The Quad countries are preparing for an autumn summit in Washington, which will provide an opportunity to discuss multilateral cooperation in various sectors. Four dimensions which merit closer attention and are crucial to the group's future are the Indo-Pacific strategies of European countries and the EU, partnerships with ASEAN and its members, closer India-U.S. ties and maritime security issues in the Pacific.
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On 28 May 2021, the Biden administration submitted a much-delayed Defense Budget to Congress, asking for $715 billion for 2022, a 1.6% increase over the previous year’s $703.7 billion. This marginal increase highlights the U.S.’s shrinking capacities compared with China, which spends less than a third of the U.S. on defence. This Budget is focussed on challenges in the U.S.’s geographic vicinity, not the administration’s resolve to counter the threat of China from a position of strength.
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?
The Indian Ocean Region (IOR) presents a unique opportunity to develop a Blue Economy, with security, sustainability and business profitability as its three pillars. An IOR Defence Ministers' Conclave held on 4 February provided a platform to discuss regional cooperation, linking development with defence, and emphasized India's pivotal position within the IOR.
The recently-enacted China Coast Guard laws have renewed uncertainty in the South China Sea. India must work with the Quad to build collective maritime competence of maritime law enforcement agencies beyond the Indian Ocean Region within the Indo-Pacific.
The U.S. Navy Secretary, Kenneth Braithwaite, visited India on 17 Dec 2020. Will this year-end visit culminate in the reactivation of the First Fleet under the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command? The First Fleet, is likely to be an expeditionary fleet - one without a shore-based headquarters and assigned primary responsibility for the Indian Ocean and parts of Pacific Ocean bordering South Asia. Its reactivation will emphasise the strategic importance of this region. It will also relieve the burden of the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet headquartered in Japan, that is deployed for operations in this vast oceanic space.
The key global powers are redefining their roles in the Indo-Pacific to promote national interest. China’s rise and increased activism in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region is an uncontested reality even as Asian countries worry about the new cold war in which the U.S. and China are locked. The Quadrilateral Dialogue has reemerged to prevent a unipolar Asia — these are some of the trends unfolding in this arena
Norwegian prime minister Erna Solberg’s visit to India earlier this week had a central focus: strengthening economic and technological cooperation in the Blue Economy. This is an area in which her country has considerable expertise and with which Indian business needs to collaborate in managing industries, such as oil, shipping, fisheries and aquaculture in a ‘green’ way
The following remarks were given by Ambassador Rajiv Bhatia, Distinguished Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies, Gateway House as a panelist at an Interactive Session with Reginah Makgabo Mahaule, Deputy Minister of International Relations, South Africa hosted by RIS on January 9, 2019
Ten years after the 26/11 terror attack, India’s maritime security is much stronger, with better inter-agency coordination and improved security structure. The Indian Navy was made responsible for maritime security overall, but no fool-proof and unambiguous command and control structure exists as yet.