- India and its neighbourhood- relations.
- Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue
What to study?
For Prelims: Overview of regions and countries in Indo- pacific region, important straits.
For Mains: Significance and potential of the region, need for international cooperation to main peace and order in the region.
Context: The term Indo-Pacific has been gaining traction in Indian policy circles for some time now, it achieved operational clarity after the Indian vision was presented by Prime Minister in his keynote address at the Shangri-La Dialogue in June 2018.
What is it?
Geographically, the Indo-Pacific refers to the Indian and the Pacific Oceans between the east coast of Africa and the American west coast and their several littoral countries. As a term to denote an economic and strategic community, it has been in use among scholars of international relations and geopolitics since the first decade of this century, around the same time as China’s rise.
Mechanisms for India to integrate with Indo-Pacific Policy:
- India’s Act East policyremains the bedrock of the national Indo-Pacific vision and the centrality of ASEAN is embedded in the Indian narrative.
- India has been an active participant in mechanisms like the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).
- India has also been convening the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium, in which the navies of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) participate.
- India has boosted its engagements with Australia and New Zealand and has deepened its cooperation with the Republic of Korea.
- Through the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation, India is stepping up its interactions with the Pacific Island countries.
- India views the Indo-Pacific as a geographic and strategic expanse, with the 10 ASEAN countries connecting the two great oceans.
Challenges ahead for Indo-Pacific regional policy:
- The integration of the IORA means that attention will continue to be focused on the IOR. This can be a result of the growing Chinese footprint in the Indian Ocean and Chinese diplomacy in the region.
- There are still challenges for India, especially how it will integrate the Quadrilateral initiativewhich got revived in 2017 with its larger Indo-Pacific approach.
- There are differences between India’s vision and the U.S.’s strategy for the Indo-Pacific even as countries like China and Russia view the Indo-Pacific with suspicion.
Efforts by the US:
The renaming of the U.S. Pacific Command to U.S. Indo-Pacific Command as well as the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act in December 2018 showcase Washington’s more serious engagement with the Indo-Pacific.
- The idea of an Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue (IPRD) was first conceptualised and conducted in 2018, as the apex level conference of the Indian Navy, organised by the National Maritime Foundation as the Navy’s Knowledge Partner.
- The permanent theme of this annual dialogue is a review of India’s opportunities and challenges in the Indo-Pacific region.
- The aim is to focus attention on the Indo-Pacific, as a maritime geographical-entity, while deliberating aspects of great relevance to regional geopolitics.
Sources: Indian Express.