Locating China in the Indo-Pacific Debates: Perspectives from India

  • Swaran Singh
Part of the Research Series on the Chinese Dream and China’s Development Path book series (RSCDCDP)


While the paradigm-shift from continental Asia-pacific to new maritime geopolitical framework of ‘Indo-pacific’ may be a dynamic discursive to ensure strategic equilibrium amongst multiple new and old stakeholders, continued exclusion of China remains its most formidable limitation. However, apart from this exclusion in Western discourse, there remain internal triggers to China’s reluctance that reinforce such external responses treating China as trigger but not integral to their construction of the new Indo-Pacific paradigm. Also, driven by bean-counting of the realists, the contemporary discourses seem far too influenced by prophecies of inevitable Sino-US confrontation. These often miss nuanced responses in Chinese discourses that may not flow from its military might but imperceptible cultural and economic entwines. The central contention of this paper is that it remains a prerequisite for the peaceful development of both China and the Indo-Pacific framework that they mutually synergise their engagement towards maximising mutual benefits. Staying apart has only been counterproductive. This is where India—that has substantial security and economic engagements respectively with both US and China—can perhaps smoothen this interface in order to make Indo-Pacific an inclusive, effective as also a sustainable geopolitical proposition.


Indo-Pacific India China Geopolitics 


  1. Ali, S. Mahmud. 2017. US-Chinese Strategic Triangles: Examine Indo-Pacific Insecurity. Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.Google Scholar
  2. Allison, Graham. 2017. Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides Trap? New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.Google Scholar
  3. Auslin, Michael. 2010. Tipping Point in the Indo-Pacific. The American Interest 6 (4) (March/April): 17–24.Google Scholar
  4. Baru, Sanjaya. 2011. “A Continent Adrift in the Western Pacific is Seeking a New Indo-Pacific Home”. Business Standard (New Delhi), November 28.Google Scholar
  5. Billington, Michael. 2014. “Connecting Indonesia to the Eurasian Mainland”. In The New Silk Road Becomes the World Land-Bridge, edited by Nancy Spannaus. EIR Special Report, EIR News Service Inc.Google Scholar
  6. Bhattarai, Keshav Prasad. 2012. “Indonesia and the Emergence of New Strategic Dynamics in Asia-Pacific—Analysis”. The Reporter (Kathmandu), July 30–August 5.Google Scholar
  7. Blank, Stephen, and Younkyoo Kim. 2012. “Restarting the Six-Party Talks: Russia’s Dilemmas and Current Perspectives”. Korea Observer 43 (2) (Summer): 253–277.Google Scholar
  8. Bolton, Kerry. 2013. Geopolitics of the Indo-Pacific: Emerging Conflicts, New Alliances. London: Black House Publishing Ltd.Google Scholar
  9. Bradford, John F. 2011. The Maritime Strategy of the United States: Implications for Indo-Pacific Sea Lanes. Contemporary Southeast Asia 33 (2) (August): 183–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Brooks, Stephen G., and William C. Wohlforth. 2016. America Abroad: The United States’ Global Role in the 21st Century. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Chacko, Priya. 2016. “Introduction: The Rise of the Indo-Pacific”. In New Regional Geopolitics in the Indo-Pacific: Drivers, Dynamics and Consequences, edited by Priya Chacko. New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chen, Dake. 2011. “Indo-Pacific Tripole: An Intrinsic Mode of Tropical Climate Variability”. In Advances in Geosciences, edited by Kenji Satake and Jianping Gan, 1–18. London: World Scientific Publishing.Google Scholar
  13. Choong, William. 2013. “US Pivot to Asia Must Come with Reassurances”. The Straits Times (Singapore), April 24.Google Scholar
  14. Christoffersen, Gaye. 2016. “Pathways to a Northeast Asian Energy Regime”. In China’s Rise and Changing Order in East Asia, edited by David Arase, 173–196. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Clinton, Hillary. 2011. America’s Pacific Century. Foreign Policy (Washington, DC), November, Issue 189, pp. 56–63.Google Scholar
  16. Cooper, Zack, and Andrew Shearer. 2017. Thinking Clearly About China’s Layered Indo-Pacific Strategy. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 73 (5): 305–311.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dallmayr, Fred. 2012. “Introduction”. In Contemporary Chinese Political Thought: Debates and Perspectives, edited by Fred Dallmayr and Zhao Thingyang. Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky.Google Scholar
  18. Department of Defence, Defence White Paper 2013, Australian Government, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra.Google Scholar
