The Indo-Pacific is an arena for high-stakes diplomacy by the US and China.

In Summit The delicate dance of power dynamics in the Indo-Pacific played an important role in the meeting between President Xi Jinping and President Joe Biden, set against the backdrop of the Asia Pacific Economic Conference (APEC) in San Francisco on November 15, 2023. The meeting was not just a diplomatic formality, but a strategic dialogue on US-China relations and development efforts.

As geopolitical tensions between the US and China intensify, India has emerged as a strategic proxy In the Indo-Pacific theater. India stands as a countermeasure in the proxy game, a strategic response aimed at reducing China’s expanding influence.

China’s assertive posture in the Indo-Pacific, epitomized by the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), has put regional players on high alert. A Latest Report A report from AidData reveals China’s staggering debts of over $1.34 trillion USD since the inception of the BRI. Its reputation for rapid infrastructure development has made China a significant player, raising concerns about the true environmental, social and administrative costs of its projects.

Initially envisioned as an economic catalyst emphasizing trade and infrastructure, the BRI has emerged as a powerful geopolitical tool. Case in point: Sri Lanka Hambantota Port. A $1.1 billion loan from China made Sri Lanka unable to pay, resulting in a 99-year lease giving China control. Such stories Echo Across the Indo-Pacific, countries are grappling with the consequences of alignment with China.

Equilibrium Act of Nepal

In forming a strong alliance with the US, India is trying to secure its borders and assert itself as a major power in the Indo-Pacific region, strategically countering China’s regional advances. The arena for this geopolitical rivalry extends to Nepal, where China has made significant investments in critical infrastructure, including roads and bridges. In response, the US has injected itself with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). Financial support within Nepal to counterbalance China’s influence.

The dynamics unfolding in Nepal underscore a delicate balancing act for the nation, caught at the intersection of conflicting interests among its influential neighbors.

Taking a more assertive stance, India has intensified its investments Hydropower development, should avoid purchasing power from Nepal if Chinese investments or contractors are involved. This energy game is expanding beyond the energy sector and into airport development. Notably, China has given Nepal a $216 million loan for a construction project International Airport at Pokhara. However, the airport’s operations are facing constraints with limited international flights operating due to suspension of airspace clearance by the Indian government.

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The dynamics unfolding in Nepal underscore a delicate balancing act for the nation, caught at the intersection of conflicting interests among its influential neighbors. These nuances highlight the broader implications of India acting as a proxy for the US, engaging in a competitive dance with China across the Indo-Pacific. In the specific case of Nepal, this competition manifests itself in a situation in which the nation finds itself constrained in dictating its economic trajectory. Landlocked between India and China, Nepal struggles with the compulsion to move to diplomatic ties with both countries to protect its sovereignty — echoed by other Indo-Pacific countries with historic ties to both India and China, such as Bangladesh.

America seeks alternative allies

While maintaining economic ties, the United States believes that the primary way to destabilize China’s influence in the Indo-Pacific region is to find alternatives. provide Security and Technology in the Region. India and the US have developed several initiatives and agreements to build these capabilities, the latest being Try Complex and Emerging Technologies (iCET). iCET focuses on semiconductor supply chain development in India and US companies Micron Technologies It recently started setting up its first India-based assembly and testing facility, reflecting interest in India from the US public and private sector.

The Xi-Biden summit is a key moment in reshaping the US-China relationship. It is not simply a diplomatic tête-à-tête, but a potential forum for shaping the trajectory of development initiatives and technological alliances. Although the two powers did not come out of the summit with concrete actions, the talks in San Francisco could usher in a new era of economic cooperation that will change the geopolitical chessboard. With the curtain rising on the Xi-Biden summit and hope to come, the spotlight illuminates the complex moves shaping the future dynamics of the Indo-Pacific region.

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