foreign policy challenges. Listen as he explains how India can cope with a dangerous world and a dangerous neighbor.

What do you think? Comment below.

Listen to the episode here or find the New Thininkg for a New World podcast platform of your choice (Apple podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, Google podcast, Youtube, etc).



C. Raja Mohan is a Senior Fellow with the Asia Society Policy Institute in Delhi — a division of the Asia Society India Centre, Mumbai. He is a Visiting Research Professor at the Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS), National University of Singapore, and was previously the Director of ISAS. Mohan was the founding director of Carnegie India in Delhi, the sixth international center of Carnegie Endowment for Peace. He was associated with several Indian think tanks, including the Institute of Defense Studies and Analyses, the Observer Research Foundation, and the Center for Policy Research in New Delhi.  Mohan was a Professor of South Asian Studies at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and the Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Singapore. He served on India’s National Security Advisory Board.  He was the Henry A. Kissinger Chair in Foreign Policy and International Relations at the Kluge Center, US Library of Congress, Washington DC, during 2009-10. He convened the India chapter of Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, during 1995-2005. Mohan has published widely on India’s foreign and security policies, Asian geopolitics, and the global governance of advanced technologies. In his most recent, Mohan co-authored the Adelphi Book, The New Asian Geopolitics: Military Power and Regional Order published by the International Institute of Strategic Studies, London in 2021. He is a columnist for Foreign Policy and the Indian Express.


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