The election of President-elect Joe Biden and his Vice-President Kamala Harris is most likely to end this vacuum of American policy for the region and engage with the region with strategic insight and assertiveness. Joe Biden was awarded Hilal-e-Pakistan, the second-highest civil-award of the country, and Kamal Harris has ancestral roots in India. The personalized nature of their relationships to both of these countries will indeed influence the interaction once the Biden administration leads the White House. However, in the spirit of previous American interactions with the region, the Biden administration’s interaction with South Asia will be clouded by two mega strategic matters: The rise of China and the Conflict in Afghanistan.
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.
Situated at the heart of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is grappling with the world’s two superpowers: China and the US. The keen interest of the two countries has been a source of competition between them and a source of worry for Sri Lanka, which is struggling with its own economic woes. Sri Lanka was able to navigate the Cold War by taking a stance of neutrality and non-alignment. When a second economic Cold War is building up globally, it is attractive and convenient to adopt similar policies. However, this recent rivalry may be novel in nature, and Sri Lanka’s continued economic woes, mean that the country will be forced to choose between the two, the US or China.