COVID-19 South Asia

Even as South Asia deals with the public health consequences of COVID-19, it is becoming clear that this global pandemic is likely to have lasting economic and geopolitical ramifications too. With China’s economy likely to be impacted due to COVID-19, its significant investments in the subcontinent as part of the Belt and Road Initiative are at risk. COVID-19 could also pose challenges for the Afghan peace process.

In a virtual panel hosted by South Asian Voices (SAV) on April 3, Managing Editor Akriti Vasudeva discussed the geopolitical implications of COVID-19 in South Asia with SAV contributors Bismellah Alizada, Muhammad Faisal, Jyotsna Mehra, and Abdullah Rafee to assess economic development, bilateral relations, regional politics, and balance of power in South Asia in the time of coronavirus. The conversation revolved around the perceptions of China and the United States across the subcontinent in the wake of COVID-19, the impact of the virus on these countries’ economies and national security, and potential challenges this health crisis may pose to leaders’ domestic legitimacy.

Watch the full discussion below. For more analysis on how countries in the region are combating the spread of COVID-19 and the challenges they face, check out our series “COVID-19 in South Asia.”

Featuring perspectives from analysts on the ground in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh, including:

Bismellah Alizada is the co-founder of Rahila Foundation, an organization working for youth empowerment through education and capacity building, and Deputy Director (on academic sabbatical) at Organization for Policy Research and Development Studies (DROPS), a research and advocacy organization based in Kabul. He is currently pursuing an MSc in Violence, Conflict and Development at SOAS, University of London. His articles have appeared on Al Jazeera English, The Diplomat, Global Voices, and the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) in New Delhi. He has also co-translated into Persian the book China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know

Muhammad Faisal is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad. He was an SAV Visiting Fellow, January 2018. Formerly, he was a Research Fellow at the Center for International Strategic Studies, Islamabad and a Visiting Fellow at the Center for Non-Proliferation Studies in Monterey, California in the spring of 2015. He holds a post-graduate degree in Defense and Strategic Studies from Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. His research interests include India-Pakistan relations and South Asia’s security environment.

Jyotsna Mehra is a Pacific Forum Young Leader and a Consulting Editor at the New Delhi-based publication, The Kootneeti. She graduated from the University of Oxford’s Modern South Asian Studies program in 2018.

Abdullah Rafee is a Senior Research Associate at the Institute for Policy, Advocacy, and Governance (IPAG) in Dhaka, Bangaldesh. He conducts research & analysis, develops policy briefs & concept notes, does outreach, and manages events & projects in the areas of regional security & strategic affairs, economic & digital governance, and technology & innovation. As part of IPAG’s team, he has led and managed multiple projects and international events on regional integration, cyber security, power & energy, and sustainable development in the United States, India, Bangladesh, and Bhutan.

Akriti Vasudeva is a Research Analyst with the South Asia program at the Stimson Center and the Managing Editor of South Asian Voices. Her research focuses on U.S.-India defense and strategic cooperation, geopolitics of South Asia and the Indo-Pacific, and Indian foreign policy. Previously, she worked as a print journalist in India, reporting on environmental issues for The Indian Express in Mumbai, and on education policy for Hindustan Times, New Delhi. She has also held research positions at the Embassy of India in Washington, D.C. and the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses in New Delhi, among others. She holds an M.A. in Asian Studies from the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University and a bachelor’s degree in information technology engineering from the University of Mumbai.


Image: Geeta Mohan via Twitter

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