The Chessboard for the Great Power Competition in the Indo Pacific

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As structural change is happening with China’s ascending growth and Russia’s re-emergence, the scholarly community is worried about the result of such changes. US pre-eminence is now being increasingly challenged in the wider geopolitical structure, as countries like China, Russia and India are busy acquiring advanced military weapons, thus thickening their military might. This has led to power diffusion across the globe. Subsequently, as the relative power of China vis-à-vis the US is expanding, security analysts are predicting an intense security competition between the rising power and the falling giant. People are concerned about what steps the US should take to either contain or accommodate China? Since belligerency is the characteristic of Chinese behavior, US must sort to contain China by maintaining existing power gaps and technological advantages.

But, by and large, US failed to thwart the Chinese rise. The recent Indo-Pacific Deterrence Initiative highlights the worry caused by Chinese growth and its impact on the overall balance of power within the Western Pacific. The usage of words like “regaining” US advantages in the region reflects a broader opinion that the US has lost its prior superiority, and must focus on “balancing” China’s gains. This is broadly a result of recent changes in US foreign policy where decision-makers think that mere acquiring military “mass” won’t do any good unless some significant edge is not achieved in the “intelligence” domain. The thinking points to the fact that since intelligence is a requirement to achieve target destruction through means of weapons, budgetary investments must prioritize the acquisition of information technology alongside advanced weapons.

Why just gaining military mass is not enough?

Realistically speaking, if the military balance between the two powers is calculated then it seems that the US is much powerful than the Chinese. Since this reckoning is mostly based on absolute numbers of weapons a country possesses, a mere number-to-number analysis might mislead us. A more intelligent approach would be to observe how these weapons (acquired by both countries) behave in…