Certain nations are concerned about an increased growth in arms in a region in which larger nations have already increased their military expenditures or capabilities.
China is expanding into military power. India, Vietnam, and Singapore are spending more money on defense. Japan is looking towards doing the same. In the meantime, Australia with the backing of Britain and the United States and Britain has pushed the war against Beijing in Asia into a new, tense phase.
Their agreement last week to arm Australia with long-range, stealthy nuclear-powered submarines better equipped to fight the Chinese navy could speed up the Asian arm buildup even before the submarines actually enter service.
In reaction, China may step up its military modernization, particularly in the field of technology that can stop submarines. In addition, by confirming the Biden administration’s intention to confront Chinese dominance in Asia The new arms agreement could cause other large military spending countries such as India and Vietnam towards accelerating their own plans to build weapons.
Countries that are trying to remain in the middle, including Indonesia, Malaysia, and others are facing a more unstable region, and are under increasing pressure, just as Australia did to pick the right side from Washington as well as Beijing.
“The image is one of three Anglo-Saxon nations that are drumming up their military within the Indo-Pacific region. This is in line with the narrative that is being promoted by China that “outsiders” aren’t aligned with the goals of the countries in the region,” said Dino Patti Djalal who was the former Indonesian Ambassador for the United States. “The concern is that this could lead to an arms race that is not needed, which the region is not required right now, or in the near future.”
The submarines aren’t expected to hit the sea for more than 10 years. But the geopolitical implications of their announcements have been immediate and have given Beijing time to assemble opposition from its Asian neighbors and to plan military countermeasures.
Japan and Taiwan both of which are staunch United States allies, quickly signed the security agreement.
Other Asian administrations have by their words or silence indicated doubts or fear regarding the rising tensions with China. A majority of leaders in Southeast Asia want the United States to be a major security force as stated by Ben Bland, the director of the Southeast Asia program at the Lowy Institute in Sydney.
“But they also worry that the more savage strategy taken by both the U.S. and allies such as Australia could cause China to take a stance of its own,” he said, “driving the cycle of escalation which is focused on Southeast Asia but disregards Southeast Asian voices.”
Before the agreement, certain governments had already put in place new submarines, ships, and missiles, partially out of concern over China’s growing military and territorial disputes. China is responsible for 42 percent of the total military expenditure across Asia as per the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
Japanese policymakers are now considering the possibility of increasing military spending above 1 percent of their GDP, which is a level that Japan has held in the past since the late 1970s. South Korea, focused on the threat posed by North Korea, has increased its defense budget by 7 percent per year since 2018. India has increased its military budget as the tensions between it and China have increased, but the economic impact of the coronavirus might slow the trend. India plans to purchase an additional 350 locally-built military aircraft within the next 20 years the air force chief stated in the month of April. Japan is currently working on hypersonic missiles that could be used to attack Chinese naval vessels in the event of a war. Taiwan the island with self-governing which China considers as its own territory, has suggested a $16.8 billion budget for the military next year, with $1.4 billion to purchase more jet fighters.
The Biden administration is promising to assist Asian nations to combat China’s militaristic expansion, which is something that the new agreement with Australia emphasizes. The agenda for the next few days is expected to be discussed at the White House this week when Biden is president. Biden will be joined by other heads of”the “Quad,” the grouping that comprises Australia, Japan, and India.
“China is the threat to pacing that we need to be aware of, not just today but also in the near future as well as in the future,” General John E. Hyten Vice head of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff spoke at an event held by the Brookings Institution last week. However, many governments across Asia particularly those in Southeast Asia, hope to avoid making the same decision that Australia’s premier, Scott Morrison, made last week by announcing the possibility of a “forever relationship” in America. The United States.