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.
Low global commodity prices, strong FDI inflows, and sustained growth have boosted the Indian economy in the preceding decade. This favourable economic climate, however, was disrupted by the pandemic and the crisis in Ukraine, exposing vulnerabilities in the global economic system. This paper focuses on India’s economic security challenges, particularly in six sectors - Food, Energy, Finance, Data, Space & Undersea Cables and Critical Minerals - and suggests possible courses of action.
With mass digitisation, India has proved that technology is not just for the educated, privileged, and wealthy. The country's open and secure digital public platforms can be significant for the Indo-Pacific, the world's most data-rich region. The Indian model is applicable because it is open-source, interoperable, auditable, and enshrines individual rights, ownership, and empowerment.
India and France have long been reliable partners, and friends in need. The fifth meeting between the leaders of the two countries highlights the focus on strengthening cooperation in 21st century issues. The India-France Track 1.5 Dialogue, hosted by Gateway House, Mumbai and Ifri, Paris, explored the potential of cooperation in digitalisation and energy transition
China has established a dominant presence in the Indo-Pacific through exploitative economic engagements. This has destabilised smaller nations in the region and made them dependent on Chinese support. For a free and open Indo-Pacific, India must press its advantage in human and economic capacity building.
The Indian diaspora has played a significant role in deepening the country's engagement with the Indo-Pacific nations. India can leverage this soft diplomacy to play a constructive role in the region.
Last month, the Government of India released its Green Hydrogen Policy with the goal of boosting energy self-reliance and inspiring clean energy transitions. The time is right for the Indo-Pacific economies to finance green hydrogen projects and integrate them into supply chains.
Concerns of global supply chains being overdependent on China has shifted the focus to India. This became clear in 2021 when Australia, Japan and India together launched the Resilient Supply Chain Initiative. India must now leverage its unique position in the Indo-Pacific region by incorporating well-planned industrial clusters and models.
Financial intermediaries are critical lubricants for business, growth and development. The Indo-Pacific countries are industrializing, but smaller nations lag behind economically. The Quad countries can aid the advancement of the financial architecture in the Indo-Pacific by helping to develop an ecosystem, modelled on the examples of Japan and India.