Southeast Asia

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  • Vineet Ravindran asked: What is India's role in the development of Agalega and Sabang? How does it fit into India's maritime strategy?

    Abhay Kumar Singh replies: As one of the most prominent resident naval powers in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), India’s role has been critical to maintaining peace and security in the IOR. While strategic stability in the Indian Ocean matters for all nations, India has a vital stake in the evolution of a stable maritime order in the IOR. India has been conscious of its regional obligations and progressively has shown a willingness to become a ‘preferred security partner’ for the regional countries.

    Jyoti Kataria asked: What are the reasons behind below potential trade between India and Vietnam?

    Udai Bhanu Singh replies: Vietnam is a pillar of India’s Act East Policy. The relations between the two countries were upgraded to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in 2016. The economic reform trajectory in Vietnam and India in recent times has not been dissimilar. Vietnam introduced its Doi Moi reforms in 1986 whereas India liberalised its economy in the early 1990s (accompanied by its Look East Policy, later rechristened Act East Policy).

    Vineet Ravindran asked: What is the China–Solomon Islands agreement? How does it benefit China when the Solomon Islands has denied any future Chinese military base?

    Abhay Kumar Singh replies: China’s growing influence in the South Pacific was thrust into the limelight when word leaked in March 2022 that it has negotiated a secret security agreement with the Solomon Islands, a country with which it established diplomatic ties only in 2019. Despite fervent parley by Australia and the US against this security agreement, the leader of the Solomon Islands formally announced the conclusion of this security agreement with China.

    Quad’s Maritime Domain Awareness Initiative Needs Time to Deliver

    The Indo-Pacific Maritime Domain Awareness (IPMDA) Initiative aims to enhance regional maritime security via technology and training support.

    June 24, 2022

    Anmol Anand asked: Why does India focus on ASEAN Centrality in its Indo-Pacific strategy? What are the challenges involved in it?

    Udai Bhanu Singh replies: ASEAN Centrality means that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) must be in the driver’s seat and be responsible for formulating a common vision and implementing it. New Delhi has consistently maintained its support for ASEAN Centrality. India’s Indo-Pacific strategy works in tandem with its Act East Policy, with ASEAN Centrality as its basis.

    India–United States Maritime Collaboration

    Ensuring maritime security and freedom of navigation in the Indian Ocean and the wider Indo-Pacific region is key security imperative and one of the key objectives of India’s engagement with the US and other partners.

    April 08, 2022

    Indian Foreign Secretary’s Visit to Myanmar

    Given Myanmar’s geostrategic significance and the continuing insurgency threat, disturbances in Myanmar pose a direct and serious policy challenge to India. A calculated realistic approach weighing the evolving ground situation alone will deliver the objectives of India’s foreign policy.

    January 24, 2022

    China’s Inconsequential Bid to Sign Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone Treaty

    Showing readiness to sign the SEANWFZ treaty seems to be a low-cost, high-return proposition for Beijing. It could be a calculated symbolic gesture having no bearing on the region’s precarious security situation.

    December 09, 2021

    Vishnu Subramanian asked: What are the key challenges facing the East Asia Summit and what are its future prospects?

    Raviprasad Narayanan replies: There are several key challenges facing the East Asia Summit (EAS):

    First, EAS is beholden to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as progenitor of this regional forum. Mahathir Mohamad, current Prime Minister of Malaysia, is considered to be behind the idea of EAS. The inclusion of the United States and Russia was designed to accommodate two belligerents in the past, currently with a suspicious outlook vis-à-vis each other.

    Prasad MC asked: What are the implications of China’s attempts at cultural appropriation in South and Southeast Asia?

    Parama Sinha Palit replies: Given the definition of the term ‘cultural appropriation’ as the “adoption of elements of a minority culture by members of the dominant culture”, I don’t think it can be applied in China’s case with respect to these two regions. It is more an attempt to influence culturally with an eye to fashion a diplomacy which is both benign and tactical.

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