Middle Powers Navigate U.S.-China Competition in the Indo-Pacific

Asia Pacific Bulletin


Washington, DC: East-West Center

Available From: June 29, 2021
Publication Date: June 29, 2021


Authors discuss how middle powers navigate various aspects of U.S.-China Competition in the Indo-Pacific as well as U.S. engagement with middle powers on Indo-Pacific issues.

Arzan Tarapore, South Asia research scholar at Stanford University's Asia-Pacific Research Center, and a Senior Nonresident Fellow at the National Bureau of Asian Research, explains that states must resolve three overarching dilemmas as they endeavor to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and formulate policy responses to China’s economic rise and strategic revisionism. 
Rani D. Mullen, associate professor of government at the College of William and Mary, explains that “America’s partnership with India is based not only on the mutual strategic interest of countering China but also on the soft power element of shared democratic values.”
Timothy D. Hoyt, the John Nicholas Brown Chair of Counterterrorism at the U.S. Naval War College, explains that “The US-China competition, in particular, is regularly compared to the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union.” However, “...The Cold War analogy should be used with great caution. It is relatively anomalous in the history of international relations ...”
Rajesh Basrur, a senior fellow of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University Singapore, explains that "In order to counter the Chinese threat more effectively, Indian policymakers have looked beyond self-help to a wider network of strategic partnerships to bolster their position in both military and economic terms."
Jivanta Schottli, Assistant Professor in Indian Politics and Foreign Policy at Dublin City University and Director of the Ireland India Institute, asks what needs to be done in India’s hour of need and explores the challenges India faces on its way forward through an unprecedented second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prakash Gopal, a PhD candidate at the University of Wollongong in Australia, explains that “There is a near-unanimous recognition that India must drastically overhaul its arsenal of military responses to successfully fend off the offensive might of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), and preemptively deter aggression by ensuring that PLA provocations result in unacceptable losses.”
Nilanthi Samaranayake, the Director of the Strategy and Policy Analysis program at CNA, a non-profit research organization in Virginia, explains the critical importance of European institutional leadership, naval deployments, and territories to U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy.

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