In his book, ‘India and Asian Geopolitics: The Past, Present’, Shivshankar Menon traces the evolution of Indian foreign policy as a response to Asia’s changing geopolitical landscape, steered significantly by a rising China.
The balance of power in the Asia Pacific is undeniably shifting as a result of the growing power and influence of China, the rise of other middle powers, and the prospect of Western retrenchment.
While New Delhi and Tokyo have identified regional cooperation across the Indo-Pacific as a major objective of their bilateral partnership, cooperation with ASEAN remains at the heart of their Indo-Pacific approach.
The first summit between Trump and Kim enhanced Singapore’s reputation as Asia’s emerging diplomatic centre. For Hanoi, the second summit is a big opportunity to showcase Vietnam’s dramatic economic transformation in recent years.
China’s rising profile in the Andaman Sea is not limited to building strategic infrastructure like the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor and the Kra Canal that allow Beijing reduce its current dependence on the Malacca Straits and access the Indian Ocean directly. Its military profile too is rising.
Major waterways in South Asia are at risk of overuse, but India and its neighbors face an uphill battle to broaden multilateral cooperation in response.
Securing the eastern Indian Ocean in partnership with Southeast Asian littorals like Singapore, Indonesia, and Thailand could be one of the important near-term Indian contributions to peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trip to Singapore focuses on three increasingly interconnected themes—the strategic, economic, and technological.
If the idea of Asia drew New Delhi and Jakarta close in the 1950s, it might well be the Indo-Pacific that will provide the framework for long overdue strategic re-engagement.
The establishment of a Kra Canal in Thailand may soon become a reality as part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The canal would permit ships to bypass the Malacca Strait, a crucial maritime chokepoint, amplifying the strategic significance of the project.