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The Indo-Pacific: An Examination of Regional Instruments for Improved Coordination

The Indo-Pacific has become the focal point of discussion among strategists in the 21st century, which is evident from the implementation of different instruments such as the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue and the Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP). The strategic posture entailed within the Indo-Pacific security architecture necessitates a military balance of power within the region, as the power rivalry in the Indian Ocean has evolved beyond military aspects into economic, ideological and technical dimensions. Therefore, this research examines how these international instruments could be better coordinated, in order to improve the balance of power in the region. Towards this end, this research has two objectives, firstly, to map out the different regional mechanisms that are in position to improve interaction; and secondly, to analyse what steps need to be taken to improve the balance of power in the Indo-Pacific. Qualitative in nature, the research utilises primary sources such as the strategy documents issued by governments and security groupings, speeches from world leaders, along with secondary sources. The research underscores that the oceans of the Indo-Pacific remains central to this evolving power struggle, as the economic centre of gravity shifts to the East, necessitating peaceful interaction to increase trust and improve the balance of power. FOIP assures a proactive contribution to peace based on the principle of international cooperation, encouraging likeminded navies in the region to increase collaboration and cooperation. In conclusion, it can be ascertained that the increased number of regional groupings has reduced the level of trust within the Indo-Pacific thus, calling for more synergies and understanding among international instruments.

This is the abstract of a joint paper presented at the 13th International Research Conference of the General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University, Sri Lanka.

A copy of the abstract can be downloaded from here.

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