Security and foreign policy experts of South Asian countries — Nepal, India, Sir Lanka and Bangladesh — on Thursday held a discussion in Kathmandu, about Security and Economic Challenges in the Indo-Pacific region, stating that South Asian countries should balance their relations with the two powerful countries — the United States and China — to progress.
Giving his keynote address at the COSSATT Regional Conference, Seshadri Chari, strategic and foreign affairs analyst from New Delhi, said that ultimately cooperation would lead this region for longer time. There is also a question of what will be the role of individual countries in South Asia,” he said.
Giving the example of the US-led Indo-Pacific Strategy and China-led Belt and Road Initiative, Director General of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis Sujan R Chinoy said that a new balance of power was yet to emerge in the Indo-Pacific.
AKM Abdur Rahman, who is director general of Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies, said there was uncertainty and we should be aware of it.
Former Nepali ambassador to the UN Shambhu Ram Simkhada commented that we have to understand the political power behind the construct. In relation to the US Indo-Pacific strategy and China’s BRI, he added, ‘South Asia mean people of South Asia and countries of South Asia.”
Executive Director of Regional Centre for Strategic Studies from Sir Lanka said that countries within this region should make their own plan to work with both the US and China. “Balancing is a better way for each nation as it will lead to their betterment,” he said.
Professor Swaran Singh of Jawaharlal Nehru University said each and every country has been balancing between the USA and China in this region.
Director of the Centre for South Asian Studies Nishchal N Pandey said the discussion will come up with issues related to security challenges in South Asian Countries. He also said that a lot of questions had arisen in relation to what comprises the ‘Indo-Pacific’ and its structure.