  19. Deni, John R. 2017. NATO and Article 5: The Trans-Atlantic Alliance and the Twenty-First-Century Challenges of Collective Defense. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
  20. Dillon, Dana R. 2011. Countering Beijing in the South China Sea. Policy Review (167) (June & July): 51–67.Google Scholar
  21. Dogra, Suvi, and Jie Woo. 2013. “Where Does India Stand Amid Changing Asia-Pacific Trade Dynamics?” Financial Express (New Delhi), April 4.Google Scholar
  22. Doyle, Randall. 2011. “The Asia-Pacific Region: “The Geographical Pivot of History” in the Twenty-First Century”. In Modern China and the New World: The Reemergence of the Middle Kingdom in the 21st Century, edited by Randall Doyle and Zhang Boshu, 43–70. Lanham, Ml: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
  23. Fabey, Michael. 2017. Crashback: The Power Clash between the U.S. and China in the Pacific. New York: Scriber.Google Scholar
  24. Fels, Enrico. 2016. Shifting Power in Asia-Pacific? The Rise of China, Sino-US Competition and Regional Middle Power Allegiance. Cham, Switzerland: The Springer International Publishing.Google Scholar
  25. Freeman Jr., Chas W. 2012. “Indo-Pacific Dynamics in Trans-Pacific Perspective”. Middle East Policy Council, 16 April 2012, at
  26. Grare, Frederic. 2017. India Turns East: International Engagement and US-China Rivalry. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Grevatt, Jon. 2013. “Australia and US to Bring Defence Trade Treaty into Force”. Jane’s Defence Industry 30 (6), (June 1).Google Scholar
  28. Ghimis, Ana-Maria., Monalisa Guiglea, Cristiana Maria and Alina Mogos. 2012. America’s New Grand Strategy—An Inherited Step Back? Strategic Impact (3) (July/September): 98–110.Google Scholar
  29. Green, Michael J. 2009. Asia in the Debate on American Grand Strategy. Naval War College Review 62 (1) (Winter): 14–29.Google Scholar
  30. Hemmings, John. 2011. The Potential for Sino-US Discord in the South China Sea. The RUSI Journal 156 (2) (April/May): 90–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hu, Richard Weixing. 2016. “The Chinese Response to the US Rebalancing Strategy: Sino-US Relations and Washington’s Pivot to Asia”. In Asia Pacific Countries and the US Rebalancing Strategy, edited by David W F Huang, 69–84. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kuik, Cheng-Chwee, Nor Azizan Idris and Abd Rahim Md Nor. 2012. The China factor in the US “Reengagement” with Southeast Asia: Drivers and Limits of Converged Hedging. Asian Politics & Policy 4 (3): 315–344.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Ladwig, I.I.I., and C. Walter. 2009. Delhi’s Pacific Ambition: Naval Power, “Look East”, and India’s Emerging Influence in the Asia-Pacific. Asian Survey 5 (2): 87–113.Google Scholar
  34. Lin, Cheng-Yi. 2016. “Chinese Response to Obama’s Rebalancing to Asia Strategy”. In Asia Pacific Countries and the US Rebalancing Strategy, edited by David W F Huang, 85–102. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Lundestad, Geir. 2012. The Rise & Decline of the American “Empire”: Power and its Limits in Comparative Perspective. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Mahbubani, Kishore, and Jeffery Sng. 2017. The ASEAN Miracle: A Catalyst for Peace. Singapore: NUS Press.Google Scholar
  37. Mastanduno, Michael. 2002. “Incomplete Hegemony and Security Order in the Asia-Pacific”. In America Unrivaled: The Future of the Balance of Power, edited by G. John Ikenberry, 181–210. New York: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  38. Medcalf, Rory. 2011. “Grand Stakes: Australia’s Future Between China and India”. In Asia Responds to its Rising Powers: China and India, edited by Ashley J. Tellis, Travis Tanner and Jessica Keough, 195–226. Washington, DC: The National Bureau of Asian Research.Google Scholar
  39. Medcalf, Rory. 2012a. “Chance to Calm South China Sea”. The Australian (Sydney), July 12.Google Scholar
  40. Medcalf, Rory. 2012b. “Indo-Pacific: What’s in a Name?”. The Interpreter (Sydney), August 16.Google Scholar
  41. Mohan, C. Raja. 2011. India and Australia: Maritime Partners in the Indo-Pacific. The Asialink Essays 3 (7): 1–4.
  42. Mohan, C. Raja. 2012. Smudra Manthan: Sino-Indian Rivalry in the Indo-Pacific. Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution.Google Scholar
  43. Natalegawa, Marty M. 2013. “An Indonesian Perspective on the Indo-Pacific” [Keynote Address by Indonesia Foreign Minister at Conference on Indonesia, Center for Security and International Studies, Washington, DC], 16 May 2013, at, 1–5.
  44. National Security Strategy of the United States of America, President of the United States, December 2017.Google Scholar
