The great polarized game in the Indian Ocean: Options for US, China and Pakistan

Authors

  • Sharin Shajahan Naomi Department of Gender Studies, Asian University for Women, Chittagong, Bangladesh.
  • Syed Muhammad Saad Zaidi Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Bahria University, Islamabad, Pakistan. https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0252-0240
  • Adam Saud Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Bahria University, Islamabad, Pakistan.

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.47264/idea.lassij/5.2.16

Keywords:

Politics of Indian Ocean, Sino-Indian strategic competition, geopolitical paradigm shift, grand strategy, Belt and Road Initiative, China, United States, Pakistan

Abstract

Indian Ocean (IO) has occupied an overlapping space of political concern and maritime security due to increasing geo-strategic importance in the region. A competition has been noticed amongst key littoral states in the IO, particularly among United States, India and China. In this competing game, United States is found to be proactively supporting India to expand its influence on IO. On the other hand, China is developing trade and military relationship with other countries including Pakistan to demonstrate leverage on the IO region. This paper sheds light into this great polarized game and its implications for Pakistan. The study uses secondary data and adopts a critical approach largely based upon ‘realist’ paradigm to analyse and understand the role of the aforementioned key actors in the political developments of the region The study reveals that both India and China, are competing ferociously and forming alliances (India with USA and China with Pakistan) to establish regional hegemony. This competition, in turn, has greatly politically polarized the region and threatened peace and stability. In this context, Pakistan needs to carefully develop its strategy which will serve its aspiration to have a positive peaceful image in the global politics and serve strategic national interest.

Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

References

Ahmad, S., Gull, A., & Irfan, S. (2019). Sino-African relations: Economic opportunities and challenges for China. Liberal Arts and Social Sciences International Journal (LASSIJ), 3(1), 61-73. https://doi.org/10.47264/idea.lassij/3.1.6 DOI: https://doi.org/10.47264/idea.lassij/3.1.6

Ahmad, S., Syed, A., Bhutta, M. M. (2020). Indian inclusion in CPEC: A path to Indo-Pak threat reduction via complex interdependence. Liberal Arts and Social Sciences International Journal (LASSIJ), 3(2), 11-19. https://doi.org/10.47264/idea.lassij/3.2.2 DOI: https://doi.org/10.47264/idea.lassij/3.2.2

Ali, S. M. (2020, December 1). The US-China strategic rivalry and its implications for Pakistan. Stimson. https://www.stimson.org/2020/the-u-s-china-strategic-rivalry-and-its-implications-for-pakistan/

Ali, R., Ali, I., & Ullah, S. (2019). SCO as a passage to regional security: Future developments and opportunities for Pakistan. Liberal Arts and Social Sciences International Journal (LASSIJ), 3(1), 19-29. https://doi.org/10.47264/idea.lassij/3.1.3 DOI: https://doi.org/10.47264/idea.lassij/3.1.3

Ansari, B. (2019, November 25). Indian Ocean: A great game for strategic and nuclear supremacy. South Asian Strategic Stability Institute. http://sassi.org.pk/indian-ocean-a-great-game-for-strategic-and-nuclear-supremacy/

Aliasgary, S., & Ekstrom, M. (2021, October 21). Chabahar Port and Iran’s strategic balancing with China and India. The Diplomat. https://thediplomat.com/2021/10/chabahar-port-and-irans-strategic-balancing-with-china-and-india/

Azmat, Z. (2016, October 9). Pakistan and China developing satellite to monitor CPEC route. The News. https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/155917-Pakistan-and-China-developing-satellite-to-monitor-CPEC-route

Baloch, B. (2017, January 15). China hands over two ships to Pakistan for maritime security. Dawn. http://www.dawn.com/news/1308491

Bastos, M. (2018, May 4). Pakistan’s foreign policy towards the Indian Ocean Region. Pakistan Politico. http://pakistanpolitico.com/pakistans-foreign-policy-towards-the-indian-ocean-region/

Blanchard, B. (2017, August 1). China formally opens first overseas military base in Djibouti. Reuters. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-djibouti-idUSKBN1AH3E3

