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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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.
Sri Lanka is experiencing an economic, political and strategic crisis it has never had before. The situation is fragile – but a creative solution and determined national interest can help return the island nation to stability and growth. Amb. Rajiv Bhatia, in conversation with economist Dr Ganeshan Wignaraja on how Sri Lanka came to the current condition, and the remedies to adopt.
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?
Holding one of the G20 meetings in Jammu and Kashmir is a bold, audacious and timely move. It is possible because of the ceasefire along the Line of Control which has been holding since February 25, 2021. The new geopolitical setting offers India an opportunity to diplomatically disdain the Chinese, camping not too far away in the un-demarcated border areas with India.
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 Galwan crisis, pandemic and the Ukrainian war have weakened the BRICS’ credibility, a forum that has played a pivotal role in articulating the case for reformed multilateralism. Beyond grandiose rhetoric and vested interests, these five nations need to first infuse the grouping with internal solidarity and enhance mutual trust for peace, stability and prosperity in the Global South.
Great power competition in the Indo-Pacific is a concern for regional powers. India’s maritime security strategy has adapted to this geo-political change, and is moving from acting as a balancing power, to a leading force in the region. India is a near, yet non-resident power, and has a strategy for providing stability, prosperity, and security in the Indo-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions.
China’s expansionist nuclear programme aims to bolster its capabilities, so much so, that Beijing's predictions boast 2500 new warheads by 2030, thus rivalling the American and Russian arsenals. As the dragon quadruples its nuclear propensity, heralding the world to something greatly unstable – a tripolar nuclear system; nuclear peace seems a quite convoluted goal.
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.