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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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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Indian Ocean and South China Sea: Jugular Vein as Gordian Knot

At a time when China’s protracted pre-meditated military moves along India’s northern boundary are drawing the nation’s attention, it is important that India doesn’t lose sight of its surrounding seas and maritime environment.

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