The theme of the fourth edition of the revived Asian Relations Conference (ARC IV) is ‘Geopolitics of the Indo-Pacific Region: Asian Perspectives’. The Indo-Pacific region is a concept that bears great significance with the fulcrum of strategic and economic activities shifting to Asia. It is a spatial concept that is resonating in the contemporary literature on international relations. An attempt is being made to understand the concept within the framework of changing geopolitics and the impact of such conceptualization on the politico- economic-strategic dynamics in Asia.
The Indo-Pacific as a region involves a large number of maritime states, as the cartographic limitations of the Indian and Pacific Oceans converge to a cohesive geopolitical unit. The responses from Southeast and East Asia will determine the Asian security architecture with respect to the rising Chinese influence in the region. The changing currents of the geopolitical scenario compel other powers such as the United States, Russia, and the European Union to respond to the categorization of the Indo-Pacific region.
India as an important stakeholder in the region would like to engage and contribute to the ongoing discourses on this concept among the countries concerned. India’s role in the regional security architecture has grown more prominent, and hence the paradigm requires a reassessment to factor the shifting dynamics of the Indo-Pacific region.
Economic integration is often considered as one of the drivers of regional organisation, and spatial configurations. The Indo-Pacific region would garner considerable interest because of growing economies in the region and the possibilities of new trade blocs. The economic engagements in the Indo-Pacific region have been fragmented and integration would reorganize the economic structure of the key stakeholders. However, the prospects of economic integration raise questions regarding the kind of institutionalization and the national interests of countries in the region.
In this context, ARC – IV seeks to exhaustively deliberate and facilitate a debate on the concept of the Indo-Pacific region, its usages and ramifications in policy formulations among a number of Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean countries, and its relevance for regional security, stability and development.