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U.S-China Power Conflict in Indo-Pacific

 

The importance of the Indo-Pacific region lies in the fact that two thirds of the worlds’ trade passes through this region and it’s a home of five largest militaries. This region has the potential to meet the energy needs of the states as well as extending maritime influence. Several studies show that at least 50% of global GDP will be shared by this region. Half the world’s trade is carried out through the Indian Ocean. Two important straits, Babul Mandeb and Malacca lie in this region. The US renamed its Pacific Command to “Indo-Pacific ” in 2018 due to its emerging importance. This region has become a new warfront for many powers. The term, first used by Gurpreet S. Khurrana has now become the center of attraction for the whole world. 

The twenty-first century marked a new shift in political dimension with the focus on the confluence of two oceans, Indian and Pacific. It consists of major powers like China, India and ASEAN states and this is the significance which makes the region a hotspot of the competition of major states. The term was basically introduced to lower China’s clout in the region. The greatest initiative of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) taken by China in pursuit of extending its influence has overturned the balance of power. The greatest initiative of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) taken by China in pursuit of extending its influence has overturned the balance of power.

 The economic expansion of China has left other major and regional powers in a vulnerable state because the latter has included all the major states with important ports in its BRI. China actively left its footprints in the region through Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) and it is already flexing its muscles in the region through its presence in the ports of Djibouti in the Horn of Africa, Gwadar in Pakistan, Hambantota in Sri Lanka, in the Maldives, and in Tanzania.

 The rise of China led to the containment policy of the U.S where it started bringing in the like minded states in its axis. To thwart the growing Chinese expansion in the Indo-Pacific, the U.S formed many alliances in the context of containment of China. Quad and AUKUS are two major initiatives taken by the US along with regional and other stakeholders to counter the influence of China. Under QUAD, the U.S, India, Japan and Australia conduct joint exercises like Malabar and other exercises to ensure Freedom of Navigation Operation (FONA) and keep their presence in the region. AUKUS is another initiative where the US and UK will share nuclear powered submarines with Australia, a technology which they never shared with anyone before. All these developments make this region a battleground for power and influence.  

 

 

Written by: Ayesha Imtiaz Abbasi

Edited by: Amna Sheikh

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