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Why the 'Indo-Pacific'?

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Yasuko Hiraoka Myer (YHM) Room

Level 1, Sidney Myer Asia Centre

761 Swanston Street

Melbourne, Victoria

Australia

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Once confined to academic foreign policy discussions, the term ‘Indo-Pacific’ has gained widespread political and public acceptance in recent years.

Australia’s 2013 Defence White Paper heralded the emergence of “a new Indo-Pacific strategic arc”, with the term ‘Indo-Pacific’ subsequently replacing ‘Asia-Pacific in official discourse.

Fast forward to June 2017 and a joint statement by US President Donald Trump and Indian PM Narendra Modi to “promot[e] stability across the Indo-Pacific” propelled the concept into the mainstream public conscience.

A few months later, President Trump rolled out his Indo-Pacific strategy during a landmark foreign policy address in Vietnam. Shortly after, the United States renamed its 375,000-strong US Pacific Command the ‘US Indo-Pacific Command’.

Similar moves seem to be afoot among India’s elite. PM Modi employed “Indo-Pacific” no less than 11 times when addressing the Shangri La Dialogue in Singapore last June, tying it closely to his government’s Act East Policy.

This Question Marks Seminar will ask why the India-Pacific has emerged as a key region.

What is behind the rise in prominence of this term? What actors are pushing it? Does it have a clear and agreed upon meaning? Has it replaced the ‘Asia-Pacific’ and, if so, why?

This is event is brought to you in partnership with La Trobe Asia.


About the speakers...

Nick Bisley is the head of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and Professor of International Relations. His research and teaching expertise is in Asia's international relations, great power politics and Australian foreign and defence policy. Nick recently completed his tenure as the Editor-in-Chief of The Australian Journal of International Affairs, the country's oldest scholarly journal in the field of International Relations. Nick is a member of the advisory board of China Matters, and a member of the Council for Security and Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific. He has been a Senior Research Associate of the International Institute of Strategic Studies and a Visiting Fellow at the East West-Center in Washington DC.

Priya Chacko is a Senior Lecturer in International Politics in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Adelaide and an Academic Fellow of the Australia-India Institute. Her current research projects focus on the intersection of populism, neoliberalism and nationalism in India and the political economy of foreign policy with a focus on India and the Indo-Pacific region. She is President of the South Asian Studies Association of Australia and Co-Editor-in-Chief of the journal Contemporary Politics.

Abhijit Singh is a former Indian naval officer and Senior Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation, where he heads the Maritime Policy Initiative. A maritime professional with specialist and command experience in front-line Indian naval ships, he has been involved the writing of India's maritime strategy (2007). He is a keen commentator on maritime matters and has written extensively on security and governance issues in the Indian Ocean and Pacific littorals. His articles and commentaries have been published in the Asian Bureau for Asian Research (NBR), the Lowy Interpreter, the World Politics Review, the Diplomat and CSIS Pacific Forum.


Moderated by...

Alexander E Davis is a ‘New Generation Network’ postdoctoral research fellow with the Australia India Institute and La Trobe University. He holds a PhD on Indian foreign policy from the University of Adelaide. His new book is titled India and the Anglosphere: Race, Identity and Hierarchy in International Relations (Routledge, 2019). He has recently published in India Review, Commonwealth and Comparative Politics, The Asian Journal of Political Science and Millennium: Journal of International Studies. His current research focuses on India’s borderlands and its foreign policy, particularly the Himalaya and the Indian Ocean.


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Yasuko Hiraoka Myer (YHM) Room

Level 1, Sidney Myer Asia Centre

761 Swanston Street

Melbourne, Victoria

Australia

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