History never repeats itself, but it does sometimes rhyme. As China rose rapidly on the world scene, influencing the Asian region, Indian Ocean, SLOCs CLOCs there, and elsewhere, the initiatives of containment commenced by the US in the form of QUAD and BECA reminded me of a sentence, mentioned above, once said by Mark Twain. History has no proof of any country’s ascension with speed as China, which is not welcomed peacefully by the US. To check Beijing’s growing economic, military and naval influence in the region, which has threatened her neighboring countries vis-a-vis US hegemony, America rallied towards her democratic allies to halt the Chinese spread by fuelling Chinese rivals defensive pacts and treaties which will result in security interdependence of the region. US monologues to maintain the status quo seems to be proving as a subversion to regional security balance.
Quadrilateral Security Dialogue is known as QUAD, an informal maneuvering commencement by four countries the United States, Japan, India, and Australia, in 2007 to counter the Chinese influence in the region got weakened when Australia pulled out. Since then, it had again become operational when the foreign ministers of the Quad met in Tokyo to formalize the counterbalancing act of Beijing. Australia will also be joining the Malabar drills next month at the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. At the meeting, Pompeo called on allies to be united against corrupt, repressive, and exploitative China.
Invoking the informal QUAD in a crucial time has alarmed China because it is being held when Sino-Australian diplomatic relations deteriorate, and China and India are struck in a military standoff in the Himalayan region. Moreover, Japan is threatened by its former colony to coerce its influence in the future, and the US facing economic challenges and balance of power disruptions globally from China.
On Tuesday 27 October, 2+2 talks were held at Delhi, where US Secretary of Defence Dr. Mark T. Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived at Indian Capital to sign the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) with their counterparts. This agreement allows both sides to share geospatial intelligence, satellite information, images of military targets, and sensitive information exchanges. This agreement will help the US and India keep an eye on the Chinese warships and their naval movements to make a joint strategy to counter China. It will also provide India leverage of target precision on enemy targets. US wants surveillance over Chinese investments that the US is certain about contributing to minimizing Washington’s influence in the region. Speaking in Delhi on Tuesday, Pompeo said China is no friend to democracy, transparency, and Rule of Law. BECA also alarmed the Pakistani government officials. The agreement, ostensibly, is not in favor of Pakistan. The Indian Air force showdown in Pakistan, which resulted in losses of Indian fighter jets, the agreement will accommodate Delhi the precision of the next possible air attack on Pakistani territory. More precisely, it is a plausible strategic loss to Islamabad.
India is being used as a weapon of diversion from the US to Chinese expansionism. The more Sino-Indian conflicts emerge, the more it will pull New Delhi closer to Washington. The US, in these crucial times, can not afford to lose any Asian allies. International experts regard QUAD as an Asian NATO to deter Chinese expansionism. Mike Pompeo often promulgates the Chinese Communist Party as evil, corrupt, and violator of human rights. Pompeo also criticized the Chinese handling of Pandemic by saying COVID-19 as the Chinese Virus. These alliances and pacts seem to be moderated forms of SEATO CENTO to contain communism in Asia. Experts are referring to the Sino-US rivalry as the cold war of the 21st century. The trade war, arms build-up, construction of strong navy, meddling in other countries affairs, hypersonic missiles race, regional hegemony, the competition of interest in many countries are all facts contributing to the emergence of the New Cold war narrative.
Mike Pompeo visiting Sri Lanka on Wednesday, said the two countries must be united against the increasing Chinese influence. Pompeo also visited the Maldives and would also visit Indonesia to press countries against Chinese economic policy. China slammed the US by saying the US is bullying smaller nations and pushing them back against growing economic and diplomatic cordiality between these small countries.
According to Regional Security Complex Theory, securitization is more intense between the countries inside of the regional security complex, patterned to the security interdependence of the region, a security cluster. Great outside power can penetrate it. RSCT leads to positive security interdependence by making shared security community or negative, including securitization, which leads to conflict formation. The defense pacts and agreements will undoubtedly lead to negative security interdependence by considering the region’s states’ dynamics. An example of negative interdependence is intensifying strategic parity between India and Pakistan because of the latter’s strategic vulnerability and geopolitical location. These kinds of offensive-in-nature pacts will disturb the region’s status quo, which is already disrupted by the Asian Nato, eventually posing a threat to the international security environment. The opposing countries must avoid the region’s securitization process and start a multilateral dialogue to minimize the external threat rather than being used by an outside power. The dialogues always pave the way for cooperation. Otherwise, when this conflict formation reaches its zenith, it only needs a little spark to turn into a massive fire which would not be in any leaders’ control no matter how wise and reasonable.