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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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.
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.
Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla is on a crucial visit to Nyapitaw, meeting with the military government and opposition for the first time since the military coup this year. This is part of New Delhi's diplomatic agenda for Myanmar, which includes border management and striking a balance between strengthening democracy and supporting the military, amid dynamic regional geopolitics.
The EU's Indo-Pacific strategy, released in September, set the tone for a renewed focus on the region. Europe's Asia connect is rich, strong and multi-layered, laying the foundation for an advantageous position for the EU in the Indo-Pacific. This can be achieved if the EU is more candid with itself, more assertive with China, and more cooperative with India.
Three senior U.S. officials visited Asia in July in a well-choreographed diplomatic outreach strategy by the Biden administration. The U.S is willing to prioritise the Indo-Pacific and counter China. Asia cannot afford to be a reticent bystander.
A potential anti-Quad formation of China, Russia, Iran and Pakistan is in the making, and can pose risks to the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue. However, a close analysis of China's bilateral relationship with each country shows that this is a flawed grouping, formed on limited common interests and rivalries.
The EU’s Indo-Pacific strategy comes better late than never. But it has to step gingerly. It cannot antagonize China, wants to build on the legacy of its members’ colonial past, give the region the infrastructure it needs, and make the trade agreements that it wants. Is it achievable?
On 30th June, 2020 Gateway House in association with Konrad-Adeneur-Stiftung (KAS) co-hosted a webinar on Indo-Pacific: New Geo strategic reality.
Manjeet Kriplani, Executive Director, Gateway House, in discussion with Prof. Rory Medcalf, Head, National Security College, Australian National University, and author of Indo-Pacific Empire: China, America and the Contest for the World's Pivotal Region; and Cleo Paskal, Associate Fellow, Energy, Environment and Resources, and Asia-Pacific, Chatham House; on the possibility of an Indo-Pacific Charter for the region.