India and the emerging Indo-Pacific strategic arc

International relations Defence Australia Pacific Area

This paper highlights the growing discussion of the concept of the “Indo-Pacific”, a strategic arc that aims to bind the Indian Ocean to the western Pacific Ocean as one single entity. This would provide an effective structure for a security system, which could protect the maritime and strategic interests of the countries holding high stakes in the region. The concept has generated debates in India which have illustrated the differences of opinion among the experts and analysts in the field.

The aim of the paper is to analyse the importance of such a system, whether it should exist and India’s perceived role in it. It also makes some recommendations based on the analysis. The paper explores some possibilities that could assist in finding a smoother, option for the pursuit and achievement of an “Indo-Pacific” strategic system.

Key findings:

  • The concept of an “Indo-Pacific” system – a strategic arc – is not new, but it is still developing. Linking the Indian Ocean with the western Pacific Ocean as a single entity will help to create a more effective and truly regional security structure.
  • India’s role thus becomes much more prominent and, hence, its long-term vision should be to either modify or revise the “Look East Policy”.
  • India and Australia could take leading roles in helping to secure this emerging strategic system.
  • The Indo-Pacific is a critical part of the global commons. It is thus in the interests of all countries with a stake in the region that China, too, should be integrated into it and made an integral part of the emerging Indo-Pacific strategic system.
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