South East Asia and the Indo-Pacific have been marked with an arms race that is characterized by competition among states to obtain and maintain military superiority over each other. The arms race in this region has its roots in the regional security landscape, which is marked by an array of threats such as territorial or water disputes, showing of strength, piracy, terrorism, and other security challenges. This article will explore the dynamics of the arms race in that region of Asia, its drivers, and implications for regional peace and stability. The arms race of any region is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon. It is driven by various factors, including the desire of states to protect their national sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as their economic, marine, and political interests. Some countries in the region are involved in territorial disputes over the ownership of certain islands or maritime territories, which has resulted in an increased need for military capabilities to protect their claims. But in the stance of these disputes when we are seeing there is also a certain growth of these countries in the sector of investment, human capital, job-seeking opportunities, and much more.
1. Why the Sudden Change
There are certain reasons for the expansion of the activities and the developments in the scenario of Asia where we can see the west is playing an important factor in steering the war-like scenario as it was doing in Iraq, Iran, or in any Middle East countries which can be seen as the current shift in the geopolitics. As the famous quote by British PM Henry Temple says, “We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests we must follow.” so the contest of increasing the defence power is rising in the area, and some of the latest developments we can see thereby are as: –
2. Recent Developments in the Area
- In the last several years the Philippines, which has bumped heads with China over maritime and territorial claims in the South China Sea, has decided to purchase four warships from South Korea’s defence unit Hyundai Heavy Industries for a budget of around $1 billion. Additionally, the country has recently made news by announcing it had made a $375 million purchase of BrahMos missiles from India which comprises of Russia- India Joint venture.
- The Recent display of strength of China over Taiwan was seen when US spokesperson Nancy Pelosi recently visited Taiwan and China started showing air manoeuvre and military exercises near the Taiwanese Coast and how the missile flew over Taiwan violating its air space
- The crucial dispute between the artificial islands created by China over the South China sea is seen as a threat to the sovereignty and integrity of small islands nations such as Indonesia Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam, Philippines and has forced them to expand their defence budget rapidly and procure Arms and ammunitions from the US, Europe, Russia, and India
3. What’s Heading Currently
Recently, we can see that the QUAD was composed of the US, India, Japan, and Australia which aimed at creating a better place for the Indo Pacific, our External affairs minister Dr. S. Jaishankar in an Interview via video conferencing recently stated , “The concept of Indo-Pacific is a rejection of the spheres of influence and a reiteration that the world cannot be frozen for the benefit of a few even if that is the case with the United Nations” depicts how the new arena of conflict is getting ready and how the big economies are playing an important part in It.