Brookings. (2017, December 21). Experts on Trump’s National Security Strategy (NSS). https://www.brookings.edu/research/brookings-experts-on-trumps-national-security-strategy/

Chai, W., & Chai, M. (2013). The meaning of Xi Jinping’s Chinese dream. American Journal of Chinese Studies, 20(2), 95–97. https://www.jstor.org/stable/44289022

Chaudhury, D. R. (2017, May 26). OBOR: India, Japan come up with AAGC to counter China’s OBOR. The Economic Times. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/policy/india-japan-come-up-with-aagc-to-counter-chinas-obor/articleshow/58846673.cms?from=mdr

Chinoy, S. R. (2019, November 7). China remains wary of the Quad and its future contours. The Indian Express. https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/india-quadrilateral-cooperation-dialogue-china-japan-us-6106772/

Clinton, H. (2011, October 11). America’s pacific century. Foreign Policy. https://foreignpolicy.com/2011/10/11/americas-pacific-century/

Cordesman, A. H., & Toukan, A. (2014, August). The Indian Ocean Region: A strategic net assessment. Center for Strategic and International Studies. A report of CIS Burke Chair in Strategy, with the assistance of D. Dewit and G. Berntsen. https://csis-website-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/legacy_files/files/publication/140814_Cordesman_IndianOceanRegion_Web.pdf

Dabas, M. (2017, June 23). Here is all you should know about 'String of Pearls', China's Policy to encircle India. India Times. https://www.indiatimes.com/news/india/here-is-all-you-should-know-about-string-of-pearls-china-s-policy-to-encircle-india-324315.html

Dombrowski, P., & Winner, A. C. (2014). The Indian Ocean and US grand strategy: Ensuring access and promoting security. Georgetown University.

Farr, G. (2017, July 10). Pakistan’s role in China’s One Belt One Road initiative. E-International Relations. https://www.e-ir.info/2017/07/10/pakistans-role-in-chinas-one-belt-one-road-initiative/

Farid, F. (2020, Feburary 7). Why Pakistan needs a comprehensive Indian Ocean policy. Fletcherforum. http://www.fletcherforum.org/home/2020/2/7/why-pakistan-needs-a-comprehensive-indian-ocean-policy

Ford, L. W. (2020, May). The Trump administration and the “Free and Open Indo-Pacific”. Brookings. https://www.brookings.edu/research/the-trump-administration-and-the-free-and-open-indo-pacific/

Grare, F. (2018, July 31). Along the road: Gwadar and China’s power projection. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. https://carnegieendowment.org/2018/07/31/along-road-gwadar-and-china-s-power-projection-pub-77217

Glosserman, B. (2020, September 1). ‘Debt trap’ diplomacy is a card China seldom plays in Belt and Road Initiative. The Japan Times. https://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2020/09/01/commentary/debt-trap-diplomacy-bri-china/

Grieco, K. A. (2018). The 2018 National Defense Strategy: Continuity and Competition. Strategic Studies Quarterly, 12(2), 3–8. https://www.jstor.org/stable/26430813

Gul, A., Hussain, M., Imran, S., Rehman, A. U., & Haider, S. A. (2021). Assessing various opportunities and challenges in India-US strategic partnership. Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues, 24(S1), 1-14. https://www.abacademies.org/articles/assessing-various-opportunities-and-challenges-in-indiaus-strategic-partnership-12461.html

Hannah, H. I. (2019, April 1). The great game moves to sea: Tripolar competition in the Indian Ocean Region. Texus National Security Review. https://warontherocks.com/2019/04/the-great-game-moves-to-sea-tripolar-competition-in-the-indian-ocean-region/

Hassan, M. A. (2019). Growing China-India competition in the Indian Ocean: Implications for Pakistan. Strategic Studies, 39(1), 77–89. https://doi.org/10.2307/48544289

Hindustan Times. (2021, Nov 30). India refuses to support China’s Belt and Road project at SCO meet. Hindustan Times. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/india-doesn-t-join-sco-members-in-endorsing-china-s-belt-and-road-project/story-CBH22ODWVImRFpwkkhehWI.html

Hornat, J. (2016). The power triangle in the Indian Ocean: China, India and the United States. Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 29(2), 425–443. https://doi.org/10.1080/09557571.2014.974507 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09557571.2014.974507

