The Rise of China; A View on US Foreign Policy in South-Asia -By Shaikhul Islam Imran


Being the largest economy and a massive growing power in the world, China has become a tangible threat to the Unites States of America and its allies in the region. China’s ambitious One Belt, One Road blueprint, newly proposed AIIB bank, though, create opportunities for regional collaboration, but simultaneously, it has a strong possibility to reshape the region as a domination of China. Chinese military presence the South China Sea and building of an air defense zone in the disputed sea postulates a mighty power that will have the unilateral hegemony in the region. Strength economic wave, military, political and cyber capabilities of China may never celebrate the US. The growing power of China forces the US to re-assert political allies to ensure their supremacy in the region. Two observations can be made here that will the growing china become detrimental or co-operational to US? And how the US will manage or tackle this growing power? Answering the observations, the US will have the containment policy towards China for its deterrence, though their economic cooperation will flourish. India will be the center of the US policy and get the most priority in the region as to the counterbalance of China form both the military and economic point of view. The US will try to enhance severe internal instability in Pakistan as to an atomic capable country and also a friendly country of China. Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Myanmar and Sri Lanka will be tried to control through India both economic and politically as well as militarily.


India ― the center of the US policy

India’s rise and its capabilities to work with South and Southeast Asia make India closer to the United States and the US attempts to recalibrate the possible strategy for addressing new power dynamics in the region. The US expects a strong enough Indian military for confronting Chinese growing power. Unilateral dominance of china may have a possible way to deter by Indian upgrading economic, military and political influence in the region and the United States is in track to effectively shape this political equation and truly, India has the capability to ensure the US interests in the region.

While addressing to the U.S. Congress In June, 2016, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for a closer security relationship between his country and the United States. He also added the significance of collaboration for ensuring security of the sea lanes and commerce and freedom of navigation on seas. Amid heightened tensions over China’s assertive pursuit of territory in the South China Sea, PM Modi said a stronger U.S.-India partnership could boost peace and prosperity “from Asia to Africa and from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific.” He did not mention China. The White House issued a joint U.S.-India statement that announced the “start of preparatory work” on the construction of six Westinghouse AP1000 reactors in India. The US ongoing interests in Indian market indicates a closer relation is going to be made.PM Modi met with President Barack Obama at the White House, where the two leaders discussed security and cyber security issues. In this visit, PM Modi attempts to assure US support as much as he can and the foremost attention focuses on entering to the Nuclear Supplier Group.


During his visit in India in 2015, president Obama proposed multi-billion dollar investment package in nuclear energy and other sectors for booming collaboration and the present visit of the PM Modi will enhance a new dynamics US-India relation. The mutual ambition of the US-India relation is to establish a capable India that can confront china in terms of military, political and economic strength. Since a relative military weakness is provocative and in this regard the US will collaborate with India up to a certain level needed to secure their interests but no more than that.

Pakistan ― victim of US-India joint strategy

Pakistan, being one of the largest military, economic and diplomatic partner of China, is a part of the growing China. The country is also capable of atomic weapons and has huge possibility to be economic strength that could emerge a massive political power that could endanger the influence of India. The deterrence of Pakistan will ensure the emergence of a third power house in the region and also crippling of the closest partner of China as well as to the antagonistic to India. So, the deterrence of Pakistan can be a joint strategy of both the US and India.

Over the decades, the US has maintained a balanced relation with Pakistan and India through different economic assistance and militarily equipment. Over the years, Pak-china relation is booming largely and in this regard, the US would try to pressurize through different issues. Terrorism issue can be the easiest loophole that US effectively using in that direction. Destabilization of internal strength can be another process that is also being used by the United States and using this means, a country can be made a crippled and failure state and lastly, making owe to different US influenced  banks as a consequence to make Pakistan submissive to the United States. It can easily be said that the above mandates have already been applied to Pakistan through the years. Besides, the Chinese friendly relations, there are lots of ideological facts which would force the United States to bend Pakistan from every point of view.

