'Indo-Pacific' is an increasingly recognised term in the analysis of Asian strategic issues. Of course, there’s debate about what it means and the extent to which such a super-sized region can be a meaningful frame of reference for policymaking. And its subregions of North Asia, South Asia and Southeast Asia still have their own geopolitical dynamics.
But it is clear that the Asia Pacific and Indian Ocean regions are becoming linked in economic and ultimately security terms, and much of this stems from the rise of China and India as trading nations and as powers with expanding interests.
Here at the Lowy Institute and on The Interpreter, some of us have consciously sought to contribute to this way of seeing Asia and Australia’s strategic environment. Much of the work of the Institute’s International Security Program, in particular, has an Indo-Pacific footprint. So starting today, the program’s research staff will present a weekly selection of useful new research links, illuminating the changing security picture in this vast region.
The subjects will range from developments within particular countries or subregions (which still matter in their own right) to aspects of the wider Indo-Pacific strategic picture, notably the US rebalance, regional trends in military capabilities, India-China relations, maritime tensions, diplomatic initiatives, the role of nuclear weapons and the way economic and societal developments affect the balance of power.
And so to begin:
- My own effort to make sense of Indo-Pacific Asia: what started with an Interpreter post and grew into a lecture is now an essay in The American Interest.
- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang chose India for his first trip abroad. Now Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is paying a return visit. My colleague Danielle Rajendram writes in The National Interest on why he might just have a strategy. For another view, here’s Shashank Joshi in The Interpreter yesterday.
- Moises Naim on why Asia has more potential than any other region to generate and spread crises of global magnitude.
- Will some of those crises be nuclear? The US National Bureau of Asian Research has devoted its latest in-depth volume to the Asia-centric dangers of the ‘second nuclear age’.
- Could a recent unofficial dialogue among Australia, India and Indonesia be an early step towards practical security cooperation among these three countries, such as in maritime surveillance?
- Even as China’s interests expand beyond its periphery, its submarine procurement priorities suggest a focus on anti-access and area denial in the ‘near seas’.
- The debate sharpens: Australian academics Nick Bisley and Andrew Phillips take to the pages of Survival to argue that America should proceed no further in attempting an integrated Indo-Pacific strategy.