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The strategic competition between India and China has turned deadly in the Himalayas, but the stakes may be higher elsewhere, in the Bay of Bengal. While India gradually fortifies its island outposts in the Bay, China is preparing for a long-term naval presence there. Both countries are scrambling to build security cooperation with littoral states, especially Bangladesh and Myanmar. This webinar will explore what makes the Bay of Bengal a particularly important sub-region of the Indo-Pacific. It will consider how China’s growing political and military influence poses security risks for India, and how India and its partners – including the United States and the Quad – can build resilience and deterrence in the Bay of Bengal.
Professor C Raja Mohan
is the Director of the Institute of South Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore. Professor Mohan is one of India’s leading commentators on India’s foreign policy. He has been associated with a number of think tanks in New Delhi, including the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses, the Centre for Policy Research and the Observer Research Foundation. He was also the founding director of Carnegie India. He served on India’s National Security Advisory Board, and led the Indian Chapter of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs from 1999 to 2006. He writes a regular column for the Indian Express and was earlier the Strategic Affairs Editor for The Hindu newspaper. Professor Mohan has a Master’s degree in nuclear physics and a PhD in international relations. Among his recent books are Samudra Manthan: Sino-Indian Rivalry in the Indo-Pacific (2013) and Modi’s World: Expanding India’s Sphere of Influence (2015).
Ms. Nilanthi Samaranayake
directs the Strategy and Policy Analysis Program at CNA. She focuses on the study of US alliances and partnerships globally and led several studies on Indian Ocean security. Her work has examined U.S.-India naval cooperation, water resource competition in the Brahmaputra River, and Sri Lankan foreign policy. She also has conducted research on the navies of Bangladesh and Pakistan, the Maldives Coast Guard, security threats in the Bay of Bengal, and relations between smaller South Asian countries and China, India and the United States. Prior to joining CNA, Samaranayake held positions at the National Bureau of Asian Research and the Pew Research Center. Samaranayake holds an M.Sc. in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a B.A. in International Studies from American University.
Dr. Arzan Tarapore
is the South Asia research scholar at the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center at Stanford University, where he leads the newly-restarted South Asia research initiative. He is also a senior nonresident fellow at the National Bureau of Asian Research. His research focuses on Indian military strategy and contemporary Indo-Pacific security issues. He previously held research positions at the RAND Corporation, the Observer Research Foundation, and the East-West Center in Washington. Prior to his scholarly career, he served in the Australian Defence Department. Arzan holds a PhD in war studies from King’s College London.
This event is co-sponsored by: The Center for South Asia