In Search of the Real Indo-Pacific

What’s in a name? US Defense Secretary James N. Mattis explains the geopolitical significance of the Indo-Pacific region while India’s Premier Narendra Modi downplays political significance

Global powers express renewed interest in the Indo-Pacific, and intentions are divided over strategies that could counter China or entice Chinese participation. The Indo-Pacific region dominated discussions at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, even more so than the summit between leaders of North Korea and the United States, explains Donald K. Emmerson, director of the Southeast Asia Program at Stanford University. Ministers. Delegates from more than 50 nations gathered at the security summit organized by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, June 1 to 3. Parties with an interest in the region rush to frame possibilities: India’s prime minister denied viewing the region as strategic or exclusive while the US defense secretary linked geography and ideology. Emmerson advises pragmatism. The Indo-Pacific is unlikely to rival China’s far-reaching Belt and Road Initiative, and the US already struggles with close G7 allies on supporting an international rule-based order. Emmerson concludes, “the temptation to read multilateral diplomatic content into a map of the ‘Indo-Pacific’ drawn in Washington should be resisted.” – YaleGlobal