The ORCA Files

Our Podcast The ORCA Files holds conversations with our Community of Scholars for a greater understanding of all things China.

May 14, 2024 EP 14: Shreyas Deshmukh on Water Security Issues Between India and Pakistan

For this episode of the ORCA Files, Rahul Karan Reddy, Senior Research Associate at ORCA sat down with Mr. Shreyas Deshmukh to discuss the issue of water security between India and Pakistan. Mr. Deshmukh, a Research Associate at the Delhi Policy Group (DPG), details the twists and turns of the differences over water sharing between the two South Asian countries. He deconstructs the logic driving the position of both states and discusses the potential outcomes of the renegotiation of the gold-standard Indus Waters Treaty which has stood the test of time. His conversation is based on a paper written for ORCA's Special Issue publication titled, "Transboundary Water Security in South Asia: Strategies for Cooperation and Competition". Check out the Special Issue publication:

O R C A • F I L E S •

Dec 13, 2023 EP 13: Dr. Monish Tourangbam on The India-U.S Relationship:From Geopolitical Compulsion to Strategic Convergence

For this episode of the ORCA Files, Ratish Mehta, Research Associate at ORCA, speaks with Dr. Monish Tourangbam on the growing India- U.S bilateral engagement in recent years. Dr. Monish traces the relationship trajectory from the Cold War period to its current stature and elaborates on various points in time where cooperation has taken prominence between the two countries. The discussion also brings to light specific sectors and regions in which both New Delhi and Washington can convert their convergence into cooperation, especially in South Asia. Dr. Tourangbam also draws attention to some structural divergences that India and the US face as well as how such differences can be mitigated against, in favour of the broader convergence of interests.
You can read his recent paper on the India-US-China Triangle in South Asia: Competition Drives Adaptation by clicking - here.

Nov 08, 2023 EP 12: Melissa Conley Tyler on The Role of Think Tanks in Modern Diplomacy

In this episode of The ORCA Files, Omkar Bhole from ORCA speaks with Ms. Melissa Conley Tyler from University Melbourne about the significance of think tanks in modern diplomacy and the role these institutions play during crisis situations. She defines think tanks as institutions that try to influence quality of policymaking in a country by producing intellectual outputs as well as perform diplomatic functions like communicating with counterparts from other countries and promoting their country's interests globally. She expresses the need for think tanks to work for bridging the gap between common citizens and policymakers by engaging more with them especially in niche fields like international relations. Ms. Melissa also delves into the functioning of Chinese think tanks in a state-controlled environment and the role they play in promoting China’s views globally by engaging with other think tanks.

Aug 24, 2023 EP 11: Richard Bitzinger on China's Military Industrial Complex, Modernization Program and Evolving Civil-Military Relations

In this episode of The ORCA Files, host and Director of ORCA, Eerishika Pankaj sits down with Richard Bitzinger for a captivating conversation about the state and progress of China's military modernization program. They talk about the features of modernization: intelligentisation, indegenisation of emerging technologies, civil-military integration and the political rules governing the appointment of personnel in the military. The insights presented by Richard Bitzinger provide a comprehensive overview of the CMC's role in military technology innovation, the emphasis of modernization reforms and where China is headed this decade. The conversation covers several themes detailed in Richard Bitzinger's latest book written with Dr. Yoram Evron, "The Fourth Industrial Revolution and Military-Civil Fusion". Access it here.

Jul 23, 2023 EP 10: Lam Tran and Akshat Singh on India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement Amidst China Factor

In this episode of The ORCA Files, host Ahana Roy engages in an insightful discussion with two esteemed guests, Lam Tran and Akshat Singh from CSIS, to explore the India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (IA-ECTA) and its implications for both nations and the region as well. Lam and Akshat delve into the key provisions of the agreement, the sectors likely to benefit, and how it addresses challenges like talent shortages and manufacturing base expansion for Australia. The conversation also sheds light on China's coercive economic measures and their impact on countries like Australia and India and how the IA-ECTA could empower these nations to mitigate vulnerabilities. The discussion concluded with the recent visit by Indian PM Narendra Modi to the US and how the IA-ECTA can align with broader Indo-US partnership goals of diversifying supply chains and fostering economic resilience. You can read read the CSIS article on this topic here.

May 15, 2023 EP 9: Manoj Kewalramani on Recent Visits by Chinese Defense and Foreign Ministers to India

In this episode, Omkar Bhole from ORCA speaks to Mr. Manoj Kewalramani on the recent visits of China’s defense and foreign ministers to India as a part of SCO delegation. He explains the expectations from these visits and whether or not these expectations were met. The discussion also details the coverage of these visits by Chinese media and scholarly community which also offers insights into China’s perception of India, especially within the regional multilateral forums. Mr. Manoj elaborates on the overall significance of the SCO in the context of India-China bilateral relations and argues that India’s foreign policy faces the challenge to balance its interests vis-à-vis China’s anti-Western rhetoric manifested through regional institutions. He also talks about Xi Jinping’s potential visit to India later this year and its impact on bilateral relations, especially on border issues.

