Episode 84 – Major Power Rivalry in South Asia

Uzair talks to Dr. Tanvi Madan about her research paper which looks at the role of major power rivalries in the broader South Asian region. The emerging US-China rivalry and growing tensions between India and China are already having an impact on the geopolitics of the region. As this rivalry sharpens, countries in the region will have to strategize and find ways to effectively balance against these major powers in a way that maximizes the benefits they can derive in line with their own national interests. We also talked about potential areas of cooperation in the region, including climate change.

Dr. Tanvi Madan is a senior fellow in the Project on International Order and Strategy in the Foreign Policy program, and director of The India Project at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC. Madan’s work explores India’s role in the world and its foreign policy, focusing in particular on India’s relations with China and the United States. She also researches the U.S. and India’s approaches in the Indo-Pacific, as well as the development of interest-based coalitions, especially the Australia-India-Japan-U.S. Quad.

Her book Fateful Triangle: How China Shaped US-India Relations during the Cold War is a must-read along with her most recent paper for CFR:

  • www.amazon.com/dp/B07N8DRSQC/ref…DM3S9FWQ92PTE366H
  • www.cfr.org/report/major-power-rivalry-south-asia

Reading Recommendations:

  • The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America by Louis Menand
  • War and Peace in Modern India by S. Raghavan
  • Animosity at Bay: An Alternative History of the India-Pakistan Relationship, 1947-1952 by Pallavi Raghavan
  • The Price of Aid: The Economic Cold War in India by David Engerman


  • 1:20 Broader implications for the region
  • 7:55 Is India fully in the U.S. camp?
  • 13:50 Impact of rising nationalism in India and China
  • 24:38 Assessing India’s broader South Asia strategy
  • 33:00 Emerging alliances in the Indo-Pacific
  • 42:45 Is there room for cooperation in the region?
  • 50:27 Reading recommendations