The greater Indian Ocean region is now one of the most important parts of the world. In the 1970s, political leaders in the region were calling for an “Indian Ocean Zone of Peace.” But such a zone now is difficult to imagine as chronic instability and political dysfunction in the Indian Ocean region grow and combine with new external pressures to make its order seem fragile and vulnerable. The People’s Republic of China, through its “Belt and Road” strategic gambit, is projecting its new economic and naval power into the region. Some regional countries have been enthusiastic about the enormous economic potential, yet many remain apprehensive about the prospect of unequal and unfair economic relations and the real risk of deepening geopolitical tensions.
The Indian Ocean Order has its defenders. Prime Minister Shinzō Abe of Japan has called for a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific.” President Trump’s new National Security Strategy has likewise called for enhanced cooperation with allies like Japan and Australia and for energizing a new strategic partnership with India to foster the only kind of Indo-Pacific order that can transform the region into a true Zone of Peace. These kindred democracies are already playing indispensable roles. How can these governments best work with other states in the region to advance common goals? And what opportunities exist for other countries in the region to pursue their national economic and political development without sacrificing their sovereignty or stability?
On January 10th, Hudson hosted a discussion on the political and economic future of the Indo-Pacific region. Hudson’s Ambassador Husain Haqqani, John Balfe, and Satoru Nagao were joined by Nikkei Asian Review commentator, Hiroyuki Akita, and Daniel Twining, President of the International Republican Institute. The conversation was moderated by Hudson Senior Fellow Eric Brown.
To view Mr. Akita’s presentation, click here.
To view Dr. Nagao’s presentation, click here.