Thursday 07 Oct 2021 | 05:36 | SYDNEY
People | experts Rory Medcalf
Nonresident Fellow
Lowy Institute
Areas of ExpertiseAsia-Pacific/Indo-Pacific strategic order; India and the Indian Ocean; maritime security; nuclear arms control

Australia and India: how to advance

In this new Lowy Institute Perspective, Lowy Institute Program Director Rory Medcalf argues that a mix of flawed policy and flawed perception is holding back a truly strategic partnership between Australia and India.This text is based on a speech delivered by Mr Medcalf at the Advance Global

India ahoy

In this opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal (Asia), International Security Program Director Rory Medcalf argues that India needs to sustain its smart naval diplomacy to manage tensions as China’s role increases in the Indian Ocean.Wall Street Journal, 29 April 2010

Tuesday security linkage

Just a few years ago the wisdom among quite a few China experts was that the odds were against the PLA Navy seeking a serious power-projection role, given that this would be such a departure from Chinese military tradition and 'strategic culture'. Now long-range Chinese naval missions are the

Confusion on Kashmir

Some surprises in Indian media coverage of Australia this week, one welcome, one anything but – and both by the same journalist.  Dileep Padgaonkar, a veteran writer with the Times of India, seems to have been on a visit down under recently. He produced this extraordinary piece offering a

India nuclear example

In this opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal (Asia), International Security Program Director Rory Medcalf explains why the India-Pakistan nuclear relationship is not strictly an arms race, and why it was right for President Obama to exclude this issue from the agenda of the recent Nuclear

Rudd is needed at nuclear summit

In this opinion piece in The Sydney Morning Herald, International Security Program Director Rory Medcalf examines President Obama's major revision of US nuclear weapons posture and argues that Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd should support Obama's efforts by attending a nuclear security summit

New nuclear times, new nuclear column

President Obama has just released the long-awaited US Nuclear Posture Review; world leaders are due to meet in a few days to talk about preventing nuclear terrorism and proliferation; a new START treaty between the US and Russia will soon be signed; and a crucial five-yearly Review Conference for

John Lang, our forgotten Indian envoy

In this article in The Spectator (Australia), Lowy Institute Program Director and India expert Rory Medcalf suggests that a voice from the past could help ease today’s media-fed tensions between India and Australia. John Lang, Australia’s first novelist, was a pioneer of the Indian press and

Friday security linkage

The US and Russia are on the verge of finalising a treaty to dramatically reduce numbers of deployed strategic weapons, but here's some less inspiring news on nukes: Kevin Rudd has missed a chance to send signals to Washington that Australia would accept – even endorse – a more relaxed US

Nuclear weapons in Asia: why we should worry

In the Lowy Institute's first Food for Thought lecture in Melbourne, on 23 March, International Security Program Director Rory Medcalf explored how the dangers of nuclear-armed confrontation between states might be minimised in the Asian century. He focused on relations among the United States,

Monday security linkage

  The recent US Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) emphasised the need for a new 'AirSea Battle' strategy to deal with growing Chinese and Iranian maritime anti-access capabilities. Andrew Krepinevich explains the why in this new paper. As for the how, you'll need to wait for the sequel. Still

India smart naval power

India is smartening up its naval diplomacy in the great maritime game with China. New Delhi is showing signs of a new spirit of cooperation with Beijing in the Indian Ocean, offering to protect Chinese oil shipments or even cooperate with the Chinese Navy. This is not capitulation. It is

Clear the air with India

In this op-ed in The Australian, senior Lowy researchers Fergus Hanson and Rory Medcalf argue that Canberra needs to commission an independent committee of inquiry to set the record straight about the crimes against Indian students in Australia, and to pressure the Victorian government to provide

Indian student linkage

Amid all the heat and worry over how the student safety crisis is affecting Australia-India relations, here are some angles that deserve more attention: The Indian Express, consistently one of India's sharpest newspapers, brings a few breaths of fresh air to the overheated Indian media debate,

How the roar of China tiger will be heard across the world

The year of the tiger began on 14 February with the Chinese lunar new year's day. In the Inquirer section of The Weekend Australian, Lowy Institute research staff described 10 ways China will shape the planet in the next 12 months.The Australian, 13-14 February 2010, Inquirer p. 2

First class, second class, Collins class

Australian Defence Minister Senator John Faulkner has a reputation for speaking plainly. Not yesterday, when he told the Seapower 2010 conference that the availability of the nation's Collins class submarine fleet was 'less than optimal'. When you get below the surface, that actually means our

Positive spinoffs from piracy

An intriguing session at the Seapower 2010 conference in Sydney today involved Chinese and Japanese admirals giving their national perspectives on counter-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia. A promising topic, though alas, they left a lot unsaid. Then again, perhaps that was for the best.

