Free and open Indo-Pacific


international cooperation

rule of law

freedom of the seas

track 1.5 diplomacy

Until not long ago, scholars and policy makers alike repeatedly failed to correctly grasp the geopolitical importance of a region that is arguably shaping the global economy and the world order. And while all agreed on the fact that we were entering an “Asian century”, many still failed to transcend the conservative way we still looked at geopolitics, i.e. dividing the world in geographical or political regions. Hence for too many years the focus was wrongly attached to regions, such as the “Asia-Pacific”, that were abruptly separated by its neighbours. However, acknowledging the significance of regional influence over regional proximity, countries like Australia, India, and Indonesia were farsighted enough to address their region of immediate interest as “Indo-Pacific”. In terms of geo-spatiality, the Indo-Pacific is broadly to be understood as an interconnected space between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. In a more functional understanding, the interconnectedness and the interdependence of the two oceans is a product of growing forces of globalisation, trade and changing equations between various regions of the world. Given that it contains the world’s most crucial sea routes, the world’s most populous nations fuelling high energy demands on its rims and a stretch encapsulating finest global commons, the Indo- Pacific is adjudged to be the centre of the globe in terms of politics and economics. Although all parties claim that the approach to the Indo-Pacific is one of cooperation and not of confrontation, it is undeniable how intense geopolitical competition is increasing tensions on trade and supply chains, as well as in technological, political and security areas. This research also argues how the element of non-proximity is of fundamental significance in securing the position of top strategic partners to the Indo-Pacific, giving the European Union and Japan two very special seats at the table.