With tensions between an aggressive China and an emerging India intensifying, there will be significant changes and challenges in the Indian Ocean and South Asian regions
As 2022 comes to an end, the world is embracing a ‘new normal’ where old and new fault lines are being reconfigured in Eurasia and the Indo-Pacific. The Indian Ocean and South Asian regions are at the heart of this Indo-Pacific contestation, considering their geo-political and geo-economic prominence and India’s emergence as a major power. As tensions between an aggressive China and an emerging India intensify, New Delhi’s Quad partners are also making inroads in its backyard, ushering significant changes in the region.
China’s widening outreach
The contestation for South Asia and the Indian Ocean is not new. China has long tried to mark its influence in these regions and enhance its strategic ambitions, namely, to limit Indian influence, military power, and status and to sustain its energy supply and economic growth. Beijing’s outreach in South Asia increased manifold in the early 2000s with its economic boom. It began to further its strategic ends in the region through loans, financial incentives, and mega-infrastructure projects; this became more institutionalised with the launch of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in 2013. Subsequently, these investments enabled Beijing to access the Indian Ocean, promote political and security ties in the region, harbour military vessels and submarines, and take certain islands and ports on lease ( including the Hambantota port of Sri Lanka).
READ FULL ARTICLE : Accepting the new normal in the Indo-Pacific contestation | ORF (orfonline.org)