by Dr. Asma Shakir Khawaja


Pakistan and China, through CPEC, have uplifted decade’s old and time-tested bondage to the zenith of economic cooperation on a win-win basis. In the Chinese equation, BRI (CPEC – an integral part of BRI) is an initiative for the economic integration of the global community in the 21st century. In contrast, the US endeavours to ensure the implementation of international order at sea through its Indo-Pacific strategy. Considerable academic work has been undertaken distinctly on the US Indo-Pacific strategy and BRI (CPEC); however, scanty academic efforts have been made on future power realignment in South Asia. By employing Mahan’s theory of sea power, this paper explains the future maritime scenario in South Asia, which will evolve due to the power contestation of global players in the Indian Ocean and the formulation of two distinct power blocks with the US and China as leading players. It also answers how Indian Ocean littorals will align themselves in this great powers’ contestation. An in-depth understanding of the economic interests of Indian Ocean littorals through BRI and gaining benefits through a strategic partnership with the US will provide insight into future power realignment in South Asia. The paper concludes that China will likely formulate collaborative maritime security arrangements with BRI partners who will become Chinese allies to secure energy requirements. Likewise, India, Japan, South Korea and the US (under QUAD) will endeavour to impede China’s economic progress, forming a power block in the Indian Ocean region. This research article is originally published in “Margalla Papers”

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