The 11th edition of the IISS Asia-Pacific Regional Security Assessment (APRSA) sheds light on the escalating competition in the Asia-Pacific region

India’s heightened emphasis on regional defence diplomacy, engagement, and issue-based partnerships, as unveiled in a report launched on Friday at the onset of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, is poised to have a profound impact on India-China relations. The report, published by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), predicts that India’s expanding defence role and partnerships will not only fuel but also shape the competitive nature of India-China relations.

The 11th edition of the IISS Asia-Pacific Regional Security Assessment (APRSA) sheds light on the escalating competition in the Asia-Pacific region. As the United States and China vie for influence, India’s strategic defence partnerships are emerging as a crucial counterbalance to Beijing’s regional dominance, instilling a sense of reassurance in the region.

“For India, being a ‘preferred security partner’ through defence partnerships, from combined exercises to arms transfer, increases its regional presence, which in turn enhances its influence with Asia-Pacific countries while countering Beijing’s regional influence,” IISS press release states.

As India-China relations continue to strain, the region could witness a deepening divide between these two powers, potentially leading to a more exclusionary defence environment. The report highlights that the choice of a security partner is not without its share of risks and challenges, even as it offers defence-specific benefits for regional stakeholders. Despite these potential pitfalls, the report strongly suggests that India is likely to strengthen its ties with the Asia-Pacific region, a strategic move that could significantly impact the region’s defence dynamics.

India strategically leverages combined military exercises with regional partners to enhance cooperation, strengthen ties with New Delhi, and assert influence in the face of China’s regional dominance. As a result, India consistently conducts a diverse range of combined military exercises.

India’s increasing role in defence and its partnerships in the Asia-Pacific region has significant implications for regional security. It’s growing involvement with Australia, Japan, and the US, both through bilateral and mini-lateral arrangements, as well as with states in the Indian Ocean region and Southeast Asia, underscores a widening regional divide between India and China. The report highlights that India’s foreign policy and security alignment with the US, its allies, and partners will continue. As tensions between the US and China escalate, India’s engagement with the US will likely intensify the competition between India and China. The report also states that India’s leading security concern is the potential increase in China’s defence engagement with India’s neighbouring countries.

India aims to be the main security and defence partner in the Indian Ocean region and is committed to preventing China from regular operations with its neighbouring countries. According to a report, India’s defence engagement will remain focused on the Indian Ocean region, but it is also working on expanding its presence in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Ocean.

“India’s defence engagement is and will continue to be focused on the Indian Ocean region, although it is working to increase its presence in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Ocean,” the report quoted.

The report suggests that New Delhi must become the preferred regional security partner to achieve this goal.

“Draining Decade”: US-China Competition In Asia-Pacific Continues To Grow

A draining decade has seen the United States engage closely with China, addressing various pressing issues. Many of China’s neighbouring countries have felt uneasy about China’s assertiveness, but they also recognise the importance of their economic ties with China. The report states that the competition between the US and China now extends beyond just security, with distinct alliances forming around both countries.

According to the report’s main points, competition between the two is now no longer linked to security, with polarised networks forming around both the US and China. Still, broader policy alignment beyond defence matters should not be assumed.

Countries like Australia, Japan, India, and South Korea are now seeking strategic partners and alternatives for crisis management, emphasising that it’s not just the responsibility of Washington and Beijing. The major powers are now competing in the realm of emerging technology, with the US restricting China’s access to advanced chip-making. Additionally, there’s a possibility that the regional military power balance could shift in favour of China.

This report is auto-generated from a syndicated feed