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India and the Free and Open Indo-Pacific: Present complexities and future prospects

Ships of the US, India and Japan in the Bay of Bengal during exercise Malabar 2017 [US Navy]

JOURNAL /  Shahana Thankachan

[Document of 6 pages. Download PDF]

INTRODUCTION

There can be no objective and singular definition of the Indo-Pacific, one can only provide an Indian definition, a Japanese definition, a US definition, an ASEAN definition, etc. This is not to say that there are no common grounds in these definitions, there are as many commonalities as there are differences, and this is what makes this topic so hot and dynamic. The geopolitical reality of the Indo-Pacific perfectly represents a great power rivalry at the systemic level and also a perfect regional security complex. In this complex matrix, this paper will seek to focus on the Indo-Pacific from the perspective of India. While the term “Indo” in the Indo-Pacific does not mean India, it does refer to the Indian Ocean and India is the most important power in the Indian Ocean. Therefore, it is very important to fully understand the Indian perspective. The paper will begin by outlining the origin of the concept and thereafter the challenges in the Indian approach to the Indo-Pacific and the future prospects.

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