By Team External Relations |Aug 23, 2021
"The interests of India, the posture of Japan, the adjustments by the Americans, the ambitions of China, the confidence of Australia and the awareness of the ASEAN, will help reinvent the Indo-Pacific" S Jaishankar, External Affairs Minister, Government of India from his book: 'The India Way: Strategies for an uncertain world', Page.183, published in 2020 by Harper Collins
The evolution of Indo-Pacific as a development strategy is an important area of research on diplomacy that any student of International Relations (IR) must deal with in detail. Yet, it is so complex that it has to be appropriately demystified. The IR Scholars' Workshop on 'Opportunities and Challenges to Indo-Pacific Development Strategy' was organised to precisely address this issue and offer the students of IR a systematic way to understand the Indo-Pacific development cooperation. There are many aspects of the cooperation that has a direct connect with development, which needed in-depth analysis: some of which are – geopolitical issues, security cooperation, economic cooperation, climate change, disaster management, pandemic response, energy supply, trade and transport, maritime issues, besides many others. This Workshop is organised in partnership with the US Consulate Hyderabad. The objective of this partnership is to arrive at a revised roadmap for Indo-Pacific Regional Cooperation in the Post-Covid 19 World Order.
As a background, the Indo-Pacific is emerging as a new area of importance, driven by several strategic powers' common interests and convergences, each with its own set of influences and ambitions. The Indo-Pacific region comprises at least 38 countries that share 44% of the world surface area and 65% of the world population and account for 62% of world-GDP and 46% of the world's merchandise trade. About 60% of the world's maritime trade goes through the region, with nine out of ten busiest seaports globally. The region is also the world's most biodiverse area. It is observed that there has been geostrategic and geoeconomics shifts in the Indo-Pacific region, leading to complexities in development cooperation. There is a need to deploy a focused and holistic approach to understand the nuances of development cooperation in the Indo-Pacific. The Workshop attempted to systematically deal with this complex subject and address all three aspects of development strategy. Since equations with China with other important players in the Indo-Pacific theatre needed deeper understanding, a separate focus was attempted in this Workshop.
Overall, The Workshop had four stand-alone sessions led by some of the leading experts in India on the subject of Indo-Pacific Cooperation, security and strategy. The sessions focused on maritime policy, evolving geopolitics, security strategy and the rise of China.
The workshop proceedings started with a welcome and a theme address by DNV Kumara Guru, Director External Relations, ISB, who talked about the strong partnership with the US Consulate and touched upon the importance of discussions on the Indo-Pacific region. Sean Ruthe, Chief, Political and Economic Section, U.S. Consulate General, Hyderabad, in his special address, shared the U.S perspective of Indo-Pacific Strategy to emphasise their approach based on three pillars – Security, Governance and Economic Partnership, and that it is not in their agenda to contain China. US is keen to explore partnerships on climate Change, R&D investment, technology, and trade in the Indo-Pacific. Four stand-alone Expert Sessions followed this.