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ICS Analysis

China’s Rise and the Future of Sino-US Relations: How Countervailing Strategies like the Quad are Defining Sino-US Competition in Asia

The defining nature of strategic developments since the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) of 2007-08 is a rising China making territorial assertions in the South and East China Seas and along the India-China border and coercive manoeuvring by the PLA Navy off the coast of Taiwan – all part of a broader effort to supplant the United States as the preeminent power in Asia. These trends have been exacerbated after the COVID crisis that broke out in November 2019. In response, the US has focused on its Indo-Pacific Strategy, strengthened its alliance and partnerships and established a web of trilateral and 2+2 dialogues for better policy coordination between US, Japan, Australia and India. The Quad - recently elevated to the summit level - sits at the apex of these dialogues. The Quad should be seen as part of the countervailing strategies adopted in the Indo-Pacific to counter an aggressive, assertive and expansionist China. China, on the other hand, regards the Quad and mini-laterals as quasi alliances aimed at itself. The article also explores how India has responded to these developments and what direction India-Japan cooperation could take in the future. The article concludes by exploring the nature of the new Sino-US competition from a “realist” perspective.

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