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.