This article examines contemporary perceptions and the corresponding responses of Southeast Asian states vis-à-vis India–China maritime competition. Specifically, it examines the cases of Singapore, Vietnam, and the Philippines. These countries provide useful cross-comparisons as, bilaterally, all three states relate uniquely to China and the maritime disputes in the South China Sea on the basis of two structural conditions – their formal security relationship with the US and whether they are a claimant state in the South China Sea dispute. The link between the range afforded by these three cases and the manner in which it drives their perceptions towards India–China maritime competition forms the core of this article. These three countries perceive differing levels of threat from China and have chosen a range of external balancing strategies to deal with these perceived threats. The nature of US–China and India–China security competition, the latter specifically in the maritime realm, structures the external balancing strategies they have pursued. There are, this article argues, important links between US–China and India–China strategic competition in structuring the external balancing strategies these countries pursue.
Last updated on 17/12/2019