Revisiting the Regional Security Complex of South Asia
The paper critics the existing theoretical framework of regional security complex of South Asia based on the primary research question: in what ways has the Chinese presence in South Asia reinforced or reiterated the major security concerns: bilateral relations of small states with India, Indian security concerns, maritime security, state sovereignty, issues created by debt diplomacy that affects the South Asian regional security complex? The regional security complex understands China as an external power which penetrates the regional security complex of South Asia based on the rivalry of India and Pakistan. However, the Chinese involvement in South Asia, particularly with the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has changed these relationships. In this context, the paper argues China can be understood as an internal member of the complex, based on the criteria for categorising internal members. Therefore, the paper brings the case study of BRI and the selection of the case study method to conduct the research has constructed a broader scope to consider BRI and its development projects in South Asia and its effects over the security architecture of South Asia in terms of debt diplomacy and the influence of China on bilateral relations of India vis-à-vis small states of South Asia. In conclusion, the paper remarks that China is no longer penetrating the regional security complex based on power rivalry of IndoPakistan, but China is playing a pivotal role in the South Asian context by maintaining strong security interdependency with the members of the security complex while defining the complex.