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Online International Conference on

Indo-Pacific Construct: A New Regional Order and Implications


The term ‘Indo-Pacific’ is ubiquitously used in the global strategic/geo-political discourses. The term was first used by Gurpreet Khurana; later in yet another article, ‘Indo-Pacific’ refers to the maritime space stretching from the littorals of East Africa and West Asia, across the Indian Ocean and western Pacific Ocean, to the littorals of East Asia. The Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in his speech to the Indian Parliament in August 2007 expounded the spirit of the term as the "Confluence of the Indian and Pacific Oceans” and as "the dynamic coupling as seas of freedom and of prosperity" in the "broader Asia". It was around 2010 that the Indo-Pacific gained importance in India, when New Delhi has found promise in the idea – including its rationale and objectives – to further India’s national interests in its extended eastern maritime neighbourhood. These include geo-economic interests, international order at sea, and freedom of navigation, but that is not all. New Delhi also seeks to develop a credible strategic deterrence against China, given the India’s geostrategic frontier vis-à-vis China steady expansion eastwards from the Indian Ocean. The “Indo-Pacific” idea provides India a valuable opportunity to forge partnerships with the resident countries and major stakeholders of Indo-Pacific, by giving credence to the convergence of interests.

The Indo-Pacific concept got the much needed impetus upon the assumption of Prime Ministership by Narendra Modi in 2014. In tandem with Modi’s Act East policy in 2015, the Indian Navy promulgated its new maritime security strategy which expanded India’s “areas of maritime interest” to the entire western and southwestern Pacific Ocean. The Indian strategic community has also called upon New Delhi to demonstrate a greater commitment to implementing its Act East policy as well as broaden the scope of Modi’s vision of SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region).

It was on 12th November 2017 that the leaders from the United States, India, Japan and Australia at Manila pondered over revival of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) to build up cooperation for a free and open Indo-Pacific. It was about same time in November 2017 that the tour of the US President Donald Trump to the Asia-Pacific brought in an important conceptual change to U.S. strategy in the region.  As a consequence, the term Indo-Pacific has begun to serve as an important indicator for the United States and its allies to conceptualize geopolitics centring on Indo-Pacific. Trump’s oft-repeated reference to the Asia-Pacific region as the Indo-Pacific points to just how central the idea is to the US foreign policy.

The Indo-Pacific idea simply expands the conceptual region of Asia-Pacific to include India and the Indian Ocean. This strategic construct, besides including India and Japan, is bridged by Australia and undergirded by U.S. maritime dominance. The Quad translates this geopolitical understanding into strategy, envisaging the two oceans as a single strategic and security space. The impetus for such a re-conceptualization is simple: Japan and India, which endured isolation as they are in their own oceans, yearn for uniting under a single geopolitical sphere in pursuit of balancing against the Western Pacific's rising power, China. Be that as it may, China’s ever-growing regional ambitions would only intensify its efforts in the form of a coherent geopolitical response to the Quad in the Indo-Pacific region. Arguably, in the context of the shifting dynamics in the Asia-Pacific, the much strategic milieu of the Indo-Pacific would not necessarily guarantee the much-sought after success for the nascent Quad witnessing slow progress.

In view of the topical importance of Indo-Pacific Region and the growing global significance of Indian Ocean and India, the Centre for Southeast Asia & Pacific Studies, Sri Venkateswara University; Vietnam Institute for Indian and Southwest Asian Studies (VIISAS), Hanoi; and VIT Business School, Vellore, intend to hold a three-day Online International conference Indo-Pacific Construct: A New Regional Order and Implications. The complexity of the issues stemmed from geography, politics, culture and economics of the Indo-Pacific region certainly calls for a debate by the scholars and specialists in different disciplines. Obviously, the Centre would provide an opportunity for a meaningful debate on the selected theme among a galaxy of scholars of eminence including academics, diplomats, defence personnel, historians and journalists and alike. It is our pleasure to request you to contribute a scholarly paper on the themes that include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • Shift from Asia-Pacific to Indo-Pacific
    • Indo-Pacific and the post Cold War period
    • Complexity and diversity of the Indo-Pacific
    • Strategic and maritime security challenges in the Indo-Pacific
    • South China Sea, a potential flashpoint
    • The interests of the stakeholders in the Indo-Pacific
    • A new great game of the US and China
    • India’s pivot to the Indo-Pacific
    • Is Indo-Pacific a battle field of the 21st Century?
    • Quad, a platform of cooperation or an arena of conflict
    • ASEAN centric regionalism vis-a-vis Quad
    • India-China border conflicts with reference to Quad
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