- ISSUE BRIEFS AND SPECIAL REPORTS
- FEB 15 2021
The UK Shifts to the Indo-Pacific: An Opportunity for India-UK Ties
- HARSH V. PANT
- TOM MILFORD
When the United Kingdom (UK) releases the highly anticipated integrated review of its foreign, defence, security and development policy in March, it will mark the first formal iteration of the UK’s Indo-Pacific strategy. This brief explores the dynamics that are driving the UK’s tilt to the Indo-Pacific. It identifies three key drivers that are prompting the shift: a reappraisal of China, the economic fallout of Brexit, and the UK’s close ties with the US. It explores the emerging trends in this churn—across security, trade, development, and diplomatic domains—and highlights the opportunities they afford the India-UK relationship.
Attribution: Harsh V Pant and Tom Milford, The UK Shifts to the Indo-Pacific: An Opportunity for India-UK Ties,” ORF Issue Brief No. 444, February 2021, Observer Research Foundation.
The ‘Indo-Pacific’ concept is a recognition that the Indian and Pacific Ocean regions are intertwined and should be treated as one strategic space. Its very idea is an affirmation that because of how globalisation works, regional issues—from climate change to piracy—require regional cooperation. For example, it was the need for massive disaster relief following the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami in 2004 that was the genesis of the Quadrilateral initiative (of India, Japan, the US and Australia—or Quad). On what is perhaps a deeper level, the ‘Indo-Pacific’ idea is a recognition that the Indo-Pacific is the defining geopolitical theatre of the century: it is not only home to the fastest growing economies and military powers in the world, but it is also littered with land and maritime disputes that will require careful management to maintain stability.
To be sure, there is no consensus around the geographic scope of the Indo-Pacific. Some define it as the entire region that stretches from the eastern shores of Africa to the western coast of the US; others view it as beginning from India, and eastwards. Drawing the precise geographic borderlines, however, becomes less important when regarding the Indo-Pacific as, foremost, a geostrategic concept. As states conceptualise their geostrategic imperatives and weigh the threats they face, the geographic contours of the Indo-Pacific will only continue to evolve.Tiếp tục đọc “The UK Shifts to the Indo-Pacific: An Opportunity for India-UK Ties”