Hornby, L. (2018, August 8). Mahathir Mohamad warns against ‘New Colonialism’ during China visit. Financial Times. https://www.ft.com/content/7566599e-a443-11e8-8ecf-a7ae1beff35b

Idrees, M., Naazer, M. A., Ashfaq, S. (2017). Conflicts and conflict management in SAARC: Assessing challenges and the way forward. Liberal Arts and Social Sciences International Journal (LASSIJ), 1(2), 1-11. https://doi.org/10.47264/idea.lassij/1.2.1 DOI: https://doi.org/10.47264/idea.lassij/1.2.1

Jaffery, S. A. Z. (2019, February 15). Pakistan in the Indo-Pacific: Caught in the geopolitical crossfire. South Asian Voices. https://southasianvoices.org/pakistan-in-the-indo-pacific-caught-in-the-geopolitical-crossfire/

Jaishankar, D. (2016, September 12). Indian Ocean Region: A pivot for India’s growth. Brookings. https://www.brookings.edu/opinions/indian-ocean-region-a-pivot-for-indias-growth/

James, T. (2017, March 8). Can China overcome the Malacca Dilemma through OBOR and CPEC? Global Risk Insights. https://globalriskinsights.com/2017/03/china-overcome-malacca-dilemma-obor-cpec/

Jeffrey, C. (2019, January 15). Why the Indian Ocean Region might soon play a lead role in world affairs. Australia India Institute. https://www.aii.unimelb.edu.au/blog/why-the-indian-ocean-region-might-soon-play-a-lead-role-in-world-affairs/

Kowalski, J.M. (2019). Sailing the Indian Ocean in Ancient Times. Angles: New Perspectives on the Anglophone World, 9. https://doi.org/10.4000/angles.800 DOI: https://doi.org/10.4000/angles.800

Mahan, A. (1987). The Indian Ocean in world politics: Reflections on its future By Prasanta Sen Gupta. India Quarterly, 43(3–4), 195–212. https://doi.org/10.1177/097492848704300301 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/097492848704300301

Panda, J. (2017). The Asia-Africa growth corridor: An India-Japan arch in the making. Focus Asia: Perspective & Analysis, 21, 1-11. https://isdp.eu/content/uploads/2017/08/2017-focus-asia-jagannath-panda.pdf

Panikkar, K. M. (1945). India and the Indian Ocean. Macmillan. http://www.fletcherforum.org/home/2020/2/7/why-pakistan-needs-a-comprehensive-indian-ocean-policy

Rashid, Z. & Hilali, A. Z. (2020). Geo-Politics of Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status under the WTO and future of trade between India-Pakistan. Liberal Arts and Social Sciences International Journal (LASSIJ), 4(1), 54-65. https//:doi.org/10.47264/idea.lassij.4.1.6 DOI: https://doi.org/10.47264/idea.lassij/4.1.6

Rehman, A. U., Hakim, A., Khan, K., & Khan, I. U. (2018). Role of CPEC in development of trade, transport and economy of Pakistan. Romanian Journal of Transport Infrastructure, 7(1), 77-92. https://doi.org/ 10.2478/rjti-2018-0005 DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/rjti-2018-0005

Reuters Staff. (2018a, February 20). Chinese warships enter East Indian Ocean amid Maldives tensions. Reuters. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-maldives-politics-china-idUSKCN1G40V9

Reuters Staff. (2018b, August 5). U.S. pledges nearly $300 million security funding for Indo-Pacific Region. Reuters. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-asean-singapore-usa-security-idUSKBN1KP022

Romaniuk, S. N., & Burgers, T. (2019, January 26). Pakistan’s new generation of Chinese warships. The Diplomat. https://thediplomat.com/2019/01/pakistans-new-generation-of-chinese-warships/

Sagar Mala—Concept & Objectives. (n.d.). Ministry of Shipping, Government of India. http://sagarmala.gov.in/about-sagarmala/vision-objectives

Saibal, D. (2019, June 7). India-China Trade to Touch $100 Billion-Mark this Year. The Times of India. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/india-china-trade-to-touch-100-billion-mark-this-year/articleshow/69691004.cms

