Evolving Geopolitical And Geostrategic Equation In Indo-Pacific Region: Impact On World Peace

Since the beginning of 21st Century Indo-Pacific region has emerged as a region of further
economic growth, trade, commerce, new geo-political geo-strategic and geo-economic
equations. From South China Sea to Mediterranean Sea all most – all nations big
or small are facing some form of conflict resulting in enlarge zonal/regional rivalries
and conflict. Alongside Arabian Sea, Red Sea the emergence of “Arab-Spring and
the recent events added entirely new dimensions to internal and international conflicts,
change of ruling regime in various nation states : totally instigated, supported
sustained and even militarily intervened by outside powers who wish to change the
ruling regime of any nation to suit and enlarge their so called national interests, No
nation can remain untouched from the new emerging philosophy of world governance
and emerging world order.
In the 21st Century due to the new philosophy and concepts of War, Interventions
geographical boundaries are increasingly losing credence and relevance. Economic
linkages are resulting into myriad – social, political, religious, cultural and psychological
interference. The Indian Ocean Region (IOR) is now redefined as Indo-Pacific Region, due to the so called Strategic and Economic interests of some nations
resulting in Zone / Region of conflict. Therefore, when we now discuss and analyze
evolving geo-political and geo-strategic equations which are changing the geo-economic
power equation it will be prudent to include Mediterranean Sea theatre, Gulf
of Suez, Persian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden to Straits of Malacca,
Indonesian Water and even South China Sea as a region of Strategic interests to
entire world due to global implications and economic interests. Existing vast and
strategic expanse will get extended further because of Social, Cultural, ideological,
economic, trade and industrial interest which collectively can be termed as geo-political
and geo-strategic interest. It also must be considered that in the 21st Century
due to increasing connectivity, inter dependence and interoperability an extended
IOR and Asia-Pacific Region is a home to approximate four billion people and accounts
for 62% of GDP. By 2030, the world’s leading economics are likely to be in
this region and balancing pivot. The new emerging environment and realty calls for
a reorientation of mindset regarding area of interest, area of dominance and area of
influence, strategic dimensions combined with influence extent of sustainable and lasting outreach.
There are as many as 46 countries on the periphery of Indo-Pacific Region.
Majority of them are glued to religious and ideological leanings and attachment.
Most of the nations have yet to achieve a reasonable standard of living and
sustenance, economic growth, internal peace and stability. The Oil bonanza which
descended on some of the Gulf countries and North Africa region created another
dimension of financial and ideological support to fundamentalism, Radicalization
and terrorism. It also ignited the hunger and fueled the greed towards weapons and
mechanism of mass destruction and disruption of masses, displacement of masses
and refugee problem. Most of these countries have got involved are sucked into
inter-state and intra-state conflicts which have adversely impacted security environment
the world over. Many countries are facing land boundary and maritime
disputes.
The strategic assets, economic, industrial, financial, nuclear assets of majority of
nations are located along sea cost. Despite this fact and reality these is lack of understanding and unity of approach in Indo-Pacific region for collective
Security. If we wish to excel as a stable, peaceful, and progressive region we must
accept that “IOR at Pacific Regions” destiny will be a world’s shared destiny. This will
require greater regional cooperation, connectivity of minds, thoughts, actions and
age old philosophy of human survival “Share and Care”. In this regard “Sagar Discourse”
annual dialogue being organized by Forum for Integrated National Security
(FINS) is step in right – direction to engage meaningfully not only with Indian Ocean
Region but also with Asia Pacific Region. Towards West India wish to engage with
Oman, Yemen, Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, South Africa, Malagasy,
Mauritius, Iran, Persian Gulf of Arab Region, Afghanistan and Central Asian
Region.
The forces of instability and destruction are active in Asia-Pacific Region due to interest
and encouragement of few major powers. India has the potential and ability
to act as deference and support diplomacy and geo-politics. In the 21stCentury
conventional diplomacy and geo politics is being and will continue to be supported
by armed power and “military diplomacy”. This has been witnessed recently in Afghanistan,
Iraq, Pakistan, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and now in Syria. India has the capacity,
capability to position itself in Gulf region to ensure stability and progress of the
region.
