Decoding China’s Hegemony in Indo-Pacific Region and Its Repercussions

The Chinese economy is faltering, the business sector is more indebted than ever, the fertility rate (1.702) remains below replacement level, the population is ageing, and the benefit of cheap labour is eroding. China’s debt-to-GDP ratio (US$27 trillion) is 159 percent. However, China’s objective has been to reclaim its former glory by controlling Asia in the short term and the rest of the globe in the long run. The Russian invasion of Ukraine and the western world’s response have introduced a new dimension to the Indo-Pacific power struggle. China may be emboldened by the western world’s reluctance to intervene directly in the Ukrainian situation. India would need to tread carefully and traverse the rough waters in this new geopolitical context.China’s rise will continue to be a source of contention for states in the Indo-Pacific and beyond.

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Decoding the Objectives of FM Wang Yi’s Visit to India

The visit to India of Wang Yi, China’s foreign minister and State Councillor, which was kept secret until he arrived in New Delhi following visits to Pakistan and Afghanistan, had multiple objectives. China appeared to have attempted to advance its agenda in this region in light of the larger objective in the South China Sea, after assessing the geopolitical changes resulting from the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Unfortunately for Wang, Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Foreign Minister Jaishankar made it abundantly clear to him that normal relations between the two countries are impossible until the border situation improves. Wang, as is customary in Chinese diplomacy, used subtly disguised concepts to argue that normalization of relations between the two countries should take precedence and that the border issue should be placed in an appropriate position—that is, given no weight.

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The Lessons for Taiwan from Russia-Ukraine Conflict

Against the backdrop of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine Conflict, there is an increasing suspicion that Beijing would follow Moscow’s lead and attempt to conquer Taiwan militarily. Ukraine’s experience should instil a stronger sense of urgency in Taiwan regarding the need to overcome bureaucratic and partisan impediments to coalescing around a military plan that is fit for Taiwan’s security environment and resource restrictions. This is an opportunity for Taiwan’s current and future leaders to instil confidence in the country’s future.

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Russia-Ukraine Crisis: The Impact on India

The ongoing Ukraine Crisis has transported India back to the Cold War era when it was expected to choose a side. However, given India’s growing stature in international affairs and its dynamics with the two countries, maintaining the same strategic autonomy as last time will be nearly impossible. While a Russia-China-India axis in the present scenario is next to impossible, jumping on the Washington wagon has its own set of ill consequences for India vis-à-vis Moscow. It is in India’s best interests for the Ukraine crisis to be de-escalated as soon as possible.

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China’s South China Sea Claims Threaten India’s Economic and Geopolitical Interests

The continued flow of commerce and naval movement in the South China Sea is vital for India. It handles around 55% of India’s trade with the Indo-Pacific region. Sustaining regional peace and stability is, thus, crucial for India. To counterbalance China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) effort, India must leverage its geographical advantage, increasing its naval profile, ASEAN collaboration, and heritage of goodwill.

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Afghanistan: A New Opportunity for the Quad?

The Quad’s Indo-Pacific policy is not limited to China’s containment or the promotion of a free and open Indo-Pacific, since there are several additional areas of concern, most notably in Central Asia. US army withdrawal provides a chance to engage the Quad partners in discussions on Afghan policy and to explore alternatives to existing peacekeeping arrangements. The Quad’s participation in Afghanistan will not only rebalance power in the wider Indo-Pacific region, but will also close a crucial continental chasm in the area’s conceptualization.

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End of Oli Era: A New Start for Indo-Nepal Relations

For the second time in five months, the Supreme Court of Nepal reversed President Bidya Devi Bhandari’s decision to dissolve the House of Representatives (HoR) of Nepal. This time, it further ordered President Bhandari to appoint Nepali Congress leader Sher Bahadur Deuba as the Prime Minister by July 13, 2021. The ensuing end of the KP Sharma Oli era is likely to provide a renewed impetus to the relations between India and Nepal.

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Afghanistan Surge: Taliban at the Door of Kabul As US Troops Withdraw

On July 2, 2021, Friday, the US forces quietly vacated the Bagram airfield, considered to be the epicentre of its campaign to remove the Taliban and capture the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks, after nearly two decades. This effectively brings an end to the Afghan ‘forever war’, the longest war fought in US history. As foreign troops retreat, the Taliban forces are sweeping across Afghanistan. The possibility of civil war looms over the country as the region has been pushed into turmoil after the withdrawal of western forces. Twenty years down the line, are we back to square one?

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