عنوان مقاله [English]
India and China, as two great Asian powers, are going to gain dominance over their surrounding regions to secure their hegemony throughout all Asia. It has led the two states towards a fundamental competition in Asia, and has led to the formation of a series of economic and military tensions between them and in Asia. However, in their hegemonic approaches, the two countries have selected the south and southeast of Asia as their main priorities and are trying to gain control over them, as their surrounding regions. The strategic view of the two states to these regions has resulted in their severe competitions mainly in economic and political terms. The present study is going to show that India and China, as two great powers, are struggling to gain dominance over the south and southeast of Asia as a prelude to their further hegemony and dominance over the whole Asia; therefore, it is imperative for the statesmen and decision-makers of Islamic Republic of Iran to be well aware of these international realities and be able to develop an appropriate political orientation towards China and India, as two states contending for gaining hegemony over Asia. The question of this study is “how have the economic and military components affected competitions between India and China in the south and southeast of Asia?”
This study has used an analytic method. Accordingly, the authors compare and analyze the relations between the economic and military components and the hegemonic component to show what relationship exists between these components and the hegemonic competition of China and India in the south and southeast of Asia. Data analysis is also qualitative and the research hypothesis is analyzed according to empirical indicators and logical reasoning.
During recent decades, an interminable cycle of economic and military competitions has occurred between China and India in their regions. The Indians are, first of all, trying to gain control over the South Asian region, and continue to extend the scope of their dominance to China’s backyard – the southeast of Asia and China’s South Sea. The Chinese are also trying to both preserve their status in the South Sea and the southeast of Asia and develop their sea communications with South Asian states; in this way, they are going to challenge the presence of the Chinese in this geographical area.
Before the 1990s, India had overlooked the importance of communicating with the southeast of Asia, and the free-trade and market-economy-based communications had no place in the foreign-policy priorities of this state. Compared to India, Southeast Asian states were much less economically developed in the 1960s and were regarded as an unattractive area for economic planning and cooperation. The economic priorities of India’s foreign policy in those days were also supporting its own industries. As for Indians, the Chinese are focusing their attention towards the south and southeast of Asia and are looking at this geographical location as a strategic and specific economic zone. In fact, China’s extraordinary progress in the southeast of Asia are a result of its economic developments. In 2000, Philippines’ former President had expressly maintained that he thinks “China is going to overcome Asia.” (Kang and Cha, 2010: 88-89)
China and India’s efforts in developing their Asian hegemonies have instigated military competitions between them in the south and southeast of Asia. Both states are going to have military dominance over the region and, through this means, attain some of their hegemonic goals. China’s dominance over the south and southeast of Asia is a major cause of India’s concerns in the region. In China’s approach also, its military dominance over the south and southeast of Asia – especially its dominance over its own backyard, i.e. the Southeastern Asia and China’s South Sea – has a special place. After its successful economic reforms and turning into a great economic power, China has prioritized its military power and dominance over its neighbors.
India and China were under the spell of the socialist ideology during the Cold War, and thus they were engaged in the games of the two powers: the US and the USSR. End of the Cold War let the Chinese and Indian politicians to freely choose their development strategy and try to increase their power and influence in Asia. In 1979, China initiated its economic reforms and India started it one decade later. These reforms empowered the two states so much so that in the beginning of the twentieth century, both countries reached a considerable degree of economic growth and development. Increase in their economic power called for similar developments in the two countries’ military capacities; therefore, the two states tried to mobilize their military resources according to their economic capacities, so that by 2012 they came to become two large military powers of the world. In fact, developments in their internal capacities have inclined the two states towards trying to gain hegemony in Asia and have brought about a wave of competitions in various geographical zones in Asia. Not only are the competitions in economic and military fields between India and China increasing within their national borders, the hegemonic competition between them has also gone beyond the two countries to include the whole Asia. South Asia and Southeast Asia are backyards for India and China respectively which should be far from the influence of their competitors and remain safe from their ambitious goals. Both countries are trying to enter these areas into a free-trade zone as well as preserving their military superiority. Accordingly, India and China have been signing economic and defence treaties with the countries of the region. In this situation, with the continuation of current trends, one can expect to see a surge in competitions over economic resources and markets, as well as an increase in military competitions between the two continental powers of Asia. This will not only influence the political and diplomatic relations of the two states, but will considerably affect their relations with the countries in the south and southeast of Asia. Therefore, increased competitions in political, economic and military terms between India and China, both on the borders and in their surrounding regions, can instigate future insecurities in Asia.
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