Indo-Pacific has become the strategic lake in the world of geopolitics. The recent published US Indo-Pacific strategy highlighted pivotal points from countering Chinese cry in the region to leveraging India. The document’s tempered tone indicates a new reality: China is a power to contend with, and nobody else is likely to take up cudgels against it. New Delhi finds a prominent place in the strategy’s focus on Washington’s network of allies and partners across the Indo-Pacific. The article finds the comprehensiveness of the Prime axis i.e India and United States in Indo-Pacific.
The Indo-Pacific region has emerged as a new pivot point in the present global order. The Indo- Pacific counts from the tropical water of the Indian ocean to the eastern side of the Pacific sea. Though the Circumference has its geographical and economical values but with the recent aggressiveness of PRC (China) has highlighted its strategic values.Indo-Pacific democracies like Australia, Indonesia and India or even smaller countries want to see this region freehand, open connected and resilient.
Importance of the region
Economically, the Indo-Pacific is a focal point of worldwide exchange and business, and hence a possible area of financial flourishing for the nations in the locale. It represents 65% of the total populace, 63% of the world’s GDP, and 46 percent of the world’s product trade. The locale likewise rules 50% of the world’s oceanic trade. Additionally, the Indo-Pacific is home to probably the most different worldwide centre of the world, making extraordinary power competition over admittance to such assets an expected flashpoint in the region.
The Indo-Pacific has arisen as a conspicuous geostrategic scene as of late, particularly considering China’s developing presence in the locale. The locale has seen the multiplication of multilateral and minilateral stages for collaboration and discourse among different partners, like the Quadrilateral security exchange (Quad) of India, the US, Australia, and Japan; the India-Australia-Japan and the India-Indonesia-Australia trilaterals; and the recently made AUKUS, a collusion of Australia, the UK, and the US. While these gatherings focus on essential security worries in the district, they additionally can possibly extend their participation to areas like the economy and wellbeing security.
The countries in Indo-Pacific have been the victim of various Natural and anthropogenic disasters. There is huge need of collective rehabilitation and management in the regional level to at least minimise the losses. The necessity to expand the scope of environmental governance to include risk mitigation or rehabilitation measures in response to disasters like oil spills or chemical leaks into the high seas has been brought to light by several occurrences over the previous two years. These variables not only pose a major risk to environmental security due to the decline in underwater life quality and other ecosystem services they sustain, but they are also essential to many different economic sectors in the region, including the luxury travel sector in the Maldives. International legal criteria are a good place to start in order to guarantee the collective sustainable use of the high seas. The International Maritime Organisations (IMO) implemented regulatory restrictions on the amount of sulphur in ship fuels in 2020, requiring international stakeholders.
Why US Concerns
US considers itself as an indo-pacific power.US want to maintain its hegemony in the region recent chinese aggressiveness in the region is putting america to recollrabate its ally in the region. The Indo-Pacific region is crucial to the security and prosperity of the United States, as has long been understood. Our relationships were established two centuries ago when Americans travelled to the area in search of business opportunities, and they deepened once Asian immigrants started coming to the US. The Second World War served as a reminder to the United States that only by having a secure Asia could we have a safe nation. As a result, during the post-World War II era, the United States strengthened its ties with the region by entering into binding treaty alliances with Thailand, Australia, Japan, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea (ROK), and Australia. These agreements laid the groundwork for regional security that allowed democracies to flourish. As the United States sponsored the leading institutions in the area, notably the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), those connections deepened.
The growing chinese strategic clout in the region is also the matter of concerns for the autonomy and trade of the smaller countries in the region. China is the personality of complain boy of the class who has problem with every his classmates. Beijing has recently ignored the South China Sea territorial claims made by its neighbours, creating improvised islands and establishing no-fly zones all throughout the region. Although some of China’s claims have been contested in international courts, Beijing has disregarded any decision that didn’t support its position. Consistently expressing its disdain was the Obama administration. America wants to maintain “integrated deterrence”. It will form the cornerstone of the US security plan for the region which will reinforce deterrence and counter coercion
In february 2022, US introduced its New declassified strategy document for the Indo-Pacific.The document underscores the “strategic necessity” of the American role in the region as the Indo-Pacific is vital to our security and prosperity.
A fact check on the strategy said that the administration‘s vision is to more firmly anchor the United States in the Indo-Pacific and strengthen the region in the process. The strategy draws the United States’ attention on the number of significant challenges that he Indo-Pacific region is faced with, partly those posed by the PRC. The United States will prioritize five goals in the Indo-Pacific region—each in conjunction with its allies, partners, and regional institutions. It will work to advance free and open Indo-Pacific trade and cooperation, build connections within and beyond the region, drive regional prosperity, and bolster regional security.
The US will continue to develop a strategic partnership in which the United States and India cooperate with one another and through multilateral organisations to develop stability in South Asia, deepen its economic and technological cooperation, and contribute to a free and open Indo-Pacific. It will also work cooperatively in different innovations like health, space, and cyberspace. It acknowledges that India is a leader in South Asia and the Indian Ocean, an active participant in and connected to Southeast Asia, a driving force behind the Quad and other regional fora, and a direct cause for regional success and development.
This biden document is third of its kind, following similar document from the obama and the trump administration. The strategies are hardly new. Policies set out in the document have continuity with previous administration’s strategies. These includes a focus on challenges from China, advancing the US relationship, a major defensive partnership with India and supporting its role as a net security provider in the region. There is an emphasis on working with other countries not just from the region but also from the beyond. US sees Indo-Pacific that is free open ,connected and resilient. The mains goals of the Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS) are the following: ensuring unimpeded commerce, creation of a free and open order in Indo-Pacific and most importantly, counter the aggressive behaviour of China. The document finds India is the prime ally in the region. Emphasizing the importance of India, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of East and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritnbrik and Donald lu Said that “India is more than just a partner.We work more closely with india on daily basis than any country in the region”.
US continues to support India’s rise and regional leadership. US wants to explore more drivers to work with India bilaterally and through groups on the ranges of the issues. US referred India as a “like-minded partner” and “driving force” in the QUAD. China’s actions along the line of Actual Control has had a galvanizing impact on India and US alignment.
In january 2015, New-Delhi and Washington recognized the growing importance of the maritime domain and issued a joint vision for the Asia-Pacific & the Indian Ocean region. The events of the Indo-Pacific provide with India an opportunity to maximize its strategic interest while responding to changes in the security environment. For the effective and realistic collaborations to take place, there is need to acknowledge and recognize the difference in priorities, threats and regional dynamics for each of the Indo-Pacific partners.
The United States and India have been on a path of increasing convergence on their strategies vis-à-vis the Indo-Pacific region over the last 20 years, spanning three administrations across both political parties. The Biden administration will become the fourth administration to continue this path of convergence. As the United States and India look to open a new chapter in their bilateral cooperation in this region, they will need to grapple with serious differences of opinion that will shape not just the trajectory of this deepening partnership, but the wider region as well. India finds a good role in the IPS. US envisages to continue to build a strategic partnership in which the United States and India work together in regional groupings to promote stability in South Asia.
[Photo by the White House]
Gaurav Kumar is an M.A. in International Relations And Area Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India.