Sri Lanka is not alone. Over the last decade, moves like these have indicated a deepening engagement between China and countries in South Asia such as Bangladesh, Maldives, and Nepal.
The Glasgow conference witnessed small island-nations, facing an existential threat from the climate crisis, asserting themselves. This played a role in pushing countries across the world to commit to a global temperature rise of 1.5 degree Celsius, in keeping with the Paris agreement.
While this Chinese engagement in South Asia often targets the needs of specific countries, even states with relatively robust state institutions and civil society struggle to grapple with the implications of China’s expanded footprint.
China’s global footprint has expanded exponentially in recent years, becoming a source of investment for countries around the world. But notably, many nations have struggled to grapple with the accompanying implications and political risks.
Though Moon’s efforts toward securing inter-Korean peace have received the most publicity, the New Southern Policy to advance ties with India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations has arguably sustained more momentum than any of the administration’s other flagship foreign policy initiatives.
Wongi Choe, Chiew-Ping Hoo, Jagannath Panda, Andrew Yeo, and Kathryn Botto discuss South Korea’s relationship with Southeast Asia and India.
Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka showcase the diversity of China’s engagement strategies in a very multidimensional region but also make clear that influencers across South Asia are learning from each other’s experiences with Chinese money and power.
The AUKUS move is likely to drive Europeans even more deeply into passivity when it comes to Indo-Pacific security matter.
Under President Moon Jae-in, South Korea has pursued closer ties with Southeast Asia and India through the New Southern Policy. How do Seoul’s priorities in the region converge with those of other actors?
As India takes its Indo-Pacific engagements forward, Delhi must continue to build on its maritime moment, leveraging opportunities and partnerships in addressing its concerns and challenges.