Jan 10, 2023 EP 8: Dr Manpreet Sethi on China’s Nuclear Weapons Arsenal and Implications for India

In this episode, Rahul Karan Reddy from ORCA speaks to Dr. Manpreet Sethi on her recently published article titled, ‘China’s Nuclear Build-up: Implications for India’. Dr. Sethi explains the context for the latest developments surrounding China’s nuclear weapons program, detailing the factors that explain China’s decision to enhance the survivability of its nuclear arsenal. Dr. Sethi discusses how the latest developments influence the nuclear posture of other East Asian states like Japan and South Korea, who face an increasingly belligerent North Korea and share apprehensions about China’s military posture. For India, Dr. Sethi argues that the focus ought to be on enhancing conventional capabilities rather than engaging in an action-reaction spiral with China. Click here to read Dr. Sethi’s article mentioned in the podcast.

Dec 21, 2022 EP 7: Ratish Mehta on India and the Global Divide in Sanctions against Russian Oil

In this episode, Omkar Bhole from ORCA speaks with Ratish Mehta on his recently published opinion piece titled “India and the Global Divide in Sanctions against Russian Oil”. Ratish elaborates on the objectives of the sanctions and why differing perceptions exist on the same. The discussion ranges from the impact of the sanctions on India and the global south as well to how China and India have reacted to the sanctions. Ratish observes that India’s position has brought forth a larger dilemma to India’s foreign policy understanding with regard to its attempt of balancing two of its immediate core interests.

Nov 21, 2022 Ep 6: Commodore C Uday Bhaskar on India-China Strategic Contestation in The Indian Ocean Region

In this episode, Omkar Bhole from ORCA speaks with Commodore C Uday Bhaskar on the topic of India-China competition in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). Commodore Bhaskar elaborates on China’s assertiveness in IOR as a result of its rising maritime strength. The discussion ranges from China’s growing naval expenditure especially on modernization, to its surveillance ship being docked at Hambantota port in Sri Lanka. Commodore Bhaskar opines that all these developments have created serious security concerns for India and it must act soon to counter China’s maritime challenge in the IOR.

Oct 11, 2022 Ep 5: Dr. Jagannath Panda and Dr. Bali Deepak on China's 20th National Party Congress: Xi Jinping’s Political Future and Policy Implications for China

In this episode, Dr. Jagannath Panda and Dr. Bali Deepak engage in a discussion on the significance of the 20th National Party Congress for China and the world in ORCA’s 1st Expert Scholars” Dialogue. Both speakers talk about various dynamics of China’s domestic politics and also elaborate on expected personnel changes at the upcoming 20th Party Congress. Dr. Panda and Dr. Deepak bring out possible implications of Party Congress on China’s economy, its foreign policy and on India-China relations, in particular. The issues discussed during this dialogue include BRI, China’s poverty alleviation programme and China’s great power diplomacy among many others.

Sep 16, 2022 Ep 4: Omkar Bhole on Chinese Domestic Responses to Pelosi’s Taiwan Visit

In this episode, Siddhant Nair speaks to ORCA’s Research Associate, Omkar Bhole. They discuss his publication titled “Chinese Domestic Responses to Pelosi’s Taiwan Visit”. Omkar elaborates on how Party officials and leaders have reacted to Pelosi’s visit, highlighting that many have reacted sharply to the visit, sharing their views along with the Party line. He also shows how Chinese citizens have reacted to Pelosi’s visit, pointing out that the Party has had to pacify public pressure to intensify the reunification process with Taiwan and how people want it to be done as quickly as possible. Despite that, China cannot act too quickly in forcefully reunifying Taiwan, as it could antagonize the world and poses a danger to China’s post-pandemic recovery.

Aug 18, 2022 Ep 3: Anushka Saxena on Dissecting Chinese Aggression on Taiwan

In this episode, Siddhant Nair from ORCA speaks to Anushka Saxena on her publication with us titled “Can China Emulate Russian Aggression in Taiwan?”. Elaborating her views on the issue, Ms. Saxena talks about how the US’s response to the Russia-Ukraine war shaped Chinese views on reunification with Taiwan and the global impact of western sanctions on China. She also talks about the historic and political importance of reunification of Taiwan, and how Taiwan and China perceive the “Taiwan issue”. She ends the podcast by giving an insight into what Taiwan’s reunification with China will look like by drawing examples from Hong Kong.

Jun 10, 2022 Ep 2: Mahima Duggal on Deconstructing China’s Common Prosperity

In this episode, Ahana Roy from ORCA speaks to Mahima Duggal, about the history of ‘Common Prosperity’ and how it has evolved under the Chinese communist ideology. Ms. Duggal also talks about how Xi has used “Common Prosperity” as a tool to expand his power and influence across China, portraying himself as a “one of the people” against the corruption of the elites. She also expresses her views on what “Common Prosperity” will look like after the 20th Party Congress, should Xi be re-elected for his third term.

Jun 07, 2022 EP 1: Jay Maniyar on Middle Powers and Maritime Security in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR)

In this episode, Ahana Roy from ORCA speaks to Jay Maniyar about the latter’s publication with us on middle powers and maritime security in the IOR. Mr. Maniyar elaborates on what constitutes a middle power, the role middle powers can play in an IOR security architecture and how India can enhance its maritime security capabilities to counter China’s IOR geo-economic architecture.

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