Publications

2022
Anu Anwar. 9/19/2022. “Bangladesh's Fragile National Security.” Dhaka Tribune . Publisher's Version
Anu Anwar. 8/18/2022. “China-Bangladesh Relations: The Way Balancing Between China, India, and the US,” in Jacob Gunter & Helen Legarda eds., Beyond Block: Global Views on China and US-China Relations.” MERICS , Pp. 15-25. Publisher's VersionAbstract
China’s position towards Bangladesh has evolved over the last 50 years from hostility into a reluctant embrace and is now a “strategic partnership.” Current Bangladesh-China relations rest on a mix of pragmatism, strategic ambiguity, and political accommodation. Bangladesh and China have built a deep interdependence which is tilting increasingly in China’s favor.
merics-papers-on-china-beyond-blocs-global-views-on-china-and-us-china-relations.pdf
Anu Anwar. 7/28/2022. “Family Ties Led to Sri Lanka's Collapse. What Does This Means for South Asia? .” Council on Foreign Relations . Publisher's Version
Anu Anwar. 6/17/2022. “The Bay of Bengal could be the Key to a Free and Open Indo-Pacific.” War on the Rocks. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Over the past decade or so, with the winds of geopolitical change sweeping Asia, the Indo-Pacific has emerged as a focal point in global economics, diplomacy, and security. With its more than half of the global population, fast-rising prosperity, and the challenges of rising regional powers, the Indo-Pacific is the prime strategic hub for deciding the future of existing global order. To maintain the status quo in the region and keep China’s assertiveness in check, the United States, Japan, and Australia, among others, have advanced the idea of a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific.” Although each of these countries has its own vision, the general aspiration to keep the region free from coercion and open for all is the benchmark that they share. Within the Indo-Pacific theater, the Bay of Bengal — situated at the intersection between South and Southeast Asia — is a divider, a connector, and one of the prime battlegrounds. The tumultuous strategic environment of the Bay — driven by traditional and nontraditional security concerns, and a rising economy mainly powered by infrastructure — suggests this subregion is fast becoming one of the key emerging hotspots for the Free and Open Indo-Pacific strategy. This, combined with the fact that climate change poses an existential threat to several states in the region, calls not only sustained focus by extraregional powers, but also for governance structures that can facilitate a rules-based order.
Anu Anwar. 4/30/2022. “Bangladesh's Balancing Act Amid China-India Rivalry for Regional Influence.” China-India Brief, Center for Asia and Globalization, LKYSPP (203). Publisher's VersionAbstract
At the height of the Cold War in 1981, Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere quoted an African proverb at the Commonwealth conference: “When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers”, which was recently echoed by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who added that, “when they make love, the grass suffers also”. However, this conventional wisdom seems flawed in the case of the China-India rivalry for regional influence in Bangladesh. Instead of losing—Bangladesh boasting South Asia’s second-largest economy—is reaping the benefits so far.
Anu Anwar. 4/10/2022. “Through the Eyes of Our Neighbors .” Dhaka Tribune . Publisher's Version
Anu Anwar. 4/1/2022. “Bangladesh’s Balancing Act Amid the U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy.” Unites States Institute of Peace . Publisher's VersionAbstract
As the Biden administration implements its new Indo-Pacific strategy, Bangladesh’s relationships with neighboring India and China are drawing renewed interest from U.S. policymakers. U.S. Undersecretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland visited Dhaka in late March and signed a draft defense cooperation agreement; last year, Special President Envoy for Climate John Kerry also went to Dhaka in advance of the Leaders’ Summit on Climate. At the same time, Washington retains concerns over democratic backsliding, human rights abuses and constraints on free and open electoral competition in the country. Experts Anu Anwar, Geoffrey Macdonald, Daniel Markey and Jumaina Siddiqui assess the factors shaping Bangladesh’s relations with its neighbors and the United States.
Anu Anwar. 4/1/2022. “Positioning the Bay of Bengal in the Great Game of the Indo-Pacific Fulcrum.” Journal of Indo-Pacific Affairs , 05, 02, Pp. 115-132. Publisher's VersionAbstract
As it has across the entire Indo-Pacific, geopolitical competition has intensified in the Bay of Bengal. There is, indeed, a competition between and among major powers; India competes with China, US-led allies challenge China’s assertiveness, and the Bay of Bengal—situated at the intersection between South and Southeast Asia—is a divider, a connector, and a battleground. To set out the trajectory, this article starts by identifying the strategic geography of the Bay of Bengal in the Indo-Pacific fulcrum, one prism through which to view the evolving international relations of the region. In doing so, the article discusses the factors that drive the evolving significance of the Bay for its littoral states and great powers. Then the focus shifts toward another prism—the nontraditional security issues including economy, ecology, and connectivity, which are of deep interest to all the littoral states. These factors can drive cooperation. This review of the hard and soft elements of the strategic environment of the Bay of Bengal suggests strong cohesion of the regional states is the key to mutual prosperity. But can this be achieved when the forces of division have become so much greater?
