India’s Vision For Indo-Pacific

    0
    905

    In News

    • Recently, the Defence Minister of India stated that India has emerged as a regional power and net security provider in the Indo-Pacific.

    Key Points

    • India’s capacity to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to its citizens as well as regional partners has grown in recent years.
    • India has strengthened multilateral partnerships through engagement via regional mechanisms. 
      • This has improved interoperability, enabling faster response in crisis situations.
    • Climate Change and Disaster Management:
      • Asia, particularly the Indo-Pacific region, is vulnerable to the impact of climate change.
      • India’s approach, after the formulation of the National Disaster Management Policy, has shifted in its focus from a relief-centric approach to a “multi-pronged” approach, including prevention, preparedness, mitigation, response, relief and rehabilitation
    • Samanvay 2022: 
      • The multi-agency Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) exercise ‘Samanvay 2022’ was held in Agra, Uttar Pradesh.
      • It is an important exercise considering the value India holds for Indo-Pacific
      • The exercise was conducted by the Indian Air Force at the Agra Air Force Station. 
      • ASEAN nations also participated in this Exercise

    India’s Vision For Indo-Pacific

    • Term coin: 
      • While the coinage ‘Indo-Pacific’ in a geo-political sense might be of recent usage, India as an ancient maritime power is all too familiar with the transcendence of ocean boundaries; 
      • India historically reached out both to its east and west to mutual benefit. 
      • The usage, nevertheless, in a contemporary sense represents India’s widening interests. It is for us the next step beyond the Act East.
    • Population: 
      • It is estimated that the Indo-Pacific is home to 60% of the world population and 2/3rd of global economic output. 
    • Global Trade:
      • Half of the global trade transits the region and 90% of India’s own trade travels on its waters. 
      • For India, this shift in economic trajectory from the Atlantic to the Indo-Pacific is important. 
      • In fact the region’s security, stability, peace and prosperity is vital for the entire world.
    • India’s Vision: 
      • About: 
        • The vision was laid out by the Prime Minister in his speech in Singapore in 2018.
        • He had subsequently in the East Asia Summit in Thailand in 2019 enunciated the ‘Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative’ listing its seven pillars, that are:
          • Maritime security 
          • Ecology and resources; 
          • Capacity building; 
          • Disaster risk reduction and management; 
          • S&T and academic cooperation; 
          • Trade, 
          • Connectivity and maritime transport.
      • Vision: 
        • India envisages a free, open, inclusive, peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific, built on a rules based order and with sustainable and transparent infrastructure investments. 
        • It should have freedom of navigation and overflight, unimpeded lawful commerce, mutual respect for sovereignty, peaceful resolution of disputes, and equality amongst nations. 
        • It is positive, and inclusive of all nations in its geography and beyond who have a stake in it. 
        • ASEAN centrality and unity is an important element of the vision.
    • Efforts: 
      • India has sought to strengthen security and freedom of navigation in the Indo-Pacific by becoming a net security provider. 
      • It has built relations with partner countries across the region. 
      • It has provided defence training courses and deputed mobile training teams. 
      • Indian Navy’s Information Fusion Centre for the Indian Ocean region has enhanced maritime domain awareness among partner countries. 
      • Indian Ocean Naval Symposium, which brings together 35 navies of the region, contributes to deepening mutual understanding on maritime challenges and encourages a collective approach.
    • Indo-pacific Ocean’s initiative: 
      • It is an Indian initiative for safe, stable and secure maritime domain, especially the Indo-pacific ocean region.
      • The focus areas include enhancement of security, cooperation in disaster management and sustainable use of marine resources.
      • India has been in the pursuit of a rules-based international order in which countries abide by the awards of global dispute resolution mechanisms and there is a peaceful resolution of the disputes.
    • Nine-dash line: 
      • It is an imaginary, vague line which represents Chinese claims over the South China sea.
      • This line has led China into border disputes with neighbouring countries including Vietnam, Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan.
      • At the heart of the dispute is the resource-rich region surrounding Paracel and Spratly islands. China has led claims over the islands, but they are rejected by the majority of the members of the international community.

    Significance of India Ocean Region

    • Historical importance: The Indian Ocean has been one of the most important Sea Lane of Communication (SLOCs) for trade due to the faster development in the region since ancient times. The trade between the African nations, the Indian sub-continent and the East Asian countries including China kept the seas busy during early times.
    • Race for domination: After the entry of Europeans, the Indian Ocean saw a race for dominance and search for strategic bases to exploit the resources and control the trade of the region. The earliest explorers in the region were Portuguese. However, it was the British who could establish a far greater influence over the region due to their blue-water navy. After world war II, it has been the US, which has been regarded as the top power in the region due to its superior naval capacity. However, of late, the control of the Indian Ocean has been defused in an increasingly multilateral world.
    • String of Pearls: China has established multiple bases in the Indian Ocean Region as a part of its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). For e.g. recently China acquired the Djibouti base, in addition to the already existing Gwadar port, which is in the advanced stages of development. Also, there are a number of logistics bases of China in the region. For e.g. the Hambantota port in Sri Lanka, Kyakpyu port in Myanmar etc.

    Challenges

    • The region is highly heterogeneous in terms of economic size and level of development, with significant differences in security establishments and resources.
    • China is keeping a close watch at India’s engagement through strategic dialogues, military exercises and security agreements with many Indo-Pacific countries.
    • The failure to realize concrete Indo-Pacific deliverables despite an early start has underlined the need to better understand each other’s priorities and challenges in the region. For example- since the release of the AAGC, there has been very little movement on this initiative.

    Way Ahead

    • Prediction of natural disasters has to be accompanied by dissemination of information to a larger population and shifting people to safer locations, which requires an empowered machinery. 
    • As nations have different capacities, collaborative preparation to deal with disasters is required.

    Source: TH