Geostrategic dynamics are changing rapidly in the Indo-Pacific. The region boasts not only the world’s fastest-growing economies but also the world’s fastest-increasing military expenditures and naval capabilities, the fiercest competition over natural resources, and the most dangerous hot spots. It thus holds the key to global security and a new world order. The Indo-Pacific security competition is occurring largely in a maritime context, which explains the increasing use of the term “Indo-Pacific” — representing the fusion of two oceans, the Indian and the Pacific. The geo-economic competition is also gaining traction in the region. Against this background, can the U.S.-led strategy for a “free and open” Indo-Pacific make tangible progress without addressing sub-regional concerns, such as the changing status quo in the South China Sea? The South China Sea is central to the contest for strategic influence in the Indo-Pacific region. A larger key question is: In the face of several crisscrossing strategies in the region, can the “free and open” Indo-Pacific strategy help to coordinate and synergize the various strategies? And to what extent can it address the Indo-Pacific imperative for strategic equilibrium, including a stable balance of power? Also, what will it take to build an inclusive, rules-based Indo-Pacific order, including strengthening norms and creating robust institutions?
About the Speaker
Brahma Chellaney is a Geostrategist and Author. He is presently a Professor of Strategic Studies at the Independent Center for Policy Research in New Delhi; a Richard von Weizsäcker Fellow of the Robert Bosch Academy in Berlin; a trustee of the National Book Trust; and an affiliate with the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at King’s College London. He has served as a member of the Policy Advisory Group headed by the foreign minister of India.
As a specialist on international strategic issues, he held appointments at Harvard University, the Brookings Institution, the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, and the Australian National University.
His scholarly essays have been published in numerous journals, including International Security, Orbis, Survival, Terrorism, Washington Quarterly, and Nature. He is the author of nine books, including an international bestseller, Asian Juggernaut (New York: Harper Paperbacks, 2010).
His latest books focus on the geopolitics of natural resources, especially water: the recently released Water, Peace, and War: Confronting the Global Water Crisis (Rowman & Littlefield); and Water: Asia’s New Battleground (Georgetown University Press), the winner of the 2012 Bernard Schwartz Award.
In addition to being a strategic thinker and author, he is a columnist and commentator, including for Project Syndicate. His opinion articles appear in the Nikkei Asian Review, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Le Monde, The Guardian, The Times of India, Mint, Japan Times, The Globe and Mail, La Vanguardia, South China Morning Post, and other important newspapers. He has often appeared on CNN and BBC, among others.