The Indo-Pacific Contestation
- The Geo-Political tensions are ongoing in the Indo Pacific region, South Asia and the Indian Ocean are at the centre of this debate due to their geopolitical and economic importance.
- India’s rise to prominence and emergence as a powerful nation, The Quad partners of New Delhi are making progress in its backyard as tensions between an aggressive China and India, heralding in significant changes in the area.
- South Asia and the Indian Ocean have long been in conflict. China has long sought to increase its influence in these areas
- Strategic goals include limiting Indian influence, military might, and status while preserving its energy supplies and economic expansion.
- With its economic rise in the early 2000s, Beijing’s influence in South Asia expanded. Through loans, financial incentives, and mega-infrastructure projects, it started advancing its strategic goals in the area; this became more institutionalised with the launch of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in 2013.
- Only after the battles in Galwan in 2020 has Indian strategic thinking deemed Beijing to be a greater danger than Islamabad.
- Although a two-front war is still conceivable, Pakistan’s strategic isolation, negative economic and political repercussions, and border and terrorism challenges coming from Afghanistan have reduced the chances of its aggression.
- Beijing’s larger strategic and diplomatic presence, however, as well as its lofty objectives, have continued to cause anxiety for New Delhi.
What India is doing?
- Following Galwan, New Delhi has refocused its diplomatic efforts in its immediate neighbourhood.
- New Delhi is responding to President Ibrahim Solih’s “India First” strategy in the Maldives with significant financial aid, grants, and infrastructure projects as well as by collaborating on marine security.
- The Nepali administration under Prime Minister Deuba has made an effort to strengthen Nepal’s bilateral relations with India.
- India has invested $4 billion and offered $4 billion in economic and humanitarian aid to Sri Lanka this year alone.
- Other Quad members (Japan, Australia, and the United States) have been drawn to India’s leading efforts in South Asia and the Indian Ocean.
Source The Hindu
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