2021
Anu Anwar and Michael Kugelman. 12/1/2021. “America Should Bet on Bangladesh.” Foreign Policy. Publisher's Version the_u.s._should_deepen_ties_with_bangladesh.pdf
Anu Anwar. 4/26/2021. “Bangladesh at 50: Navigating Strategic Survival.” War on the Rocks. Publisher's Version warontherocks.com-bangladesh_at_50_navigating_strategic_survival.pdf
Anu Anwar. 3/8/2021. “US-China Trade War: The potential impact on Bangladesh.” In The China–US Trade War and South Asian Economies, 1st ed., 1: Pp. 124-136. London: Routledge. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The impending effect of the US–China trade war on supply chain dynamics and investment patterns could help Bangladesh to emerge as a potential winner from the conflict. Despite the different nature of trade, the US and China both have been stable trading partners to Bangladesh for decades. While China is Bangladesh’s top import partner, the United States is the second-largest destination for Bangladesh’s exports. Bangladesh could gain benefit from both countries but in different ways. This chapter attempts to explore how Bangladesh can take advantage of the trade war. It further investigates the sectors that are well placed in Bangladesh’s economy to accrue the benefit.
2020
Anu Anwar. 9/20/2020. “South Asia and China’s Belt and Road Initiative: Security Implications and Ways Forward.” In Hindsight, Insight, and Foresight: Thinking About Security in the Indo-Pacific, 1st ed., 1: Pp. 161-178. Honolulu: DKI Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Nowhere is China’s Belt and Road Initiative pose more apparent security challenges than in South Asia. The importance of this geographic space is self-evident as China considers this subregion as BRI’s priority theater. South Asia is where the continental ‘belt’ meets the maritime ‘road’ and connects three continents – Europe, Africa, and Asia – via land and the Indian Ocean. Having a foothold in South Asia via connectivity, China could reduce its dependency on vulnerable Malacca Strait by constructing alternative overland routes to ensure its access to the Indian Ocean and secure energy supply. Nevertheless, it is also where BRI poses a whole gamut of serious security challenges, from traditional conflicts centered on territorial and border disputes, to potential naval competition with India, to nontraditional religious insurgencies, to environmental unsustainability and corruption. China’s growing influence in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) challenging India dominating regional security architecture – where smaller countries tend to tilt towards China as it comes with easy-cash and lucrative investment potentials. In addition to the possibility of dual-use (civil-military) of China build ports from Pakistan to Myanmar, the potential for the U.S. and India of losing their strategic edge in the IOR to an expanded Chinese naval presence looms large. Viewing BRI as an essential element of China’s grand strategy that can reshape this sub-regional security architecture in China’s favor, U.S. should boost its partnership with regional states, with India at the core and a comprehensive U.S. strategy blurs the traditional economic and security faults, not unlike BRI itself.
Anu Anwar and Jason Hung. 5/30/2020. “How Xi's Regime against Humanity Puts Beijing's Soft Power at Stake.” International Affairs Review. Publisher's Version
Anu Anwar. 4/8/2020. “Tackling COVID-19: Success or Failure of China’s Governance? .” RSIS Commentary NTU (No. 066). Publisher's Version
2019
Anu Anwar. 11/7/2019. “How the US should respond to Xi’s assertive China?” Harvard Kennedy School Review . Publisher's Version
Anu Anwar. 11/1/2019. “Belt and Road Initiative: What is it in for China?” East-West Center WIRE. Publisher's Version
Anu Anwar. 10/30/2019. “Belt and Road Initiative: Why China Pursues It.” RSIS Commentary NTU (No. 218). Publisher's Version
Anu Anwar. 9/19/2019. “How Chia is using tourist to realize its geopolitical goals?” East Asia Forum . Publisher's Version
Anu Anwar. 9/10/2019. “Why the US and its allies should keep ASEAN at the center?” Lowy's Interpreter . Publisher's Version

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