China's Evolving Role in South Asia


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When: May 26 2020 - 10:00am until May 26 2020 - 11:00am
Where: Zoom meeting

The East-West Center in Washington invites you to an
Indo-Pacific Foreign Policy and Defense Virtual Seminar:

China's Evolving Role in South Asia


Dr. Daniel Markey
Senior Research Professor,
Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies

Dr. Joshua T. White (Discussant)
Associate Professor of the Practice of South Asia Studies,
Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies

Dr. Ellen L. Frost (Discussant)
Senior Advisor,
East-West Center

Dr. Satu P. Limaye (Moderator)
Vice President, East-West Center &
Director, East-West Center in Washington

East-West Center in Washington · China’s Evolving Role in South Asia

Over the past decade, China’s involvement and influence in South Asia have grown exponentially as Beijing seeks to expand its role in infrastructure, trade, and China's Western Horizoninvestment. In his latest book, China’s Western Horizon: Beijing and the New Geopolitics of Eurasia, Dr. Daniel Markey delved into how China’s Belt and Road Initiative and other initiatives are perceived by countries across South Asia, with privileged groups looking to expand their profits via a connection to China and in turn limit the influence of their strategic competitors. Dr. Markey argues that China’s deepening involvement will increase political tensions throughout South Asia as regional strongmen seek to exploit this involvement for their own domestic purposes. Building upon this discussion of Dr. Markey’s findings, Dr. White described how China is being perceived in political discourses in India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Finally, Dr. Frost discussed the broader implications of China’s expanding involvement in South Asia and what that might mean for the Indo-Pacific as a whole and for US policy in the region.


Daniel Markey is a senior research professor at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). He also serves as the academic director of the SAIS Global Policy Program. He teaches courses in international politics and policy. Dr. Markey’s latest book, China’s Western Horizon: Beijing and the New Geopolitics of Eurasia, was published by Oxford University Press in March 2020. It assesses the evolving political, economic, and security links between China and its western neighbors, including Pakistan, India, Kazakhstan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. It explains what these changes are likely to mean for the United States and recommends steps that Washington should take in response. From 2007-2015, Daniel Markey was a senior fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations. While there, he wrote a book on the future of the US-Pakistan relationship, No Exit from Pakistan: America’s Tortured Relationship with Islamabad (Cambridge University Press, 2013). From 2003 to 2007, Dr. Markey held the South Asia portfolio on the Secretary’s Policy Planning Staff at the US Department of State. Prior to government service, he taught in the Department of Politics at Princeton University. At Princeton, he also served as executive director of Princeton’s Research Program in International Security. Earlier, he was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard’s Olin Institute for Strategic Studies. Dr. Markey is the author of numerous reports, articles, book chapters, and opinion pieces. His commentary has been featured widely in US and international media.

Joshua T. White is Associate Professor of the Practice of South Asia Studies at Johns Hopkins SAIS, and a Nonresident Fellow in the Foreign Policy program at The Brookings Institution. He previously served at the White House as Senior Advisor & Director for South Asian Affairs at the National Security Council, where he staffed the President and National Security Advisor on the full range of South Asia policy issues pertaining to India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the Indian subcontinent, and led efforts to integrate US government policy planning across South and East Asia. Prior to joining the White House, he was a Senior Associate and Co-Director of the South Asia program at The Stimson Center and, previously, Senior Advisor for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, a position he held in conjunction with an International Affairs Fellowship from the Council on Foreign Relations. Dr. White graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Williams College with a double major in history and mathematics, and received his PhD with distinction from Johns Hopkins SAIS.

Dr. Ellen L. Frost is a Senior Advisor and Fellow at the East-West Center and a Visiting Distinguished Research Fellow at the National Defense University's Institute of National Strategic Studies. She writes and lectures on Asia-related topics, especially Indo-Pacific political-economic issues and their strategic and security implications. Her most recent book is Asia's New Regionalism. She is also the author of For Richer, For Poorer: The New U.S.-Japan Relationship and Transatlantic Trade: A Strategic Agenda. Dr. Frost previously served in the US government as Counselor to the US Trade Representative (1993–95), Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Economic and Technology Affairs (1977-81), a career civil servant in the Treasury Department (1974–77), and a legislative assistant in the US Senate (1972–74). During the 1980s she worked for two multinational corporations. From 1996 to 2014 she was a senior fellow and subsequently a visiting fellow at the Institute for International Economics. Dr. Frost is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the International Institute of Strategic Studies, and the US Committee of CSCAP (Council on Security Cooperation in Asia Pacific). She received a Ph.D. from the Department of Government at Harvard University, an MA from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and a BA from Radcliffe College, Harvard University.

Satu Limaye is Vice President of the East-West Center and the Director of the East-West Center in Washington where he created and now directs the Asia Matters for America initiative and is the founding editor of the Asia Pacific Bulletin. He is also a Senior Advisor at CNA Corp (Center for Naval Analyses) and Senior Fellow on Asia History and Policy at the Foreign Policy Institute at Paul H. Nitze School of International Studies (SAIS). He is a magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Georgetown University and received his doctorate from Oxford University (Magdalen College) where he was a George C. Marshall Scholar. Recent publications include: “America’s ‘Pacific Principle’ in an Indivisible Pacific Islands Region,” (Asia-Pacific Bulletin); “Despite Stumbles, America’s Engagement with Southeast Runs Deep,” (Global Asia); Raging Waters: China, India, Bangladesh, and Brahmaputra Water Politics (Marine Corps University Press); Russia’s Peripheral Relevance to US-Indo Pacific Relations (Center for the National Interest).

Primary Contact Info:
Name: Sarah Wang