The Indo-Pacific region envisages the Indian and Pacific Oceans as a continuum and stands on two central pillars – maritime security and economic development. The public discussions, however, are focused on maritime security, strategy and geopolitics, while economic development has received less attention. This imbalance can be corrected by creating an awareness on how to harness the potential of the region's Blue Economy and its vast resources and opportunities.
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The supply of critical minerals, crucial for new and emerging technologies such as electric vehicles, electronics and renewable energy production, faces a significant disruption due to Covid and the Ukraine crisis. As the prices of these valuable resources surge, India can secure its supplies through the sagacious use of financial investments, efficient policies, and propriety technology. A collaboration with Japan can offer multifaceted benefits.
India’s technology industry grew 15.5% during the pandemic, and so have the cyber-attacks on critical infrastructure and stealing of intellectual property (IP). While an exhaustive data protection bill introduced by MeitY is under consideration, India must study and can benefit from Japan’s existing data protection law to protect consumer privacy and implement cybersecurity measures.
In his new book, former Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran demystifies China's imagined belief of itself as the Middle Kingdom. Contemporary China's propensity to cut and paste history has resulted in China's resentment of India based on a limited understanding of Indian history and of China's past recognition of India as an advanced civilisation which impacted Chinese culture. Today the West recognises India's potential to match China, with depth and skills, over the long term.
Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s legacy is marked by statesmanship and foresight, enabling him to reform the security and economic architecture of Asia, Japan and India. His historic 2007 speech in the Indian Parliament gave shape to the idea of the Indo-Pacific, and the Quad. Abe had faith in India, recognising the opportunities India and Japan offered each other.
The G7 has reached out to emerging economies which have, of late, been facing challenges on the economic front, brought on by the lingering pandemic and the mismanagement of the Ukraine crisis. They are also seeking, from the global south, a broader acceptance of their world view. Will it be forthcoming?
Hailed as historic, the new global rules to curb harmful fishing subsidies is a step towards sustainable fishery practices. The negotiated deal, however, is fraught with concerns over overcapacity in fisheries, deep-sea fishing legislations, and blue finance. It may be better for developing countries to formulate their own regulations and set up mechanisms to prevent illegal fishing within their territorial waters – and hold the WTO agreement to its word.
On 31 May 2022, Amb. Rajiv Bhatia delivered keynote address at the panel discussion on Emerging and Critical Technologies in the Indo-Pacific: Opportunities and Challenges, organised by the Kalinga Institute of Indo-Pacific Studies. Amb. Bhatia elucidates on usage of technology in modern warfare, especially the Ukrainian war, while also stressing those critical technologies in the Indo-Pacific can provide a fillip to sustainable development in the region.
After its fourth summit on May 24, the Quad has emerged stronger and clearer in its initiatives which are aimed at addressing the Indo-Pacific’s geopolitical challenges. India now has a chance to work with like-minded democracies on an equal footing, with much to contribute. The Quad’s strategy for the Indo-Pacific is to deepen internalised cooperation for continued peace, prosperity, and stability.
The Quad has agreed to launch a satellite-based maritime security initiative to curb illegal fishing by China. India is a global leader in satellite launches, especially in Earth Observation (EO) satellites. The Indo-Pacific nations are looking at the Indian model because it is applicable, economical, and sustainable.