India’s commanding geographical position in the IOR gives us a unique opportunity
to bring to gather the forces of stability in ensuring Security of Sea lines of Communication
and coastal region of other nations as well. Sea piracy in straits of Malacca
to Somalia coast poses very serious threat to international trade and commerce
through Sea. We need to tackle this problem through regional collaboration and
achieve a good degree of success. The terrorist separatists and insurgent groups are
still very active in Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar and Bangladesh. A new theatre
of conflict has emerged due to appearance of coloration of ISIS, Al-Qaida and other
terrorist groups in Middle East, Europe and North Africa. This has a bearing on
world peace, economy, and trade. The very existence and Security of some nations
is under threat. Therefore new geo-political equation will have to be considered and
evaded to ensure Sea, maritime of costal security. A study of world map shows that
there are four communication bottlenecks that are of vital important from the point
of view of geo-strategic and geo-economic implications to all nations in IOR and
Pacific region. The Cape of Good Hope, The Strait of Hormuz, Bab al mandab and
strait of Malacca. With emerging ambitions of a lone power in Asia-Pacific region,
geo-strategic, geo-economic interests, India has no other option but to play a lead
role and pay special attention to the possible zone of conflict and to the island Group
which provides the land base, staging points and jump off areas for operations. This
was evident during invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003, assault on Libya,
Yemen and new operations against ISIS in Syria and Iraq; the concept of enforcement
of “No Fly Zone”, imposition of economic sanctions and trade barrios. 
Diego Garcia and Maldives will remain of special significance in the IOR. Japan, Taiwan,
South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, and Indonesia will play a significant
role in South Chinas Sea and Pacific region. Both USA and China are enamored
by Pakistan due to strategic location. Geographic “Location” of any nation is everything
when it comes to security and strategic considerations. Pakistan’s location
and connectivity is linked to US strategic interest in Afghanistan, Central Asia, Iran,
China and India. Same holds good for China too. China is keen to use Pakistan as
captive and exclusive transit Territory to Iron, Middle East, Arabian Sea, and shortest
route to East Africa and North Africa coast. China – Pakistan Economic corridor can
always be used as Military Corridor by China. India with its strong maritime and air
capability has been attempting to play useful role in establishing peace and stability
in the IOR. However due to mutual distrust between the RIM countries they have
prevented the creation of an overall security umbrella or architecture in the region
despite interdependence and common security interests. India therefore has to
play a key role to develop binding relations with IOR countries as well as Pacific re-gion countries. US leadership wants a stranger presence in the region to counter
greater threats to peace and stability. US new diplomatic and military strategy is
explicitly geared towards tracking and countering threats from terrorists and terrorism.
Unlike others the USA does not have any territorial ambitions and aggressive
uncontrollable greed. The emerging trends and likely threats have encouraged USA
to reorient and refocus the military resources from Atlantic to Pacific and Indian
Ocean. India is a major trustworthy nation in the region with geo-strategic advantage
and that adds to responsibility of India to play a lead role to ensure regional
and maritime security. To marginalize and neutralize Pakistan’s geo strategic importance,
it will be in USA’s long term geo-economic and geo strategic interest to
improve good relationship with Iran and make a constructive and powerful presence
in Afghanistan and Central Asia. The US will have to manage and balance the
relations and dependence on Saudi Arabia. It will be in the long term interests of
Saudi Arabia and entire Middle East to end hostile attitude and hostilities towards
Iran to protect the interests of coming generations in the entire Middle East. India
can and must be invited to play a major useful and lead up role in establishing new
friends and purposeful relationship between USA –Iran and Saudi Arabia. At present
there is no other country which can match India’s Soft Power; Hand Power, Strategic
Proximity and Smart Power to build a new stable, peaceful Middle Eastern Region.
Improved and friendly relations between USA and Iran will change geo-political and
geo-strategic power equation in Middle East; Central Asia, North Africa and South
Asia. This will be good for entire Middle East and world. It may sound impractical
and unachievable at the moment, but the understanding and united action by USA
NATO and Russia against ISIS is an example of Common interests. Few years back
before emergence of ISIS as a major Challenge it was unthinkable that both USA and
Russia will face a common threat!!!to ensure stability, peace and security there is a
need to ensure power balance. Historically in International Relations a Power Imbalance
has always led instability and eventually to War or Conflict. The events since
2001 across the world suggest that in 21st Century power imbalance will not only
encourage interstate War/Conflict, but also more importantly unconventional War,
low intensity conflicts, regime change internal conflicts supported from outside. A
stronger and combative power will always ley to achieve total dominance and influence.
While India has never been nor in future would wish to dominate any one, but
at the same time India must ensure that no one else is in a position to dictate terms
to us or to our neighboring countries.
Finally it is recommended that a cooperative and convergent approach to integrated
and comprehensive security of IOR and Pacific region will be potential source of regional peace, stability and prosperity. There will be a shift from confrontation to
cooperation, from destruction to reconstruction, disengagement to reengagement
which will lead us and our coming generations towards a bright, positive, meaningful
and prosperous future for Indo-Pacific region.

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