The Maritime Security Programme within the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies at RSIS held its annual flagship conference “Regional Maritime Security Outlook 2021” on 20 and 21 January 2021. Conducted in a hybrid format, local participants gathered at the Park Royal on Beach Road Hotel, Singapore, with overseas participants joining via Zoom. More than two dozen experts and practitioners participated in the discussions.
The conference opened with Prof Geoffrey Till setting the scene with broad trends in the regional security environment and the future of conflict and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific. This was followed by panellists providing their outlook on major powers’ and regional actors’ maritime security strategies, priorities, capacities, and challenges. The first day concluded with a discussion on the intensified contest over the shared maritime space in the South China Sea, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on regional maritime security.
The second day was focused on more specific maritime security issues. This included the promises and pitfalls of minilateral maritime security cooperation in Southeast Asia and the “gray zone” competition in East Asia’s maritime domain. Both panels brought important insights to the two topics of great importance to Asia’s security.
The conference concluded on a positive note, with participants agreeing to further expand the discussion on critical issues involving the future of conflict and cooperation in the shared maritime domain.