  45. Paleri, Prabhakaran. 2013. “Maritime Challenges and Priorities in Asia: An Indian Perspective”. In Maritime Challenges and Priorities in Asia: Implications for Regional Security, edited by Joshua H. Ho and Sam Bateman, 272–283. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  46. Panda, Rajaram. 2012. India and Australia: Security Dynamics in the Asia Pacific. Asia Pacific Review 19 (1) (May): 130–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Pant, Harsh V., and Yogesh Joshi. 2016. The US Pivot and Indian Foreign Policy: Asia’s Evolving Balance of Power. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Prakash, Arun. 2013. On Indo-Pacific Maritime Security: ‘We May Sink Together If We Do Not Swim Together. Asian Politics & Policy 5 (2): 275–283.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Proctor, Pat. 2016. Containment and Credibility: The Ideology and Deception that Plunged America into the Vietnam War. New York: Carrel Books.Google Scholar
  50. Puri, Raman., and Arun Sahgal. 2011. The South China Sea Dispute: Implications for India. Indian Foreign Affairs Journal (New Delhi) 6 (4) (October–December): 437–448.Google Scholar
  51. Quayle, Linda. 2013. Southeast Asia and the English School of International Relations: A Region-Theory Dialogue. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Roy, Edmond. 2011. Australian Uranium and India: Ideology Versus Pragmatism. South Asia 34 (1) (April): 113–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Roy, Nalanda. 2016. The South China Sea Disputes: Past, Present and Future. New York: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
  54. Santis, Hugh. 2012. The China Threat and the “Pivot” to Asia. Current History 111 (746) (September): 209–215.Google Scholar
  55. Saran, Shyam. 2011. “Mapping the Indo-Pacific”. The Indian Express (New Delhi), October 29.Google Scholar
  56. Shambaugh, David. 2013. China Goes Global: The Partial Power. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  57. Shekhar, Vibhanshu. 2018. Indonesia’s Foreign Policy and Grand Strategy in the 21st Century: Rise of an Indo-Pacific Power. New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Singh, Swaran. 2013. “US-Japan-India Trilogue: The China Factor”. In Strategic Convergence of Japan-India Relations and the Emergence of China, edited by Takenori Horimoto and Lalima Varma, 133–152. New Delhi: Manohar.Google Scholar
  59. Singh, Zorawar Daulet. 2018. India and China Can Coexist in the Indo-Pacific. Economic & Political Weekly (New Delhi) 53 (13) (March),–pacific.html.
  60. Symonds, Peter. 2012. “Military Build-Up in Indo-Pacific Region: US “Pivot” to Asia Threatens War with China”. Global Research, 6 June 2012 at
  61. Tellis, Ashley. 2011. “The United States and Asia’s Rising Giants”. In Strategic Asia 2011–12: Asia Responds to its Rising Powers, China and India, edited by Ashley J. Tellis, Travis Tanner, and Jessica Keough, 3–34. Washington, DC: The National Bureau of Asian Research.Google Scholar
  62. Till, Geoff. 2016. “Reactions to the Re-balance: Asia in General and Southeast Asia in Particular”. In Assessing Maritime Power in the Asia-Pacific: The Impact of American Strategic Re-balance, edited by Greg Kennedy and Harsh V. Pant. Surrey, UK: Ashgate Publishing Ltd.Google Scholar
  63. Welch, Dylan. 2012, “Rules for US Troops in NT kept Secret”. The Age, (Melbourne, November 11).Google Scholar
  64. Wesley, Michael. 2010. “Australia Faces a Changing Asia”. Current History, (September), 227–231.Google Scholar
  65. White, Hugh. 2013. “Is Australia Ready for Asia’s New Strategic Realities? Australia’s Defence Policy Ignores the Strategic Implications of China’s Rise”. The Straits Times, (May 22).Google Scholar
  66. White, Hugh. 2010. Power Shift: Australia’s Future Between Washington and Beijing. Quarterly Essays, Issue 39: 1–74.Google Scholar
  67. Yahuda, Michael. 2013. China’s New Assertiveness in the South China Sea. Journal of Contemporary China 22 (81): 446–459.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Yuan, Jingdong. 2013. China and the Indian Ocean: New Departures in Regional Balancing. In Deep Currents and Rising Tides: The Indian Ocean and International Security, edited by John Garofano and Andrea J. Dew, (see Chap. 7). Washington, DC: University of Washington Press.Google Scholar
  69. Zhu, Zhiqun. 2010. China’s New Diplomacy: Rationale, Strategies and Significance. Surry, UK: Ashgate.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Social Sciences Academic Press and Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Swaran Singh
    • 1
  1. 1.Diplomacy & Disarmament, Center for International Politics, Organization and Disarmament (CIPOD), School of International StudiesJawaharlal Nehru UniversityNew DelhiIndia

Personalised recommendations