Wednesday security linkage

Latest on the question of whether Japan is comfortable with the US reducing the role of its nuclear weapons in East Asia: the Japanese Foreign Minister denies that Tokyo has a problem with the Washington retiring its nuclear Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles. Jaw-jaw or war-war? North Korea'

2020 vision: that sinking feeling

In an article in The Australian, ten Lowy Institute research staff describe ten aspects of our world that may vanish by 2020.The Australian, 16 January 2010, p. 2

Threat to cricketers may heal relations

In an opinion piece in The Age, Rory Medcalf, Program Director International Security, coordinator of the Australia-India Roundtable, suggests that the threats by India’s Shiv Sena extremists to ban Australian cricketers will alienate mainstream Indians. He argues that the crisis over the welfare

A touch of Bollywood in Parramatta

Two events in the past few days – one positive, one negative – have the potential to act as circuit-breakers in the crisis over the welfare of Indian students in Australia. The negative event was the suggestion by the extremist Shiv Sena Party that Australian cricketers should be banned from

Mehta banished to Wellington?

Admiral Suresh Mehta (pictured, at a 2008 event at the Lowy Institute) has one of the wiser minds in the Indian strategic community. This speech last year was the most sensible and balanced piece of advice on Indian defence policy uttered publicly by a military officer. It has also been one of

Wednesday security linkage

What is the Royal Australian Navy going to use its great big strategic projection ships for? Are they as much for the Army as the Navy? Go to the Seapower 2010 conference to find out.  It's a bad sign for the supposed ruddy health of the Australia-US alliance that the 2007 bilateral defence

India: Australia reputation suffers

Australia's reputation in India — and worldwide — has suffered greatly in the past week. The storm of outrage in the Indian media over the safety of Indian students in Australia has gone global. The catalyst for this furore has been the murder in Melbourne of a young Indian-born graduate.

Media raising a scare will do more harm than good

In this opinion piece in India’s Mail Today newspaper, Lowy Institute coordinator of the Australia-India Roundtable Rory Medcalf argues that sensationalist media reporting putting a racial angle on the crimes against Indian students in Australia is not in the interests of bilateral relations or of

Thursday security linkage

Washington is in a muddle over its nuclear weapons: the much-awaited US Nuclear Posture Review has been delayed by a month, presumably to allow more time to resolve deep differences between the Pentagon and the White House over the future of the US arsenal and doctrine. Don't hold your breath for

Things I have changed my mind about this year

I have abandoned much of my earlier hope that China can be persuaded to apply much more pressure on North Korea to renounce the nuclear weapons path. Arguments like those made by Zhu Feng – despite their excellent, interests-based logic — appear to be on the losing side in the internal

My books of the year

Not sure if it makes for ideal holiday reading, but a list of the best books I've encountered this year would have to begin with the masterpiece I neglected to mention in a recent essay about new books on India. Ramachandra Guha's India After Gandhi is the definitive account of how Indian

Films to watch this summer

Forget The (other) Interpreter. Here are two must-see movies for those who love a good dose of international conspiracy with their entertainment. Both are big-screen versions of some of the sharpest British television ever made. Both open in Australia in January. One is a seriously dark tragedy

Long and bumpy road to N abolition

It's out, all 294 pages of it: the report of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, sponsored by Australia and Japan, is in the public domain. The report provides a menu of informed ideas for improving international cooperation at next year's NPT Review

A useless feud with Singapore?

