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Navigating Indo-Pacific Geopolitics: Wisdom For Future Policymakers

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Navigating Indo-Pacific Geopolitics: Wisdom for Future Policymakers

Session Report
Rahul Soni

IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute‘s Center for International Relations and Strategic Studies, IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi, conducted online training course on Diplomacy and Foreign Policy. Day 4 of the session covered the theme Geopolitics of Indo-pacific. The session was led by Ambassador Shashank, (IFS, Retd.), Former Foreign Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, India

Ambassador Shashank’s recent session on the geopolitics of the Indo-Pacific was a deep dive into the complexities of international relations, offering invaluable advice to future foreign policy makers. His three crucial pieces of advice set the tone for a thoughtful discussion on navigating regional cooperation:

Prudent Information Consumption

In an era of information overload, Amb. Shashank emphasized the importance of judiciously selecting and utilizing information. The bombardment of data and perspectives can often cloud judgment, making it vital to discern the valuable from the noise. This advice resonates deeply in today’s interconnected world, where sifting through information to craft effective policies is a significant challenge.

Historical and Futuristic Perspectives

Understanding the past while envisioning the future forms the backbone of prudent foreign policy. Amb. Shashank stressed the necessity of viewing geopolitical situations through a lens that encompasses historical context while projecting into the future. This balanced approach enables policymakers to grasp the roots of conflicts and envision sustainable solutions.

Holistic Consideration of Interests in The Indo-Pacific

Highlighting the need to go beyond national interests, Amb. Shashank urged policymakers to factor in the concerns and needs of partner countries. Particularly significant was his emphasis on India’s role in the ASEAN region. He cautioned against India projecting dominance, stressing the importance of ensuring smaller countries do not feel overshadowed. The North-East region’s interests were also underscored as integral in India’s approach to the Indo-Pacific.

Current Geopolitical Scenario

The discussion ventured into current geopolitical conflicts, illuminating the nuanced dynamics across different regions. The Russia-Ukraine conflict was dissected, highlighting Russia’s ambition to shape a Europe led by its influence. Equally prominent was the Israel-Hamas issue, reflecting the enduring tensions in the Middle East.

Interestingly, the conversation pivoted to Asia’s stability, notably contrasting it with the volatility in Europe and the Middle East. While concerns about China’s intentions regarding Taiwan loom, Amb. Shashank advocated for the region’s commitment to stability and prosperity. He positioned India as a crucial player in maintaining regional equilibrium and advised future policymakers to fortify India’s resilience against being embroiled in external conflicts.

The subsequent doubt session delved into the relevance of international organizations and movements. Amb. Shashank shed light on the rising significance of blocs within blocs, indicating the evolving nature of global alliances. The discourse on the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) underscored its historical relevance in a world marked by changing power dynamics.

Addressing a query on dealing with China through cooperative alliances like the QUAD, Amb. Shashank pragmatically highlighted India’s realities. He cautioned against taking risks prematurely and emphasized considering the immediate neighbors’ interests. Professor Prabir De complemented this perspective by highlighting Bangladesh and South-East Asian countries’ limitations in influencing global decisions despite their economic prowess.

Conclusion

Amb. Shashank’s session unveiled a mosaic of geopolitical intricacies, urging policymakers to tread cautiously, balancing national interests with regional cooperation. His insights reverberate as guideposts for a new generation of foreign policy architects, poised to navigate the complex interplay of global affairs. The call for a comprehensive understanding of history, judicious information consumption, and inclusive decision-making remains pivotal in shaping a stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.

Posted by Trisha Shivdasana Research Intern at IMPRI.

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