The rise of "new" powers and the increasingly polycentric character of global politics are two of the crucial developments of a changing world since the end of the Cold War. Asia is the region in which new dynamics of cooperation and competition brought forth by these shifts are most intense. The region is changing quickly, with China and India emerging as globally significant powers and, at the same time, competing for influence in Asia’s sub-regions. US president Barack Obama’s announcement of a ‘rebalance to Asia’ in Washington’s foreign policy has contributed to reinforce the United States’ identity as a Pacific power and has arguably led to new dynamics in interactions with China, India, and other countries in the region.
Against this background, the conference seeks to explore the current patterns of conflict and collaboration within and across Asia’s sub-regions as well as the role of rising Asian powers in global cooperation. Based on developments in the region, we aim to develop more general insights into the preconditions for cooperation (or the lack thereof) at the regional and global levels as well as at the nexus between both levels. With this goal, the conference addresses the following questions:
- How does the emergence of an increasingly polycentric world change global cooperation and what are the strategies of Asian powers?
- How do rising Asian powers approach their own regions and competitors within them (such as the United States in East Asia or China in South Asia)? How do Asia’s sub-regions interact with each other and what is the impact of these cross-regional interactions? What role do India and China play in these processes?
- Why do states/institutions/actors in Asia cooperate on certain issues in certain forums instead of others? How do countries like China and India cooperate and compete in global forums and what impact does this have on regional and global governance?
In order to address these questions, the conference brings together scholars from several GIGA partner institutions in Asia (China Foreign Affairs University, Beijing, and the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi), the United States (University of Virginia, Charlottesville), and New Zealand (University of Otago). The conference will be followed up by a policy forum in Berlin on 20 April.