With real challenges like climate change, China's rise, nuclear proliferation and the fraying of Pakistan dominating Australia's horizons, you would think that the last thing we need is a prolonged diplomatic fight with a largely likeminded country. Yet, from the tenor of Peter Hartcher's column

India: Leaving the village behind

In this major review essay for The Australian Literary Review, Lowy Institute Program Director Rory Medcalf examines how some important new books on India can help Australians to understand this rising mega-democracy.The Australian Literary Review, 2 December 2009, ppp. 12-13

Singh and Obama: Of nukes and prawns

Culinary delights aside, I am still trying to work out what Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to the United States means for the implementation of the US-India nuclear deal. My impression, so far, is that the Indians are neither thrilled nor dismayed with whatever understandings President

Chinese naval proposal wrong-headed

If China wants its anti-piracy naval presence in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden to be recognised as essentially defensive and legitimate, then a recent proposal about creating maritime zones of exclusive national responsibility is precisely not the way to go about it. As I’ve written

Tightening an obvious tie

In this opinion piece in the Indian Express newspaper, International Security Program Director Rory Medcalf argues why India would benefit from recognising the value of prioritising a strategic partnership with Australia, in the week that Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd visits India.Indian

Australia and India: Time to declare

This is a big week for Australia in its relations with India. Cricket aside, the big news is Kevin Rudd's first visit to India as Prime Minister. As I argue in a new Lowy Institute policy brief, the bad headlines in Australia-India relations in the past year — especially over student welfare

Nuclear policy: On the same page

The Lowy Institute poll, out today, suggests that three-quarters of Australians agree — many of them strongly — that nuclear disarmament should be a top policy priority. This would place Australian public opinion in accord with President Obama's aspirations, pursued most recently through an

India media the only winner

I've just returned from a visit to New Delhi, where, even though my main interest was nuclear disarmament and arms control,  almost every conversation included a reference to the controversy over the welfare of Indian students in Australia. Those discussions clarified a few of my thoughts on the

Lowy Institute Panel: Can Obama disarmament agenda work?

On 29 September, the Lowy Institute convened an expert panel to examine the implications of President Obama's push to reduce nuclear dangers, as well as to debate broader questions about nuclear disarmament. Moderated by Executive Director Dr Michael Wesley, the panel also included Deputy Director

Wicked weapons: North Asia nuclear tangle

The United States faces major challenges in engaging China, Japan and the Korean Peninsula in its quest for nuclear disarmament. Rory Medcalf explores the ‘wicked’ nature of the region’s nuclear insecurity: how fixing one part of the problem risks aggravating others. He recommends ways forward

Obama UNSC gamble

Visionary, bold and long-overdue, or risky diplomatic over-reach: however you see President Obama's UN Security Council summit this Thursday on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, there's little doubt it will make history. Perhaps it will build on the momentum of Obama's Prague speech, the

Roggeveen rule ruined on Rajpath

Sorry Sam, there is another whopping exception to your rule correlating martial parades and military influence on government. The spectacular Republic Day Parade in New Delhi, on 26 January each year, showcases the glories and follies old and new of the Indian armed forces, from camel regiments to

Pakistan cuts off treaty to spite face

Pakistan has, again, dealt a nasty blow to prospects for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament – this time by blocking the start of talks on a global treaty to ban the production of fissile material. So much for the optimism held by many, including some of us at The Interpreter. Islamabad

US-China-Australia: Cool change

The story about a possible US-China-Australia defence exercise is picking up momentum, with press coverage in Asia, the US and Europe, as well as at least one Chinese-language television channel, albeit based in Hong Kong. The Australian Government has not denied that the idea was discussed by

Australia all at sea with US and China

Today's Sydney Morning Herald has this intriguing story suggesting US and Australian military leaders want a new shape for trilateral security engagement – this time involving China. The source appears to be an interview with the Commander of Pacific Command Admiral Timothy Keating, who was in

Japan: DPJ ambiguity on nukes

The election of a DPJ government in Japan brings to power a party supposedly supportive of new thinking on nuclear disarmament, in sync with President Obama's Nuclear Weapon Free World speech and the purposes of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament.  Or so it

India testing the heavy waters?

Just when the Obama Administration is getting serious about nuclear arms control and disarmament, is India going to spoil the show with a fresh round of nuclear tests? Retired senior weapons scientist K Santhanam has caused a stir this week by being the first participant in New Delhi’s 1998 tests