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Indo-Pacific Wing in MEA

  • 15 Apr 2019
  • 3 min read

India has set up an Indo-Pacific division in the Ministry of External Affairs.

  • The new division is intended to give a coherent architecture to the policy, which was articulated by the prime minister at the Shangri-La Dialogue in 2018.

Highlights of PM Narendra Modi's address at Shangri-La

  • By projecting an equivalence in ties with the US, Russia, and China – India reaffirmed its principle of strategic autonomy and cautioned against the return of the ‘great power rivalries’.
  • India’s Indo-Pacific strategy is not aimed at China’s containment.
  • India sees the Indo-Pacific as primarily a geographic domain — a “natural region”.
  • The Indo-pacific region is ultimately multi-polar, hence rejecting or contesting the idea that either China or the United States could be the one regional hegemonic power.
  • India is indispensable to the security of the Indian Ocean.
  • Signified the interconnectedness of the Indian and Pacific Oceans and the importance of the oceans to security and commerce.

Importance of Separate Division

  • MEA’s territorial divisions are crucial for policy making, so the creation of an Indo-Pacific division is a big step by the government.
  • The division will integrate the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), ASEAN region and the Quad.
  • India is planning to put greater energy to the IORA because the core of its Indo-Pacific policy is rooted in the Indian Ocean.
  • The US also recently renamed its Pacific Command to the Indo-Pacific Command as it seeks to give significance to its Indo-Pacific policy.

Shangri-La Dialogue

  • The Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD) is an intergovernmental security forum held annually by an independent think tank, the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Singapore.
  • The Shangri-La Dialogue has evolved into a key strategic gathering of the Asia-Pacific region.
  • It is attended by defense ministers, permanent heads of ministries and military chiefs of Asia-Pacific states.

Indian Ocean Rim Association

  • The Indian Ocean Rim Association is an inter-governmental organization which was established on 7 March 1997.
  • IORA has 21 Member States, mainly littoral Indian Ocean states, and 7 other states as Dialogue Partners.

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