Regional security: A perspective on changing power dynamics in South Asia

Student thesis: Master thesis (including HD thesis)

  • Jonas Poulsen Flyvholm
4. term, Public Administration and Social Science (Master Programme)
The aim of this paper is to conduct an analysis of the evolving patterns of security relations within South Asia. As the region becomes a battleground for emerging powers, so does shaping the patterns and norms that define security, trade and cooperation within the region. South Asia is experiencing exponential changes as the construction projects as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor reshape power distribution in the region and deepens China-Pakistan relations. Increased connectivity in the region permits China to deploy security forces operating alongside Pakistani military personnel, conducting naval exercises and surveillance in disputed territories along the Himalayas and the Indian Ocean Region. Moreover, the Construction of the port city of Gwadar serves as a major stopping point in the “String of Pearls” along the Indian Ocean that is effectively operational for the use of commercial and military shipping to and from China. The abstract nature of the Belt and Road Initiative has left states suspicious of the motive and means in which China seeks to establish itself as a global leader in trade and diplomacy. The framework of the BRI has long been scrutinized by the US and many of its allies for undermining international rule based law in international waters and the coercive tactics used by China in implementing the Initiative. In response, regional powers affected by BRI have since the beginning phase of the initiative been working on strategic cooperation to curb Chinese Influence in Asia. Aiming to examine regional powers such as the US, India and Japan and their respective response to wider implication of the BRI this paper focuses on the speech acts and the process of securitization employed by these countries to facilitate their stated policy goals. In this process a set of shared and identifiable goals among regional powers is identified and used as a foundation for multilateral cooperation that focuses on a common threat, identified as Chinese unlawful conduct in international and disputed territories. To summarize the findings of the paper, the securitization process of regional powers provides a basis for the achievement of overlapping national interests as expressed in the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue. Securitization of China strengthens the commitment of bi- and multilateral partnerships as these are framed in the context of self preservation for the state and its people. Furthermore, regional powers reconstruct previously separate geographical boundaries into a new spatial construct to empower multilateral cooperation and extend the framework in which multilateral partnerships such as the Quad can operate within.
LanguageEnglish
Publication date31 May 2022
Number of pages51
ID: 471778224