Back to WebsiteNewsletter PreviewSign Up
This week our top story pays a visit to farmers protesting along a highway outside of New Delhi. We also have an interview with Geoffrey F. Gresh, a professor of international relations at the National Defense University in Washington, DC, about maritime competition in Eurasia.
The Diplomat Brief
December 9,
Welcome to the latest issue of Diplomat Brief. This week our top story pays a visit to farmers protesting along a highway outside of New Delhi. We also have an interview with Geoffrey F. Gresh, a professor of international relations at the National Defense University in Washington, DC, about maritime competition in Eurasia.
Story of the week
Inside India’s Farmer Protest


Inside India’s Farmer Protest

What Happened: Thousands of Indian farmers have been camped out along a highway near New Delhi for nearly two weeks, protesting against new agricultural reforms they say will worsen farmers’ plight. The Modi government, however, says the laws will actually increase farmers’ profits thanks to new options for selling their produce.

Our Focus: “We are fully prepared and are ready to face every circumstance,” one protester, Kuldeep Singh, told The Diplomat. “We want these reforms to be changed, till then we will not leave this place.”

What Comes Next: Government attempts at assuaging concerns thus far have been unsuccessful and the protesters are dug in for the long haul – even as winter sets in and COVID-19 continues to spread across India. Meanwhile, critics have already denounced the use of water cannons and tear gas against the protesters. Can the government and farmers reach a peaceful resolution?

Read this story
Behind the News


Geoffrey F. Gresh

Geoffrey F. Gresh, author of the book “To Rule Eurasia’s Waves: The New Great Power Competition at Sea,” on small nations’ role in maritime competition: “Some of the countries I think about in this space are the Indian Ocean island nations such as Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Mauritius, and the Seychelles... If some of these smaller island nations pushed for greater sea denial capabilities, it could potentially pose significant, albeit undesired, outcomes that are counterproductive.”

Read the interview
This Week in Asia

Northeast Asia

Japanese, Chinese Space Missions Hit Milestones

On December 6, a Japanese spacecraft successfully deposited rare asteroid samples on Earth. The Hayabusa2 will now head to a still more distant asteroid, continuing a mission that began in 2014. Meanwhile, China’s Chang’e 5 mission has successfully retrieved samples from the moon and redocked in lunar orbit. The spacecraft is expected to head back to Earth on December 13, bringing with it the first new lunar samples in over 45 years. Amid the deserved congratulations, however, beware of reading too much into China’s moon ambitions.

Find out more

South Asia

The U.K.’s Top Diplomat Comes to India

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is expected to arrive on a two-day visit to India on December 16 as his country seeks to position itself as an Indo-Pacific power post-Brexit. In recent months, Britain has asserted itself as a player in the region by, among other things, siding with Australia in its push against China but also by announcing a dramatic increase in its defense budget. However, some remain cautious about Britain's ability to walk the walk given serious uncertainty about its post-Brexit, post-pandemic economic future.

Find out more

Southeast Asia

Indonesia’s Regional Elections

This week, Indonesians will go to the polls for important regional elections, in which they will select the leaders of nine provinces, 224 regencies, and 37 cities across the archipelago. But they will do so amid a swell of COVID-19 infections that already postponed the elections once, and now threatens to undercut Indonesia’s traditionally high voter turnout.

Find out more

Central Asia

Kyrgyzstan’s Acting President Goes to Moscow

This week, Kyrgyzstan's acting president – Talant Mamytov, Sadyr Japarov’s longtime ally – was in Moscow to meet the chairman of the State Duma and discuss Kyrgyz-Russian relations. The visit seemed to cement Russian approval for the political trajectory in Kyrgyzstan: arcing toward a strong presidential system. Keep an eye on Japarov, the top contender, as the January 10 presidential election rapidly approaches.

Find out more
Visualizing APAC


Kashmiris Come Out to Vote

From November 28 to December 19, Kashmiris are heading to the polls in the region’s first election since seeing its special status abrogated in August 2019.

See the full picture
Word of the Week



“Untact”: A Korean neologism, meaning “contactless,” coined during the isolation of COVID-19. The word is often used when new advances in technology allow for experiences to go virtual.

Find out more


The Biden Administration: Asia Reacts

Last week, The Diplomat explored reactions to the incoming Biden administration from Northeast, Southeast, and South Asia. View a recording of the webinar, featuring Yuki Tatsumi, Dino Patti Djalal, and Suhasini Haidar, here. Stay tuned for updates on our next webinar!

Watch the webinar
The Diplomat BriefBell AH-1Z Viper
The New Geopolitics of Climate Change

The Diplomat Magazine | December 2020

The New Geopolitics of Climate Change

This month, we look at the prospects for meaningful progress on climate change through the lens of the geopolitical calculations being made by the world’s two largest emitters: the United States and China. We also outline the international costs of Australia’s recalcitrance on climate issues, examine the risks of habitat loss (and efforts to combat it) in Southeast Asia, and shine a light on Afghanistan’s biggest fight yet: the battle against climate change. And, of course, we offer a range of reporting, analysis, and opinion from across the region.

Read the Magazine
Diplomat Risk Intelligence