Salim, A., Semetko, H. A., Zehra, S. (2018). Pak-US Strategic Partnership and Challenge of Internal Radical Symbiosis. Liberal Arts and Social Sciences International Journal (LASSIJ), 2(1), 57-64. https://doi.org/10.47264/idea.lassij/2.1.7 DOI: https://doi.org/10.47264/idea.lassij/2.1.7

Sengupta, A. (2020). The oceans as new regions: emerging narratives and the Bay of Bengal. Journal of the Indian Ocean Region, 16(3), 229-243. https://doi.org/10.1080/19480881.2020.1820690 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/19480881.2020.1820690

Siraj, U., Saqib, N. U., Naazer, M. A. (2019). Eurasian Integration and China’s BRI: Opportunities and Challenges. Liberal Arts and Social Sciences International Journal (LASSIJ), 3(1), 93-107. https://doi.org/10.47264/idea.lassij/3.1.9 DOI: https://doi.org/10.47264/idea.lassij/3.1.9

Tabrizi, A. B., & Dave, A. (2017, March 9). Chabahar: The key to a strategic partnership between India and Iran? The Interpreter. https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/chabahar-key-strategic-partnership-between-india-and-iran

Thakker, A. (2018, October 17). A rising India in the Indian Ocean needs a strong Navy. Centre for Strategic and International Studies. https://www.csis.org/npfp/rising-india-indian-ocean-needs-strong-navy

Usman, S. M. & Lyu, Z. (2021). Sino-Africa relations: Gradual changes in Chinese foreign strategy towards African countries. Liberal Arts and Social Sciences International Journal (LASSIJ), 5(1), 154-167. https://doi.org/10.47264/idea.lassij/5.1.11 DOI: https://doi.org/10.47264/idea.lassij/5.1.11

Wadlow, T. (2018, June 4). An overview of the $9bn China-backed proposal for Myanmar’s Kyaukpyu Port. Construction Global. https://constructionglobal.com/infrastructure/overview-dollar9bn-china-backed-proposal-myanmars-kyaukpyu-port

Wang, M. (2018, April 13). China’s strategy in Djibouti: Mixing commercial and military interests. Council on Foreign Relations. https://www.cfr.org/blog/chinas-strategy-djibouti-mixing-commercial-and-military-interests

Yaqoob, S. & Sattar, N. (2021). Aid and irritants in Pak-US relations in the wake of 9/11 incident. Liberal Arts and Social Sciences International Journal (LASSIJ), 5(1), 266-278. https://doi.org/10.47264/idea.lassij/5.1.18 DOI: https://doi.org/10.47264/idea.lassij/5.1.18

Younus, K. (2020). Strategic Convergence and Competition in the Indo-Pacific Region: Policy Options for Pakistan. Margalla Papers, XXIV(1), 80–95. https://margallapapers.ndu.edu.pk/site/article/view/39

Zaidi, S. M. S., Saud, A., & Ashher, S. (2020). US initiatives to contain China’s Rise: Post 2008’s economic crisis. International Review of Social Sciences, 8(9), 18–33. https://irss.academyirmbr.com/papers/1599211699.pdf

Ziegler, D. (2020, February 6). China wants to put itself back at the centre of the world. The Economist. https://www.economist.com/special-report/2020/02/06/china-wants-to-put-itself-back-at-the-centre-of-the-world

Zikriya, Khan, N., & Salim, A. (2019). Middle East Dilemma: Pakistan’s Role as Mediator for Conflict Resolution. Liberal Arts and Social Sciences International Journal (LASSIJ), 3(1), 9-18. https://doi.org/10.47264/idea.lassij/3.1.2 DOI: https://doi.org/10.47264/idea.lassij/3.1.2

Published

2021-11-22

How to Cite

Naomi, S. S., Zaidi, S. M. S., & Saud, A. (2021). The great polarized game in the Indian Ocean: Options for US, China and Pakistan. Liberal Arts and Social Sciences International Journal (LASSIJ), 5(2), 236–249. https://doi.org/10.47264/idea.lassij/5.2.16

Issue

Section

Research Articles | Original Articles | Original Research

Categories