Think Tank (1/2024)
(L-R) Prof Geoffrey Till and Jane Chan
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The Regional Maritime Security Outlook 2024
25 Jan 2024

Experts gathered at the annual Regional Maritime Security Outlook held from 25 to 26 January. They analysed contemporary maritime affairs and discussed emerging issues that affect both the region and the global community.  More than 90 participants from around the world attended the Regional Maritime Security Outlook 2024, which offered a platform for critical evaluation and a vibrant discission on the complex and dynamic development in the maritime domain.

Professor Geoffrey Till, Adviser to the Maritime Security Programme, kickstarted the event by providing a keynote address. Prof Till’s remarks reminded the audience that freedom of navigation is a universal value enjoyed by every nation, and should not be seen as an interest by some. However, such value is currently being threatened by various maritime insecurities, highlighting the vulnerability of international sea lanes of communications.

In the first panel, Dr Ralf Emmers from the School of Oriental and African Studies, Prof Michael Raska, and Dr Alistair Cook, brought to light the evolving  geo-strategic landscape in the Indo-Pacific with a focus on the maritime dynamics and the emerging issues.

During the second panel, Mr Jonathan Bentham from IISS, Senior Colonel (Ret.) Zhou Bo from Tsinghua University, and Mr Shahriman Lockman from ISIS Malaysia, focused on the interest of Southeast Asia’s extra-regional actors. The panellists discussed the degree to which strategic convergence drives development in the Indo-Pacific, as well as how diverging interest exacerbates competition.

The third panel examined the concerns, priorities, and efforts of Southeast Asian countries in the maritime domain. Mr Andrew Mantong from CSIS, Dr Nguyen Hung Son from the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam, and Prof Renato Cruz de Castro from De La Salle University led the discussion to focus on future trajectories and how regional states can mitigate potential challenges in the region.

The fourth panel pondered on the impact that the Russo-Ukrainian war has on the future conduct of maritime warfare. Dr Sidharth Kaushal from RUSI, Prof. Justin Hastings from the University of Sydney, Prof Hu Bo from Peking University, and Mr Ristian Atriandi Supriyanto from Universitas Indonesia considered how the utilisation of the latest technology will shape the outcome of conflicts.

The fifth, and last panel, explored development in international law, specifically on the laws of armed conflict. Discussion was particularly geared towards the publication of the Newport Manual on the Law of Naval Warfare by Prof David Letts from Australian National University, Prof Raul “Pete” Pedrozo from the US Naval War College, and Prof Jay Batongbacal from University of the Philippines, who gauged the effect that this would bring to the future dynamics of naval warfare, and how it will impact the region.

As the event drew to a close on its first day, a conference reception was held that was dedicated to Professor Geoffrey Till in celebration of his latest achievement. Professor Geoffrey Till was awarded the title of Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) bestowed by His Majesty King Charles III in recognition of his services to defence. The reception was attended by participants of the Regional Maritime Security Outlook, as well as several prominent guests and friends of Prof Till.

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