Emerging Geopolitical Trends and Security in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the People’s Republic of China, and India (ACI) Region

C. Raja Mohan
JEL codes: 
ADBI Working Paper Series

The rapid economic growth in the region consisting of the Association of Southeast Asian
Nations (ASEAN), the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and India has begun to change the
strategic landscape of the world. The accretion of military power that inevitably followed the
region’s economic growth is altering the balance of power within the region and between Asia
and the West. This background paper outlines the geopolitical trends in a region that has
become the center stage of international politics in the 21st century. It begins with a review of
the idea of Asia in the 20th century and identifies the inherited political legacy of Asia in the
middle of the 20th century. The paper then provides an assessment of the region’s unfolding
geopolitical transformation in recent years and asks if the regional structures in Asia can cope
with it. The paper also explores the problems of integrating the two rising Asian powers, the
PRC and India, into the structures of global governance. It concludes with a brief discussion on
the strategic policy imperatives facing the ACI region.