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WORLD NEWS | India overtakes China in ASEAN: Singapore poll

ASEAN leaders and dialogue partners attend the third RCEP summit in Bangkok. (File photo/Reuters)

New Delhi [India]April 1 (ANI): India’s standing among ASEAN nations is on the rise, according to a recent survey by Singapore’s ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, which showed respondents saying they would choose India as a hedge against US-China strategic competition uncertainty. A report by Eurasia Times.

India doubles its support from 5.1% to 11.3% by 2023, ranking third among the six countries, followed by Australia, the UK and South Korea. This happened despite India’s neutrality in the Russo-Ukrainian war. There are three reasons for this change. According to reports, India began to implement the “Look East Policy” in the 1990s and later upgraded it to the “Action East Policy”.

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This engagement, primarily political and economic, is of strategic importance. According to the EurAsia Info report, India and South Asian countries face many threats and challenges, especially in the field of unconventional security.

India and Southeast Asian countries have been strengthening defense and security ties at bilateral and multilateral levels to counter such threats.

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Defense cooperation with ASEAN members is now aimed at training fighter pilots and submarine crews in Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand, maintaining fighter jets in Indonesia and exporting BrahMos supersonic missiles to the Philippines. Such cooperation has recently improved India’s image among ASEAN countries, according to Eurasia Info.

New Delhi’s “Look East Policy” has been praised by Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand’s “West Look Policy”, while Singapore’s support for New Delhi’s participation in ASEAN-led forums has become a driving force to open up new avenues of participation. India and greater Southeast Asia.

On the basis of this and other past engagements, India and Southeast Asia were able to cultivate a multidimensional relationship that is not limited to bilateral relations but also includes multilateral engagements, EurAsia Info reported.

The survey also showed that China’s popularity in ASEAN has dropped significantly. On the question of which country/regional organization is the most influential economic power in Southeast Asia, the proportion of people traveling to China will drop from 76.7% in 2022 to 59.9% in 2023.

Similarly, on the question of which country/regional organization has the most political and strategic influence in Southeast Asia, the proportion choosing China dropped from 54.4% in 2022 to 41.5% in 2023. India’s popularity in the region is on the rise According to EurAsia Info, ASEAN countries see India as an alternative to China.

Third, Southeast Asian countries have also begun to regard India as a military power. When asked why they trust India, some 18.2 percent of respondents said India’s military power is an asset to global peace and security. Only 6.6% of respondents chose this opinion a year ago. This certainly reflects India’s changing image.

China has been investing heavily in the military. Through Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, China will expand its influence in Russia, because Moscow completely trusts Beijing. According to the “Eurasia Info” report, India-ASEAN relations may become the key to current geopolitics.

India is key to countering China’s rising military power. China’s territorial expansion is regular. After France withdrew from the South China Sea in the 1950s, China occupied half of the Paracel Islands. It took the other half of the island just after the US withdrew from Vietnam in the 1970s.

In the 1980s, when the Soviet Union reduced its troop presence in Vietnam, China occupied six islands and reefs in the Spratly Islands. According to Eurasia Info, China occupied Mischief Reef in 1970, just after the United States withdrew its troops from the Philippines.

This suggests that China will expand its territory when it finds a power vacuum created by changing the military balance. To deal with China, neighboring countries should maintain a military balance.

China’s military spending is growing very fast, which India-ASEAN cannot keep up with. According to the EurAsia Info report, data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) shows that China’s military spending increased by 72% between 2012 and 2021.

Over the same period, India’s military spending increased by 33 percent, Singapore’s by 24 percent, Indonesia’s by 35 percent and Thailand’s by 16 percent. Such a budget shortfall could create a power vacuum that China could exploit, according to Eurasia Info.

In this case, India and ASEAN countries should find another way to maintain military balance. India and ASEAN can divide China’s military spending into several parts, the India-China border and the South China Sea.

If India-ASEAN cooperates with the US, Japan and Australia, these cooperations will more effectively share China’s military spending. According to the Eurasia Times, this cooperation can be used as an anti-China strategy.

India is becoming an emerging market. If India-ASEAN relies on trade with China, China can use economic coercion to project its influence. Therefore, Indo-ASEAN needs alternative markets and supply chains.

If India-ASEAN trade increases, ASEAN’s dependence on China will decrease. Combined with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and IPEF (Indo-Pacific Economic Framework), India-ASEAN economic cooperation will create new hope in countering China in the region.

India is the keeper of the rules-based order. China’s territorial expansion flouts many international laws. The artificial islands in the South China Sea are a good example. According to Eurasia Info, despite the international tribunal’s ruling rejecting China’s claims to sovereignty in the South China Sea, it has continued to build artificial islands and deploy military assets.

On the other hand, India follows the judgment of the International Court of Justice on the India-Bangladesh maritime border issue. Therefore, in order to respect the rules-based order, India has the right to claim itself as the security provider of the rules-based order anywhere in the world, including the South China Sea. India-ASEAN cooperation will function as an anti-China strategy. (Arnie)

(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the content body may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)

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