New anti-China initiatives risk worsening the Indo-Pacific weapons race.

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New anti-China initiatives risk worsening the Indo-Pacific weapons race.

Now that China is a target of new security structures – AUKUS and the Quad – aimed at restraining its strength and influence, an escalating arms race in the Indo-Pacific is all but inevitable.

This might be the start of a new great game in the region, with opposing powers no longer pretending that things can go on as they are.

The AUKUS agreement, which brings together Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom to challenge China’s rise, will bring the Indo-Pacific military power balance into sharper focus.

Due to China’s push to modernize its defense capabilities, the area has been re-arming at a faster rate than the rest of the world.

The International Institute of Strategic Studies in London and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute in Stockholm both find no decrease in military spending in the Indo-Pacific in their most recent surveys. Despite the pandemic, this is the case.

China and India have led a 47 percent growth in defense spending in the Indo-Pacific over the last decade, according to SIPRI.

China is likely to accelerate its military program in response to the risks posed by the new security arrangements.

The foundation of AUKUS will be seen as yet another attempt to rein in its ambitions – and thus a test of its military capabilities.

Quadruple objectives

AUKUS unmistakably denotes a containment approach.

In the Indo-Pacific, the increasing elevation of the Quad security grouping into a China containment front would contribute to a climate of increased security worry.

The four Quad members — the US, Japan, India, and Australia – each have their own motivations and objectives for trying to counter China.

The Quad leaders used terms in their joint statement after their summit last week in Washington that would be considered unexceptional in isolation.

However, when combined with other innovations like AUKUS, the language was pointed to say the least:

“Together, we reaffirm our commitment to fostering a free, open, rules-based order established in international law and unafraid of coercion in the Indo-Pacific and beyond.”

The statement’s “beyond” section was not expounded on, although it may be interpreted as a commitment to expand the Quad collaboration globally.

All of this has coincided with the inauguration of a new US government, which includes numerous prominent China hawks, and at a time when China has demonstrated… Article Summary from Nokia News

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