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Connecting the Dots: China-India Rivalry Is Reshaping Indian Ocean Politics

An aerial view of the Maldives. It and other Indian Ocean island states are facing increasing overtures and pressure from both China and India. Image AFP

China and India are commercial rivals in fields as diverse as antibiotics and spices. The two are also increasingly trying to expand their influence among governments across the Indian Ocean region.

The rivalry can’t be separated from broader geopolitical tensions between the United States and China in the Indo-Pacific region. Observers have pointed out that as India-China tensions rise, India is facing less pressure from the United States on anti-Muslim crackdowns and other forms of democratic backsliding and its ongoing commercial and political relationship with Russia.

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