The Indo-Pacific Zone, also known as the Indo-West Pacific or Indo-Pacific Asia, is a biogeographic region of Earth’s seas that includes the Indian Ocean’s tropical waters, the Western and Central Pacific Oceans, and the seas that connect them. Karl Haushofer, a German geopolitician, coined the phrase in 1920. However, Gurpreet Khurana was the first to utilize the phrase in current content. Since 2011, the term “Indo-Pacific” has become more popular in geopolitical discussions. The essence of this word was encapsulated in Shinzo Abe’s (then-Prime Minister of Japan) speech to the Indian Parliament in 2007, in which he referred to the confluence of the Indian and Pacific Oceans as “seas of freedom and prosperity.” Strategic analysts and high-level government/military leadership in Australia, Japan, and the United States have used the term often since roughly 2011.
With the United States’ growing involvement in Asia’s new growth sectors, the concept has gained traction. With the rising involvement of the US in the new growth areas of Asia, the idea of the Indo-Pacific economic corridor was conceptualized during the US India Strategic Dialogue of 2013. Indo-Pacific has also featured prominently in the top level US strategic documents such as National Security Strategy, the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review. In 2019, the US department published a document formalizing the concept of a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific”.
- COUNTRIES IN THE INDO-PACIFIC
The Indo-Pacific region is a geopolitical zone that encompasses two ocean basins: the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The Indo-Pacific is a 24-nation regional framework that stretches from the west coast of the United States to the west coast of India. Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Indonesia, Cambodia, India, Japan, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Singapore, and the United States are all key countries in the Indo-Pacific area.
- ASIAN PIVOT THEORY
The thesis of the Asian Pivot was developed by US think tanks. The Asian Pivot theory was aimed primarily at China in order to maintain US hegemony. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is seen as the economic arm of the theory. Experts, on the other hand, believe that striking TPP under US leadership will have far-reaching effects. In the midst of these changes, US President Donald Trump’s recent decision to reject the 12-member Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) came as a shock to the international community. The TPP’s implementation may have resulted in yearly revenue gains of $295 billion, with $78 billion in the United States alone. It might also unlock $1.9 trillion in potential advantages for the Asia-Pacific region through free trade. However, in recent months, the situation has altered. Global trade is in crisis, with growth slowing and protectionism on the rise as governments turn to greater non-tariff barriers, regulatory measures, and stricter standards, among other things.
Similarly, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), a coalition of 21 Pacific Rim countries, seeks to promote regional free trade. The major goal of APEC is to tap into emerging countries’ potential while also taking advantage of developed countries’ progress in numerous fields. The increasing interdependence of these countries strives to ensure free trade and a strong economic collaboration among the members.
- DIFFERENT SUPRANATIONAL ORGANISATION
South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Indian-Ocean Rim Association (IORA), Mekong Ganga Cooperation (MGC), and Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation are some other supranational organizations where India has taken the lead in fostering regional cooperation (BIMSTEC),
The fundamental disadvantage of all of these organizations, however, is that their member countries have competing interests in other organizations. Furthermore, these organizations’ goals have been wrecked due to a lack of capable leadership. SAARC has been less effective as a result of India’s negative perception by other smaller countries and Pakistan’s obstructionist attitude. IORA, promoting open regionalism for strengthening economic cooperation and social development, is similarly only partially successful due to its diffused objectives.
- US Backing the Littoral States Over South China Sea
The conflict in the South China Sea is the manifestation of cartographic expansion of China. The littoral states of the region have staked claim over islands rich in mineral resources in the South China sea China with its superior naval power have been able to brow-beat the neighboring countries. However, US has backed the littoral states indirectly and has supported their claims over the islands, similarly, the theory of String of Pearls given by experts has been an irritant for India. Based on the theory of String of Pearls China has been surrounding India by developing infrastructure in its surrounding ports in Gwadar (Pakistan), Humbantota (Sri Lanka), Sittwe (Myanmar). These are the manifestation of String of Pearls theory. Some areas of South-East Asia are infested with drug trafficking and human trafficking countries like, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, etc. are the hub of such crimes. This creates law and order and security issues in these areas.
- 2020 Indo-Australian Agreement
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison held a virtual summit on June 4, 2020, to strengthen their bilateral partnership. They signed nine pacts during this virtual summit, including one to elevate their relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership for greater and deeper cooperation in a variety of areas, from trade to defense. The united proclamation on a shared vision was one of the summit’s primary features.
For the Indo-Pacific region’s maritime cooperation. In order to strengthen security ties between the four nations, India is considering including Australia in yearly naval drills it holds with the United States and Japan in the Indo-Pacific Zone.
The long-awaited agreement on military logistics sharing will significantly boost cooperation and give Indian warships and aircraft greater reach in the Pacific. The agreed vision for maritime cooperation sent a subtle but unambiguous message to Beijing about future requirements for ready operations. As a result, proper cooperation and crackdowns on these cartels are required for the development of this region in order to make the Indo-Pacific zone the Europe of the twentieth century.
The focus of the countries of the Indo-Pacific region is on connectivity, enhancing maritime security, counter terrorism, non-proliferation and cyber issues. All nations of the Indo-Pacific region always affirmed a shared commitment to maintain and strengthen a rule-based order in the Indo-Pacific in which all nations are sovereign, strong and prosperous.