Bharath Gopalaswamy

  • An Inflection Point in the Maldives?

    Over the past five years, the Maldives steadily transitioned from democratic to authoritarian rule under President Abdulla Yameen. Despite all odds, the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) achieved a stunning electoral victory on September 23 that provides the Indian Ocean nation with an opportunity to reverse the erosion of rights and freedoms that occurred during Yameen’s tenure. The new government must now secure the loyalty of its institutions, including political factions within the MDP and the military, to ensure a peaceful and stable transition of power from Yameen to President-elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and his new ruling coalition in November.  

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  • 2+2 Dialogue Offers the United States and India an Opportunity

    Differences over Iran sanctions and trade are holding back the relationship

    On September 6, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and US Secretary of Defense James Mattis will participate in the inaugural 2+2 dialogue in New Delhi—a symbolically powerful reminder of growing ties between the United States and India. The relationship has, however, become beset by major challenges that should be addressed to ensure the upward trajectory of the strategic partnership.

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  • Outside-the-Box Sino-Indian and Indo-Russian Cooperation on Afghanistan

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    Recent Sino-Indian and Indo-Russian informal agreements to undertake joint projects in Afghanistan mark a geographical paradigm shift in the strategic ambitions of the region’s largest stakeholders. Partnerships in economic and regional connectivity offer the potential to reinvigorate interest in the Afghan peace process and to initiate shifts in regional alignments. But challenges to cooperation remain, including uncertainties regarding US policy in South Asia and Iranian sanctions, the threat of the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran spilling over into the region, the role of Pakistan, and questions regarding the ultimate agenda of the Taliban. Despite these challenges, the opportunity for cooperation between India, China and Russia in the region signals new thinking regarding the Afghan War, and the potential beginning of enhanced cooperation between key stakeholders of an increasingly volatile and unpredictable international system.

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  • Pompeo's Indo-Pacific Investment Plan Offers an Alternative to Beijing

    US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo laid out a new vision for American economic engagement in the Indo-Pacific on July 30, announcing the rollout of a new US regional infrastructure initiative, which, while not explicitly targeting China’s growing economic power in the region, will attempt to provide Indo-Pacific countries with an American financial alternative to Beijing.  

    In his opening remarks, made at the US Chamber of Commerce’s Indo-Pacific Business Forum, Pompeo announced new Department of State infrastructure and connectivity projects worth $113 million in the Indo-Pacific region. These programs, intended to promote development in the digital economy, energy, and traditional infrastructure sectors, “seek to capitalize on economic opportunity with the spirit of freedom and openness,” with partners who share “democratic values.”

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  • Bharath Gopalas on 2018 Pakistan Elections


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  • Gopalaswamy Quoted in the Times of India on the Postponement of the '2+2 Dialogue'


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  • Gopalswamy in the Hill: Friendly Fire: The Curious Case of Sanctions on India


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  • The US-India Defense Partnership: Trending Upward

    In August 2017, US President Donald J. Trump signed into law the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), a bill designed in part to sanction countries doing business with Russia’s defense industry. Like some other US partners, India is at risk of CAATSA sanctions because the bulk of its defense inventory is from the former Soviet Union and it maintains substantial defense ties with Russia.

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  • Trump Quits Iran Nuclear Deal

    US President Donald J. Trump on May 8 pulled the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal saying the agreement did not satisfactorily address the Islamic Republic’s ability to build a nuclear bomb or limit its “malign activity.” He also signed a memorandum to reimpose sanctions on Iran.

    Trump’s decision will likely strain Washington’s ties with its European allies who had urged him to remain in the deal.

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  • India’s Quest for Fighter Jets: Make in India vs. Make America Great Again

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    In recent years, China’s regional ambitions in the Indo-Pacific have become a serious security concern for both India and the United States. Chinese infrastructure projects in the region’s smaller and poorer countries—under China’s Belt and Road Initiative—have raised concerns about the susceptibility of these economies to the predatory economics that have recently characterized the Chinese regional approach. China’s economic ascension has been accompanied by the tendency of Chinese leaders to pay little heed to established international protocols—evident in Japan, the Philippines, and, most recently, in India. The country’s bellicose incursions in the Indo-Pacific are challenging US geostrategic supremacy in the region. Working in tandem with India to improve its capacity to play a stronger role in the region and uphold the existing liberal order, would be a critical stride for US grand strategy. 

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