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Indo-Pacific Region


The rise of the Indo-Pacific as a new geographic space—uniting the Indian and Pacific Oceans—represents the twenty-first century's new geopolitical reality. Throughout history, the maritime domain has been a critical location for the establishment of new and emerging powers that have shaped regional dynamics and the broader security architecture. Today's great power rivalry is no different. As India and Australia have acknowledged, "many of the future issues are expected to originate in and emanate from the maritime domain," highlighting the maritime domain's resurgence as a theatre of geopolitical confrontation.

Geospatial Significance

Strategically, the Indo-Pacific has been viewed as a continuous region spanning two oceans and connected by the straits of Malacca, its primary commercial channel. Two fundamental considerations account for the emergence of an Indo-Pacific strategic imagination. The first is China's expanding influence across the length and breadth of the region, China's growth across the Indian and Pacific Oceans puts at risk the security umbrella. And the second is the US alliance system's relative collapse and rebirth.

In terms of geospatial, the Indo-Pacific can be broadly defined as the region between the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Its extent is debated to extend from the eastern beaches of Africa to the western coast of the United States, with definitions varying according to each actor's geographic location within the wide area. In a more functional sense, the connectivity and interdependence of the two oceans are a result of the expanding forces of globalisation, trade, and changing equations between diverse actors, which have eroded ancient boundaries and paved the way for new opportunities and challenges as well. The increasing movement of people across oceans has aided in the formulation of an integrated approach. Given its location along the world's most vital maritime lanes, the world's most populous nations fuelling high energy demands on its rims, and a stretch encompassing the world's greatest global commons, the Indo-Pacific is considered to be the political and economic core of the globe.


The Indo Pacific area is gaining significance as globalisation has boosted interconnectedness across the globe, intertwining not only economies but also politics. This region is strategically important in terms of security and trade. In the current setting of China's ascent, power-hungry states attempt to wield influence over the region while simultaneously forming partnerships.

Countries such as Australia, Japan, and the United States view India's involvement in the Indo-Pacific as critical. Despite New Delhi's presence in the Indian Ocean, maritime security has remained outside India's strategic interests, concerns, and thinking as a result of the continent's vulnerabilities. Thus, the Indo-Pacific represents a new area for India's foreign policy activities, indicating a shift in New Delhi's strategic environment—from challenges confined to its continental borders to those confined to its marine region.


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