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Regional Studies

Abstracts - Winter 2020

INDO-PACIFIC: A BALANCING MECHANISM IN MUTATION?

ANWARA BEGUM
This paper explores the underlying nuances of the Indo-Pacific strategy with special reference to four participant countries, i.e., Australia, India, Japan, and the United States. It uncovers the reasons for the aforementioned countries’ involvement in the formulation and implementation of the strategy. In doing so, an added aim of the paper is to highlight the underlying contradictions within the policy. The paper also sheds light on the current status of the policy and the potential that it possesses, given the interests and institutional frameworks for decision-making within the aforesaid states. Additionally, the paper looks into frequent mutations that the policy has undergone, which result in difficulties for the participants considering the economic and political transformations taking place in the world signified by the rise of China. Lastly, the paper argues the impact of Donald Trump’s policies and public statements on the overall outlook of the Indo-Pacific as a containment policy; a reflection of elite consensus. This consensus did alter, to some extent, before the 2020 elections in the United States. The paper concludes with a debate on the potential alterations in the policy under the Biden administration.
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BALAKOT STRIKES: DECEPTION AND REALITY THROUGH THE LENS OF MEDIA

MARYAM MASTOOR
A state’s behaviour towards another state depends on the information it receives. If information becomes disinformation, the results could be devastating. Pakistan and India have been at loggerheads since independence. Any disinformation or even wrong perception can lead the two countries to war. In this fragile relationship, it is very easy to fan war jingoism in both states. This paper aims to cover the flow of fake news in both states following the Pulwama attack in February 2019. Mainly three spells of fake news dispersal are analysed in this paper. News regarding Balakot strikes, use of F-16 aircraft by Pakistan, and a round of LOC violations. The paper discusses how both states reacted to these instances of widely spread fake news. The paper argues that the two states came to the verge of a war owing to the fake news, which was perpetrated by Prime Minister Modi to gain popularity and win elections that were scheduled to be held in April 2019.
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SWAYING THE STRATEGIC BELT: US-INDIA MILITARY PARTNERSHIP IN THE ASIA-PACIFIC

SARMAD ALI KHAN
Washington’s rebalancing approach towards the Asia-Pacific came in the form of a strategic reliance on New Delhi to counter Beijing’s rise. The underlying strategic logic behind the Pivot to Asia-Pacific policy and the Indo-Pacific Strategy Report is shared economic and security interests between the US and India in addition to an indispensable Indian role as a major power in the region. Both India and the US carried out a major overhaul in their respective foreign policies while considering China as a common threat. Indian military modernisation and its recent military doctrines have been influenced by the US and are in line with Washington’s policy trajectory. Recent Indo-US military agreements and defence deals have altered the traditional alliance structures in the region. India has gained access to conventional and disruptive technologies by using the American military hardware in the form of autonomous weapons, cyber technologies, innovative intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities, etc. Moreover, by joining the US-led alliance, India has managed to increase its sphere of operations and outreach in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). Washington’s strategic altruism, putting all eggs into one basket, might prove beneficial in tackling the Chinese economic and strategic rise. However, it remains highly probable that once India positions itself into a specific threshold in the world order, it might become more proactive and aggressive, which would be more detrimental for the American national interest than for China. This is evident from its policies in South Asia, which are now evidently manifest in the Indian Ocean too.

DYNAMICS OF GLOBAL JIHAD NARRATIVE: A CASE STUDY OF AL-QAEDA AND ISIS

WASIM SAJJAD
The difference in approaches to jihad from Al-Qaeda to ISIS has created new transnational challenges. This paper explores the multiple narratives of ongoing global jihad and the multiple dynamics of each narrative manifested by Al-Qaeda and ISIS. However, it is agreed that the ultimate goal of each narrative and dynamic is rooted more deeply in furthering political agendas without having much to do with Islam. This paper argues that jihadist groups such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS must be studied separately to draw reliable conclusions and further develop the knowledge surrounding violent Islamist groups. The paper suggests that to fight the existing narratives adopted by these and other jihadist organisations, an alternative narrative should be developed. However, this should be kept in mind that the alternative narrative cannot fully replace the existing jihadist narratives.

SIGNIFICANCE OF INDIAN OCEAN REGION FOR CHINA AND ITS REGIONAL AND GLOBAL IMPACTS

AMNA NISAR Abbasi
The Indian Ocean is the third biggest sea of the world which is encircled by five landmasses and forty nations with a multitude of social, environmental, political, and vital complexities. Last two decades has seen the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) becoming the key field in worldwide governmental issues because of its expanding significance due to the presence of huge energy resources, vital energy transit and trade routes and developing rivalry in the zone of worldwide monetary exchange and security. China’s 21st Century initiative to revive the old silk route in the form of (MSR) the Maritime Silk Road is dependent on the Indian Ocean Region which plays a critical role in its future development and setting up its predominance among other countries involving major overseas investments, growing international trade, vital oil and gas supplies, and maritime security. China’s changing recognition of the Indian Ocean and its expanding predominance and vital security interests in the IOR form the key elements of China's international strategy to set up local strength and regional supremacy. The intent of this paper is to highlight China’s efforts to establish dominance in the IOR and briefly discuss key challenges it is facing in progressing its strategy in IOR while looking at the risks and threats which are posed to its progress by the United States as well as India in context with the regional conflicts associated with land and energy resources.
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Regional Studies is a quarterly journal. It covers a wide spectrum including foreign and internal affairs, economy and industry, science and technology, sociocultural aspects and security related issues. The countries that fall within the purview of the study are India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Maldives in South Asia, Afghanistan, Iran and the Gulf States in Southwest Asia and five republics of Central Asia, beside China and Indian Ocean.