Think Tank (2/2023)
(L-R) Robert Beckman, Jane Chan
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The Regional Maritime Security Outlook 2023 – And Launch of Book in Memory of Dr Sam Bateman
02 Feb 2023

Experts came together at the annual Regional Maritime Security Conference held on 2-3 February 2023. In memory of Dr Sam Bateman, RSIS also launched a new book titled “Maritime Cooperation and Security in the Indo-Pacific Region: Essays in Honour of Sam Bateman.” The book was done by the IDSS Maritime Security Programme in partnership with the Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources & Security (ANCORS).

The Regional Maritime Security Outlook 2023 assembled more than forty experts from around the world to explore current challenges to regional maritime security and identify opportunities for appropriate responses.  Discussions focused around five panels. The first panel sought to place maritime issues in the broader strategic picture noting that the Indo-Pacific regional security landscape continues to grow more complex. Panel two focused on Southeast Asia’s maritime security trajectories with much of the discussion highlighting opportunities for increased cooperation in response to heightening risks and emerging considerations. During the third panel, participants explored global interest in Southeast Asia’s maritime security, particularly noting the new investments being made by East Asian, Australian, and European powers as they seek to become more significant regional stakeholders. The fourth panel painted perhaps the most positive outlook. Here, experts described how new technology is strengthening states’ ability to deter maritime aggression and counter violent criminal threats.  The consensus of those assembled reflected an assessment that regional states would gain greater benefit relative to the gains adversaries might obtain from similar technology. The final panel explored the legal dimensions of emerging maritime security challenges. Here, conversation focused on territorial contests, navigation freedom, and the regulations of new technologies such as autonomous vessels.

The book launch assembled the majority of the 32 contributors from ten countries who developed the volume in memory of Dr Sam Bateman, a retired Royal Australian Navy Commodore who spent fourteen years as a Senior Fellow and Advisor to the IDSS Maritime Security Programme. On 2 February, the book was formally launched by a panel of contributors addressing a public forum.  The next day, the contributors and key members of Singapore’s maritime security community were invited to celebrate the completion of the book while remembering Dr Bateman at a reception hosted by the Australian High Commission in Singapore.  Just as Dr Bateman would have wanted, the events of 2-3 February encapsulated an honest assessment of the pressing issues at hand and the development of the informed camaraderie among international experts needed to respond to those challenges.

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