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Geopolitics of the Indo-Pacific, A Preview

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Geopolitics of the Indo-Pacific, A Preview
     2 The Geopolitics of the Indo-Pacific Pradeep Kaushiva Abhijit Singh Feb 2014 Knowledge World, New Delhi 9789383649099 | HardBack 138 + xx pp | 2014  3 Index Preface i Foreword iv Section I  –    The Strategic Meta-narrative 1. An Evolving Geostrategic Realm Sureesh Mehta 2. Emerging Regional Geopolitics  Timothy Hoyt 3. Historical Evolution and Security Debates  Raja K Menon Section II  –    The Rebalance: Regional Perspectives  4. An Indian Vantage point  HK Singh 5. Australia’s Indo -Pacific Imperative  Justin Jones 6. Mapping the Maritime ‘Pivot’  Abhijit Singh Section III  –    Conflict and Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific  7. Maritime Disputes in the Asia-Pacific  –   A Chinese Perspective  Hong Nong 8. Japan’s South China Sea Conundrum Tomoko Kiyota 9. A View from Philippines Caesar Taccad, Philippines Navy 10. A Model of Collaborative Security Yuki Sekugichi  4 11. An Africa Perspective of Maritime Collaboration  Hanno Tuteberg Section IV- Geopolitical Challenges and Non-traditional Challenges  12. The Three ‘Geos’   Cleo Pascal 13. Non-Traditional Security Challenges Vijay Sakhuja 14. Piracy and Private Security  Ibrahim Hilmy 15. A Regional Framework for the Indian Ocean Vikas Ranjan  5 Preface In a world undergoing dynamic transformation, few regions are changing more rapidly than the integrated Indian Ocean-Pacific Ocean region. Over the last about a decade, there have been two important developments that have altered the world’s economic and strategic balance. First, the “Indo - Pacific” has replaced the Atlantic–  Pacific combine, as the new financial and strategic centre of gravity. Second, the rise of local maritime powers has resulted in the presence of alternate ‘power  - hubs’ within the broader Asia-Pacific region. As traditional naval powers like the US and UK have reduced their maritime presence in the Indo-Pacific, growing naval powers like China and India, have rushed to fill the strategic vacuum. Driven by impressive growth rates, the two Asian giants have steadily improved their maritime power, reflected most prominently in the growth of their maritime shipping, port development and the rapid expansion of naval power. Their interests and security role has come to form a critical component of stability in the Indo-Pacific. The security of the Indo-Pacific, however, goes beyond a mere consideration of emerging  political equations and great-power interplay. Recent developments in the region have shown that maritime security challenges in the region straddle the gamut of traditional and non-traditional issues. These include the scourge of piracy and armed robbery in the Western Indian Ocean and the Malacca Straits; a simmering maritime conflict in the Persian Gulf; terrorism in South and Southeast Asia; drugs, arms and human trafficking; and territorial disputes in the South China Sea and the East Sea. Yet, it is still the Persian Gulf - t he world’s mos t important source of crude oil  –   combined with Northern Indian Ocean SLOCs, the Malacca Straits and the Pacific ’s sea-lanes which attract the bulk of the security effort. While the Indo- Pacific’s  centrality to oil trade renders its stability critical, the looming threat of maritime crime and environmental crises in the region make it an area of vital concern for maritime forces. Even as trends with worrisome security implications continue to evolve in the region, there is a distinct possible that the maritime challenges could prevail over the international and regional community’s ability to effectively respond in a sustained and effective manner. Addressing the ‘Regional Flux’   Since it plays a key role in facilitating trade and oil flows, the Indo-Pacific is the principal theatre of geo-strategic competition between established and emerging powers. However, the sharply divergent interests of regional and extra-regional states  –   their contradictory strategic imperatives; the vast economic disparities and a myriad mix of cultural preferences in the region,  present a unique challenge for security forces. The most significant maritime policy initiatives within the Asia- Pacific seem to have been taken by the US. Washington’s  Defence Strategic Review of Jan 2012 sought to address the strategic flux in the region by committing a bulk of American military assets to the region. To inject substance into its policy, the US has announced a ‘strategic pivot’    –   the subject of much discussion and debate among policy makers and
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