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The South Asian Security Complex in a Decentring World Order: Reconsidering Regions and Powers Ten Years On


  • Barry Buzan


This article updates the arguments about the South Asian regional security complex (RSC) given in Buzan and Wæver’s (2003) Regions and Powers (RaP). In terms of the South Asian RSC itself, there have been lots of events, but little in the way of structural change from the analysis in RaP. In terms of South Asia’s regional context, the picture is mixed. In relation to the Gulf, there has been a minimal structural change. However, in relation to East Asia, there are more signs of interaction between the South and East Asian regional security complexes, mainly hinging on the rise of China. This is not yet sufficient to talk of the two having merged, but a wider Asian supercomplex is clearly emergent and becoming stronger. In terms of South Asia’s position in the global system, India’s claim for great power status is now plausible, though the role of the United States in both East and South Asia remains similar. But, the global level itself is probably moving towards a scenario in which a system, containing several great powers and no superpowers, becomes more regionalized. This trend has deep roots, and the key question for India is what balance it wants to establish through its engagement with its own region, the wider East Asian region, and at the global level.

Suggested Citation

  • Barry Buzan, 2011. "The South Asian Security Complex in a Decentring World Order: Reconsidering Regions and Powers Ten Years On," International Studies, , vol. 48(1), pages 1-19, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:intstu:v:48:y:2011:i:1:p:1-19

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