Understanding the Role of Asian Think Tanks in Global Affairs

Depending on the purpose, political culture, leadership, and orientation, Asian Think Tanks come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and styles. Think tanks have a long history of being crucial to the development of both domestic and foreign policy in the United States. They are an essential component of the national security state since they are insiders. They can also act as outsiders pounding on the door of power to get their ideas adopted as policy. Think tanks in Asia deviate increasingly from the stereotype of an Asian think tank in terms of their origins, functions, and audience. Asian think tanks also play an essential role in Global affairs. Here in this post, we discuss how Asian think tanks affect Global affairs. Let’s start:

The significance of Asian think tanks for policy and their effects

Similar to the variety of the nations themselves, so do the roles and the effects of policy. Think tanks influence is very small in authoritarian nations, where they frequently serve to justify rather than advance political agendas. These ‘think tanks’ are, at best, just defenders of the government’s agenda. In the worst-case situation, they might be used as instruments by the government to monitor or stifle political actors who might try to oppose the government’s actions.

Think tanks serve a range of functions in more liberal societies by providing forums for the introduction, debate, and dissemination of ground-breaking policy concepts. They host unofficial workshops and gatherings where officials, academics, civil society leaders, and specialists in policy can get together to discuss policy at all levels.

How do Asian think tanks advance political discourse and civic society in the nations and regions where they operate?

In Asian politics, Asian think tanks occupy a remarkably distinct space. They provide a setting where social conventions are suspended allowing representatives to openly discuss subjects deemed too delicate to be raised in formal processes. These informal settings serve as a conduit for ideas from the worlds of knowledge and power, providing a rare venue for influential people to consider novel ideas for public policy.

Between formal politics and civil society’s activities in Asia, there is a gap in this area. On the one hand, think tanks can present a point of contact for representatives of civil society and decision-makers. On the other hand, think tanks have also been employed to pay lip service to the issues raised by civil society. In other words, they are employed to create the appearance that the government is open to suggestions or complaints when in reality, they serve as a means of putting off political dissent.

What are the principal features in the amount and skill of Asia’s think tanks given their expanding global value?

Increasing numbers, connection, and autonomy are three significant developments.

Since the middle of the 2000s, Asian think tanks have multiplied rapidly, but they still trail the U.S. and Europe in number. Despite housing half of the world’s population, Asia only accounts for 25% of think tanks globally.

To combine their resources and broaden their influence, many Asian think tanks have partnered with other think tanks due to a shortage of human capital and consistent funding. Globalization and improved access to digital resources have made networking and collaboration possible.

Last but not least, as more and different funding sources (international money, grants, enterprises, affluent individuals) become accessible, Asian think tanks keep pushing for autonomy. Increased ideological freedom and a variety of policy analyses will follow from this. All three of these elements are likely to result in higher quality.


The Asian Think Tanks is a loose association of groups that conducts research on inclusive development and sustainable growth in Asia and the Pacific. It consists of several member institutions located in member nations, with a significant representation of state economic development policy research organisations. These are some essential things that you must know about them. If you require more knowledge, you may ask us questions in the comment section.