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Conference : Challenges and Opportunities for India in the Indo-Pacific Region
Date :: 8th October 2018 at New Delhi

 Conference : Challenges and Opportunities for India in the Indo-Pacific Region
Conference : Challenges and Opportunities for India in the Indo-Pacific Region



The Institute of Social Sciences and the Centre for Vietnam Studies, New Delhi today organized a day-long conference titled “Opportunities & Challenges for India in the Indo-Pacific Region.” As we know, the Indo-Pacific region, home to nearly 3 billion people and with a combined Gross Domestic Product of nearly $20 trillion, has tremendous relevance for India in pursuit of its “Act East” policy and for forging trans-regional strategic partnerships. It has three of the four largest economies in the world i.e. China, India and Japan.

The strategic importance of the Indo-Pacific region is only bound to grow in the decades to come. However, with the rise of China, a new geo-strategic contestation is beginning to unfold at a time when global uncertainty is growing and traditional power relationships are in a flux. As outlined by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his keynote address at the Shangri-La Dialogue in 2018, “India’s vision of the Indo-Pacific region is a positive one” and is not directed against any country. India has taken several steps to protect its interests and raise its profile in the region like holding naval exercises and entering into regional partnerships and strategic dialogues with a host of countries. However, the challenges of “free, open and inclusive” Indo-Pacific region are bound to increase in the coming years.

The theme of the Opening Session was India’s Vision of the Indo-Pacific Region which was well deliberated upon by the two eminent scholars Lt-Gen (Retired) S. A. Hasnain and Dr. Gurpreet S. Khurana and was chaired by Dr. Ash Narain Roy, Director, Institute of Social Sciences (ISS), New Delhi. The session discussed how India has actively and successfully conducted multilateral diplomacy and identified the prospects and challenges of the concept of ‘Indo-Pacific’ in the larger context of things in the region.

Right after the two speakers, the Conference was graced by a Special Address delivered by the new Ambassador-Designate of Vietnam to India H.E Pham Sanh Chau who found a new middle path in the narratives of Indo-Pacific and Asia-Pacific. He coined a new term “Indo-Asia-Pacific” and said that Vietnam seeks a meaningful role in the region and is ready to partner with India to contribute towards a rules-based order. He recognised the fact that the rise of China has created tensions in the Indo-Pacific region and Vietnam seeks to balance power equations with India playing a definite role in maintaining peace, prosperity and unimpeded commerce. Answering a question addressed to him from the audience, the Ambassador said that “Vietnam is willing to participate in any initiative if its inclusive in nature and resects International law.”

The Second Session, i.e. the Working Session 1, Situation in the Korean Peninsula and Emerging Challenges saw scholars addressing the current Korean Question and pondered over the future challenges and prospects of any nuclear deal which North Korea might clinch with the US. Dr. Rajaram Panda, Lok Sabha Fellow and eminent columnist said that the current situation in the Korean Peninsula should be understood from the context that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is seeking international legitimacy and acceptance and his summit meeting with US President Donald Trump was assertion of the fact. But questions remain over any talk about De-Nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

The Working Session 2, chaired by Ambassador Rajiv Bhatia, Distinguished Fellow, Gateway House, Mumbai, was themed Stakes and Perspectives of Global and Regional Powers. Eminent speakers like Prof. Srikanth Kondapalli and Prof. Baladas Ghoshal deliberated reflected on the issue of Global Leadership and discussed the role of China and other regional powers in the region. Prof. Sanjay Kumar Pandey talked about Russia and how it is vital to the whole concept of Indo-Pacific.

The Final Working Session chaired by Prof. S.D Muni was themed Economic, Security and Maritime Dimensions. The Speakers were Vice Admiral Pradeep Chauhan (Retd), Director, National Maritime Foundation, New Delhi and Mr. Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury, Senior Assistant Editor, Economic Times, New Delhi. The session saw intense deliberations on the maritime challenges the region is facing and indentified future prospects.


* This information is sent by Dr. (Ms) Sonu Trivedi (Centre for Vietnam Studies, New Delhi) who can be contacted at sonutrivedi(AT)zh(DOT)du(DOT)ac(DOT)in
This Post is webcasted on October 09 2018

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