Syed Fraz Hussain Naqvi and Maham Khan

Mr Syed Fraz Hussain Naqvi is a student of MPhil in International Relations at the National Defence University, Islamabad.

Ms Maham Khan is a student of MPhil in American Studies at Quaid-iAzam University, Islamabad.

DOI: http://DOI Number

Keywords: Indo-Pacific, China-US competition, neo-realism, international structure, Quad, AUKUS


Many scholars in the past have studied the Indo-Pacific region using realist and liberal perspectives. Liberal theorists present the formation and success of ASEAN as the pinnacle of regional cooperation. On the other hand, the realist theorists seek to explain the competition between China and neighbouring states in the South China Sea (SCS) as the inevitable outcome of international politics in the absence of any authority. However, in the scholarly literature, there is a gap in addressing the significance of the Indo-Pacific region vis-à-vis the international structure which is now predominantly influenced by the US-China competition. Hence, neo-realism elaborates the functioning of international structure and, thus, the paper explains the US tilt towards the Indo-Pacific and how neorealism can be applied to describe its competition with China at the global level. The paper frames its argument in three parts. First, the basic tenets of neo-realism are defined and compared with the features of classical realism. Second, the neo-realist approach is adopted to analyse the context of US Indo-Pacific policy. Finally, through the case studies of Quad and AUKUS, the validity of neo-realism is discussed.

First Published

September 2021

How to Cite

Syed Fraz Hussain Naqvi and Maham Khan, “The Significance of Neo-Realism in Explaining the US Indo-Pacific Policy,” Regional Studies 39, no.3 (Autumn 2021): 88-107,


Volume 39, Issue 3