Prashanth Parameswaran is a doctoral candidate at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. He graduated from the University of Virginia in 2009 with honors degrees in Foreign Affairs and Peace and Conflict Studies. His work has appeared in several Asian newspapers, including the New Straits Times, the Straits Times and the China Post, and he has held internships at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and Singapore’s Rajaratnam School of International Studies. He blogs regularly about international politics at the Asianist.
Articles written by Prashanth Parameswaran
Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s victory in Indonesia’s presidential election is nothing short of historic. He is the first-ever president from outside the Jakarta elite, chosen by Indonesians to clean up the country’s politics and institute fundamental change. But his ability to deliver remains to be seen. He will face a host of challenges in trying to balance reforms at home and maintaining an active role abroad. more
Over the next few weeks, more than 800 million Indians will vote in a general election in the world’s largest democracy. Early signs are that opposition candidate Narendra Modi will beat the ruling Congress party’s Rahul Gandhi. While this is testament to Congress’ poor performance during its decade in power, the election outcome—whatever that may be—could in fact bring more continuity than change for India. more
At the latest round of Asian summitry in Brunei and Indonesia, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe continued his impressive efforts to shore up relations with the countries of Southeast Asia. But despite the inroads that Japan has made in Southeast Asia, both sides will have to seize additional opportunities and navigate past several challenges in order to boost cooperation to an even higher level. more
When Air Force One touched down at Yangon's Mingaladon Airport on Nov. 19, Barack Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to visit Myanmar. Though the visit only lasted six hours and was bookended by longer stops in Thailand and Cambodia, it was critical not only for maintaining Myanmar's momentum toward reform but also for solidifying its place in the U.S. regional strategy in Asia. more
Last month, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta paid the first visit by a U.S. defense secretary to New Zealand in 30 years. Panetta’s trip is just the latest in a string of bilateral moves between Wellington and Washington over the past few years to find new ways to work together in the Asia-Pacific region, all in an effort to translate their elevated strategic partnership into enhanced cooperation. more
With its rich civilizational history and long tradition of argumentation, India is no stranger to grand strategy. Yet many have noted that this tradition of strategic thinking has not found its way into contemporary Indian foreign policy. That has begun to change with the proliferation of high-quality works devoted to Indian foreign policy strategy that provide a window on how India's strategic thinkers view the world and India's role in it. more
India’s “Look East” policy has long been regarded by many as lacking in vision and substance. Yet as India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) prepare to mark two decades of formal relations later this year, there is much to celebrate. But while both parties can proudly toast the progress achieved thus far, they should use the anniversary to strengthen ties further.
Relations between the United States and Vietnam have progressed rapidly since the normalization of ties in 1995. The two countries have deepened their robust economic relationship and have declared their common interest in freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. Yet if the U.S. and Vietnam wish to take their emerging strategic partnership to the next level, they will need to get past several challenges. more
The U.S. relationship with Singapore has been and continues to be one of its most important and successful in the Asia-Pacific. Today, the city-state is America's 13th-largest trading partner, hosts U.S. naval ships in its waters and offers valuable strategic advice on a variety of policy questions. Yet while ties are at an all-time high, the relationship still faces lingering concerns and challenges. more
Despite U.S. President Barack Obama's campaign promise to engage rogue regimes, America's relationship with North Korea has been frosty since he took office. A string of provocations by Pyongyang last year, including the sinking of a South Korean navy ship, further dampened hopes for progress. But recent staff changes in the Obama administration and other signals suggest that ties may warm in the coming months. more
Under President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Indonesia has emerged as a success story in many ways. It has waged a resilient campaign against terrorism, achieved strong economic growth rate and demonstrated leadership within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). But Yudhoyono's tenure has also seen the rise of radical Islam, which some view as the greatest threat to Indonesian democracy.
With oil prices nearing $120 a barrel, all eyes were on the 12 members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) during their meeting in Vienna earlier this month. The International Energy Agency had strongly urged OPEC, which produces 40 percent of the world's oil, to raise production output to stem rocketing oil prices and prevent a potential double-dip recession. That did not happen. more
With nations scouring the globe in pursuit of mineral supplies, the world's attention has shifted to Mongolia, a country some are heralding as the next resource success story. Its rich, untapped mineral deposits could make this underdeveloped country one of the fastest-growing economies over the next decade -- if it can address a set of daunting challenges and bring these resources to the market. more
Recent rumors that China had effectively banned rare metal exports to Japan over a thorny territorial dispute have thrust the issue of rare earth elements to the fore. With demand rising and Beijing continuing to tighten its stranglehold over the dwindling supply of rare earths, other countries are now scrambling to secure their own access to the key strategic resource. more
The United States and Japan commemorated the 50th anniversary of their security alliance last month with an uneasy sense of ambivalence. The sheer fact that the alliance, has persisted for so long is reason enough to celebrate. Yet several trends in Japanese politics have added strains to the alliance, and may make it more difficult for Washington and Tokyo to make necessary adjustments in their relationship. more
Judging by the atmospherics on display during last week's inaugural U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue, the bilateral relationship between the two countries appears to be on solid footing. Yet flowery rhetoric masks the complex realities of what continues to be a testy relationship. If the two countries hope to forge a stronger partnership, they will have to navigate past disagreements and bridge perception gaps. more
As U.S. President Barack Obama prepares for his visit to Asia in June, it is worth exploring what Washington's future policy options are with respect to Asian regionalism. The main question now facing the United States is whether to join the East Asia Summit, a five-year-old body that groups the 10 countries of Southeast Asia as well as China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand. more
Earlier this month, the leaders of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand gathered for the first-ever Mekong River Commission summit to discuss the future of the Mekong river, in peril due to a host of natural and man-made threats. Unless riparian states make a concerted, joint effort to manage the river's resources, their actions risk threatening food security, destroying livelihoods, and heightening regional tensions. more
On March 30, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak unveiled a new growth strategy designed to transform Malaysia into a high-income economy by 2020. But while the New Economic Model contains much-needed reforms to boost Malaysia's economy and political image in the face of dwindling foreign investment and rising competition, severe doubts remain about whether Najib can actually implement them. more
The ASEAN-India Free Trade Agreement, which came into force earlier this year, is undoubtedly a milestone in the burgeoning relationship between India and Southeast Asia. Yet the future of ASEAN-Indian relations is unlikely to be comprised solely of mutually beneficial policies. In order to reap the full benefits of bilateral cooperation, both sides will have to navigate formidable challenges. more