Will Trump make South Asia great again?

4 May 2017
Author: Abdul Basit, RSISUnites States National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster embarked on his maiden visit to South Asia on 16 April 2017. McMaster’s trip to the region is part of the on-going consultation process ahead of finalising the Trump administration’s South Asia policy. This comes just after Washington snubbed Russia’s invitation to join its Afghan peace talks and used the ‘mother of all bombs’ against the so called ‘Islamic State’ in eastern Afghanistan.

In Washington, Trump’s pre-election rhetoric is subsiding and the administration is adopting a more assertive and muscular regional policy to fill the diplomatic void created in South Asia during the US presidential election campaign. From the perspective of major power politics, it is obvious that the United States will not cede any space to China or Russia in the region. The United States will seek to preserve its preponderant position in South Asia as the major security guarantor, conflict stabiliser and arbiter.

China’s growing economic footprint in the region through its Belt and Road Initiative, the movement of Chinese submarines in the Indian Ocean through Pakistan’s Gwadar port and Russia’s strengthening position in Afghanistan all potentially undermine US geopolitical interests in the region. And Russia’s return to Afghanistan has divided the region into two competing diplomatic blocs: Russia, China, Pakistan and Central Asia against the United States, India, Afghanistan and NATO.

Read the full article on EAST ASIA FORUM

Updated:  8 May 2017/ Responsible Officer:  SARI director/ Page Contact:  SARI director