During his visit to Pakistanin 2015, Chinese president Xi Jinping made $46 billion development deals in different sector and the investments — equivalent to roughly 20% of Pakistan’s annual GDP – that fortify an already warm relationship between China and Pakistan. Being the largest arm exporter country to Pakistan, the uprising Chinese involvement in Pakistani economy sometimes stoked tensions with India and as such the United States closely assists India to trafficking the Pak-china allies. Islamabad’s value as a gateway to the Indian Ocean and beyond and a conflicting country to India, china has broader attention to maintain a friendly relation with Pakistan.

Democracy in Myanmar may easier the path of US

After the recent inauguration of democratic government in Myanmar, the United States is going to deeper internal relations with Myanmar. The United States persuaded for bringing democracy in Myanmar over the decades. This will also inspire India, though having a bad relation for years, to create a decent market in Myanmar that would create reduction of Chinese involvement from Myanmar. China and Burma enjoy what they call brotherly relations, with China often looking down on Burma as the little brother. The relation of china with NLD, though largely suppressed under the military government, was deep rooted as when Aung San Suu Kyi and NLD won in the 1990 elections, the then Chinese ambassador was among the first to send her a letter of congratulations. China has saved Myanmar from several UN sanctions and being Myanmar’s largest arms exporter, the United States would eagerly attempt lessen the Chinese power from Myanmar as the geopolitical, economic and political point of view.

Bangladesh ― India will try to colonize

maxresssdefaultBangladesh, being situated in the most strategically crucial and geopolitically beneficial in the region, will be made under special consideration from different ways. To distract the Chinese influence from Bangladesh, the US would mostly use India to nurture their influence in the region. The relation of India with Bangladesh, from business, political and diplomatic point of view, especially with the present government may make relieve the US from the tension of Chinese interference in the country. The territorial connection with India would also get preference with other issues. Though, business connection of Bangladesh with china is booming day by day but political influence of China is not like that of India. Bangladeshi sea is the largest Chinese trade route and Sri Lanka, Myanmar also, so in the near future, the US may contemplate for destabilizing china through sea and which a concern of Chinese regime also that is why China may use investment in Bangladesh as a soft power and a means of distracting the unilateral influence of India.

Other countries ― Indian involvement would appease the US

India’s interest in the involvement in Afghanistan and Nepal would take the US as a ‘something is better than nothing’ otherwise the Indian places would take investments China. The economic involvement of China in Afghanistan is booming largely but in that field, on other competitor residues like that of India. The recent political crisis between India and Nepal indicates that reluctance of India in good relation of Nepal with China even severe casualties can emerge. China had a closer relation and also interests in Sri Lanka during the previous government led by Mahinda Rajapakasa but after the institution of the present government led by Maithripala Sirisena, china seems to be relegated after India. Under the present government India is getting much preference in terms of economic and political relation. In the above equations, economy or investment is the key role player for broader the interests of the respective countries. China and India is the main competitor in this sector and in this direction the US would collaborate India as to deter China.


The United States, having other incompatible views, would try to use everyone to smooth the path of its superiority in the region and in the world. The present political equations are the result of their concern about China, not their wailing’s to assist India and other countries. In other words, the US has been forced to redesign its political agenda. One question may make here is that will the US appreciate India as a new china in the world? The answer in no.So, if India can turn a revolutionary development, which would not make happy the US, then, Pakistan may become the most affiliated country in the region for tackling china and India as the threats of the US. Now, what the US is doing and what will do, the US is only for its interests and no more than that. If India were in china today, then the US will collaborate with china to protect India. The US wouldcollaborate up to certain level of power that is needed to secure their interests. Another issue can be taken is that the China-India competition has made the scope to broaden the arms trade of the US and consequently, the US is effectively doing their business and also securing their interests in the region by pressurizing China.

The writer is studying LLB at the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. He writes about law, human rights and international issues