Remilitarisation in Asia: Trends and Implications

GIGA Focus Asia

Release Date



  • English


  • Militarisation and arms control

Recent years have seen a remilitarisation of many countries in South, Southeast, and Northeast Asia. While open coups remain an exception, there is a worrying trend among Asian nations of the military’s influence over politics, society, and the economy gradually increasing. This raises concerns about the prospects for liberal democracy, just socio-economic development, and stability in the region.

\ Since midway through the first decade of the new century, militaries in Asia have expanded their influence over the recruitment of personnel to government positions, therewith exercising veto power over political decision-making and engaging in repression of the opposition.

\ The region also is subject to an increasing material militarisation. Through rising budgets and large armies, many of the region’s militaries command substantial shares of their respective national financial and human resources. Combined, military entrepreneurship and a militarised bureaucracy provide the “deep state” with the necessary resources and capacities to penetrate and control politics and society.

\ These developments run parallel to an increased military presence in society, with many Asian armies maintaining extensive business interests and routinely conducting policing operations.

\ While the long-term repercussions of this multidimensional remilitarisation remain uncertain, historical precedent cautions against incremental militarisation in politics, society, and the economy.

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Cite as
@article{BayerCroissantScheeder2024, author = "Markus Bayer and Aurel Croissant and Nikitas Scheeder and David Kuehn", title = "Remilitarisation in Asia: Trends and Implications", subtitle = "GIGA Focus Asia", latexTitle = "Remilitarisation in Asia: Trends and Implications", publisher = "German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA)", institution = "German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA)", type = "Journal article", year = "2024", address = "Hamburg", }


Journal article



German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA)