The Indo-Pacific and its strategic challenges (2019)
an Australian perspective
in: Trends in Southeast Asia, 2019 no. 4
The shift in the framework of Australia's strategic thinking from the Asia-Pacific to the Indo-Pacific reflects the primary focus on the maritime environment in the coming decades and the expectation that over time India will become more embedded in the strategic dynamics of the Asia-Pacific. India is in the midst of a major geopolitical repositioning, as it pursues a hard-headed national interests-based policy and builds stronger strategic ties with a wide range of countries including the United States and its allies in the region. The region is entering a potentially dangerous phase in U.S.-China relations. China's rise needs to be managed not frustrated; balanced not contained. Constructing that balance and anchoring China in a new multi-polar strategic equilibrium in the Indo-Pacific is the big challenge of our time. More and more individual Southeast Asian countries are being pulled into China's orbit: not with enthusiasm or conviction but because they see that the economic cost of opposing China's agenda is too high. The United States is so far doing little to change this.