(Manoj Joshi is a Distinguished Fellow, Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi. This column first appeared in The Quint on September 21, 2021)
- The new Australia-UK-US (AUKUS) alliance is the latest warning of the looming threat of war in the Indo-Pacific region. In the middle of this month, we saw competing missile tests conducted by North and South Korea, there have been successive and deliberate intrusions into Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) by the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAF), and, most recently, the Chinese have issued a veiled warning against India’s planned Agni-V missile test and have been spotted constructing hundreds of new silos to house their long-range nuclear armed missiles in Gansu and Inner Mongolia. The hostility between the US and China is no longer constrained. Within a week of telling Xi Jinping over the telephone on September 9 that the US wanted to maintain the “guardrails” on the relationship to ensure “competition does not veer into conflict”, the United States sharply escalated the situation by entering into a new security alliance on September 15. Though China was not mentioned, it is clear that the US aim is to pose a challenge to Chinese naval activity, especially in the southern Pacific Ocean.