New Indo-Pacific strategy and West Asia | Opinion (dailysabah.com)
‘As the U.S. focused on countering China, it invited India into its club with Australia and Japan and created a new term to define the region: the Indo-Pacific’
BY JAVED ZAFAR AUG 25, 2022
Controlling and dominating the Pacific is always a top priority in U.S. geostrategic thinking and policy. In the Atlantic, Europe and its allies supplement the U.S. presence and power, but in the Pacific, it requires a direct presence and widespread domination to control the region. Although Australia and New Zealand’s presence provides a strategic backup, they cannot counter the challenges on their own. The region used to be recognized as Asia Pacific, but as the U.S. focused on countering China, it invited India into its club with Australia and Japan and created a new term to define the region: the Indo-Pacific.
China’s emergence as a global power also increases challenges to the U.S. Like the U.S., China is also prioritizing the Pacific for political, economic and military reasons. The Indo-Pacific is not only a strategic region but a vast economic one as well. Some of the biggest and most powerful economies like India, the U.S, Japan and China belong to the Indo-Pacific region. As China becomes more assertive in the region and launches different economic and military initiatives, the U.S. and other regional countries are growing more cautious of Chinese ambitions and engaging in different common and collective initiatives. To connect economically and counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), U.S. President Joe Biden launched the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF). The IPEF includes 14 members who account for 40% of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP). To show its military presence and preparedness, the U.S. launched two ambitious defense initiatives in the Indo-Pacific, the Quad and Aukus. In the Quad, India is the only member from an Indian Ocean country. Later the U.S excluded India from the new security setup and created Aukus, a trilateral pact between the U.S., Australia and the United Kingdom. The U.S. also formed a second quadrilateral pact, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Israel and India. Though there is no official name, a U.S. statement called it the I2U2, with the letter I referring to India and Israel while the letter U refers to the U.S. and UAE.
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