South Asia which resides in Indian Ocean, has remained an important region for the super powers. Strategic significance of Indian Ocean was highlighted by Alfred Thayer Mahan in 1940. However, it 2009, Robert D. Kaplan has hypothesised Indian Ocean to be centre stage of rivalry in 21st Century. Historic Soviet desire to seek an entry into India Ocean also signified the strategic importance of the region. In nutshell, SA has remained a battle ground for super powers and consequently, it has become least integrated, conflict prone and most impoverished region of the World.
Emergence of China as a prospective super power coupled with its future ambitions has again brought Indian Ocean to the fore. Fact of the matter is that the biggest landmass of the World which is known as Eurasian Landmass and The World Island needs access to water bodies. Frozen or semi-frozen status North inhibits entry in that direction. In the West Atlantic is fairly far for China and NATO is there to contest it. In the East the Pacific is emerging as hotspot due to the US Indo-Pacific Strategy and Quad Alliance.
In this backdrop, access to Indian Ocean has become critical for not only China but even for Eurasian Landmass. The US wants to keep Russia and China confined to their backyard whereas these powers need and opening to the World in order to grow. Indian Ocean becomes the only viable opening for the Eurasian Landmass. In 19th as well as 20th Centuries Soviet Union attempted to secure this opening which was blocked by British Empire and the US respectively.
CPEC is providing that critical access to China which has become a soar in the eyes of the US and India. In order to contain and contest China strategic partnership of the US and India is taking shape. Geopolitics of SA in 21st Century is becoming ominous due to Indo-US rivalry with China. On one hand CPEC has critical importance for China, but at the same time it is critical as an objective for constraining forces to check-mate China. SA is again emerging as possible battle ground for 21st Century Sino-US rivalry. What has really changed in this matrix of SA? In earlier play of global geopolitics in SA, US has been one of he antagonists and Pakistan served as a conduit to target enemy of the US. This time round, while the US stays as one of the antagonists, China has emerged as the second. India has replaced Pakistan as a conduit to take-on China and Muslim zealots have been replaced by Hindu zealots.
Unless people of SA behave mature, the region may again suffer from another cycle of conflict. In the above cited highly informative clip, General Secretary of EU has realised that EU should not become part of Sino-US conflict, similarly, the most powerful country of SA, ie India should behave mature and responsible not to become a conduit for Sino-US conflict.