This workshop discussed the trajectory of the future maritime environment in the Indo-Pacific. It flagged key strategic dynamics within the region, including the escalating rivalry between China and the United States, differing visions of the emerging regional order, the role of middle powers (such as Japan and India) on regional stability, and the issue of building strategic trust among all players within the region. The general attitude of the participants on the future maritime security environment was cautious optimism, anticipating progress on certain fronts and envisioning strategic deadlock in others.
The workshop also assessed key issues that are expected to influence the future maritime environment, including China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative, technological developments, the ability of regional organisations to manage challenges in the maritime domain, and marine environmental threats. Concerns were expressed with regard to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its related forums, on becoming increasingly irrelevant in regional affairs, for diffusing great power strategic rivalry or managing maritime incidents. At the same time, reasons for optimism were highlighted, including the complex web of regional order sustained through bilateral and multilateral arrangements, significant milestones reached by ASEAN, including the ASEAN Economic Community and progress on the Code of Conduct (COC) for the South China Sea.
A number of key recommendations were made in the interests of future maritime security and stability in the region. These include the need to invest more in defence diplomacy, especially through the ASEAN Defence Minister’s Meeting (ADMM) and ADMM-Plus; and to draw up guidelines for cooperation under the Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum (EAMF), which takes the form of an all-encompassing agreement that helps manage and prevent all categories of maritime incidents, involving all types of vessels and aircraft, whether military or civilian.
Event Reports / Maritime Security / South Asia / Southeast Asia and ASEAN
Last updated on 08/08/2017