Australia

This handout photo taken and released by the Indian Navy on 17 November 2020 shows ships taking part in the second phase of the Malabar naval exercise in the Arabian sea. India, Australia, Japan and the United States started the second phase of a strategic navy drill in the Northern Arabian sea. (Indian Navy/AFP)

Indo-Pacific: The central theatre of 21st century great power struggle

ISEAS academic Daljit Singh notes that the new great power contest has spilled over into the Indian Ocean, and the term “Indo-Pacific” will better reflect the strategic geography of this central theatre of the 21st century great power struggle.
This photo taken on 11 December 2020 shows tourists looking at an illuminated ice sculpture at the Changchun ice and snow grand world in Changchun, Jilin province, China. (STR/AFP)

A multipolar world order is good for us all

Zheng Weibin asserts that the US will soon be stepping back into an international arena that is much changed. The US cannot hope to regain a unipolar dominance, if it arguably ever had it. Rather, a multipolarity ruled by regional pockets of issues-based interests is taking shape, starting in Asia.
Chinese and US flags fly along Pennsylvania Avenue outside the White House in Washington, 18 January 2011. (Kevin Lamarque/File Photo/Reuters)

'Relying on the US for security and China for economic benefits is absurd'

From China’s perspective, Australia has been trying to have its cake and eat it too by seeking to rely on the US for security and China for economic benefits. If recent frictions are anything to go by, this balancing act is fraught with contradictions. Will Australia and other countries start to see that the Asia-Pacific’s interests are best served by both China and the US having a stake in the security and economic well-being of the region?
A screen grab taken from Vietnam Host Broadcaster's 15 November 2020 live video shows China's Premier Li Keqiang (L) clapping as Chinese Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan (R) holds up the agreement during the signing ceremony for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade pact at the ASEAN summit that is being held online in Hanoi. (Handout/Vietnam host broadcaster/AFP)

RCEP affirms ASEAN’s irreplaceable East Asian centrality

The signing of the 15-member Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership is significant, and not only due to the fact that the trade deal will cover a third of the world’s population and GDP. The RCEP also affirms the power of the East Asia concept and ASEAN’s centrality within it.
Indian soldiers stand in a formation after disembarking from a military transport plane at a forward airbase in Leh, in the Ladakh region, 15 September 2020. (Danish Siddiqui/REUTERS)

Containing China: US and India to sign third military agreement in ‘strategic embrace’

The US and India are set to sign the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement at the third US-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue later this month, rounding out the trio of foundational agreements between them for comprehensive military cooperation. Hong Kong-based commentator Zheng Hao says this portends greater threats for China, the unspoken target of closer US-India military ties.
Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Japan's Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, Australia's Foreign Minister Marise Payne and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pose for a picture prior the Quad ministerial meeting in Tokyo, Japan, 6 October 2020. (Kiyoshi Ota/Pool via REUTERS)

Containing China: Will the Quad become an Asian mini-NATO?

With the foreign ministers of the US, Japan, India, and Australia convening in Tokyo for their latest ministerial quadrilateral security dialogue meeting last week, and the US especially keen to contain China through this grouping, economics professor Zhu Ying wonders: Will the Quad become an Asian mini-NATO?
Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Joe Biden speaks during a campaign stop in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, 6 October 2020. (Kevin Lamarque/REUTERS)

How a Biden presidency can win back lost American influence in Southeast Asia

If elected the president of the US, Joe Biden will not necessarily gain traction in Southeast Asia by simply not being Trump. He will have to bring tangible economic and political options to the table, and harness the intrinsic power of America’s network of allies and partners.
Flags of the United States and China are placed for a meeting between the U.S. secretary of agriculture and China's minister of agriculture at the Ministry of Agriculture in Beijing, China. (Jason Lee/REUTERS)

The biggest challenge in China's diplomacy

US-China strategic competition has had an adverse effect on Indo-Pacific tensions, from issues such as Taiwan, the South China Sea, to China-India border conflicts and China-Australia relations. Political scientist Zhu Zhiqun says China’s international and regional outlook will not improve if this underlying issue is not resolved.
A woman looks out to the Indian Ocean at Meulaboh beach in Aceh on 12 July 2020. (Chaideer Mahyuddin/AFP)

India in the Indo-Pacific: Reining in China in the new theatre of great power rivalry

In recent times, the Indo-Pacific has evolved from being a geographical concept to a political and strategic construct that means different things to different countries. With Covid-19 turning the international tide against China, proponents of ensuring a “free and open Indo-Pacific” have found more incentive to rally together. Among them, dominant stakeholders such as India can play a bigger role to balance the perceived threat.