Canada’s new Indo-Pacific strategy bids au revoir to middle power ambitions | East Asia Forum
19 December 2022 – Author: Paul Evans, UBC
Ottawa has unveiled its long-awaited Indo-Pacific Strategy. Comprehensive statements on regional or global foreign policy are a rarity. This whole of government strategy is the most ambitious effort in a generation to focus attention and resources on the region.
The label of ‘Indo-Pacific’ is more than old wine in a new bottle. The earlier Asia Pacific idea was born in era of expansiveness, inclusive multilateralism, open regionalism, engagement with China, cooperative and comprehensive security dreams and the end of a Cold War. The Indo-Pacific era is the product of great power rivalry, securitisation of technology and trade, fragmenting globalisation, strengthened alliances, coalitions of the like-minded, a rules-based international order and an incipient Cold War.
The strategy’s commitment of C$2.3 billion (US$1.7 billion) over five years covers 27 different projects. The big ticket items are C$750 million (US$549 million) for infrastructure projects filtered through a new US-led G7 arrangement, C$550 million (US$403 million) for an enhanced military presence including a third frigate in the Indian ocean and expanded participation in regional military exercises, and C$225 million (US$165 million) for strengthening public safety and cyber security at home and in Southeast Asia.
There is also C$100 million (US$73 million) for trade promotion and diversification activities, C$100 million ($US73 million) for expanded diplomatic capacity and C$350 million (US$256 million) for a range of developmental assistance programs, people-to-people links including scholarships, network building and a new office in Southeast Asia.
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