India expands Indo-Pacific Policy; includes Gulf and Africa

At the end of the joint Indian Ocean Dialogue held in New Delhi, External Affairs Minister officially announced that India is planning to expand its Indo-Pacific policy. So far, the Indo-Pacific covered Indian Ocean and the Arabian sea. With the expansion, the region will now include Gulf states and Africa.

Indo Pacific

Indo-Pacific is a US construct that includes regions between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. According to the US, it ranges from the eastern shores of the African continent to the western shores of the US. The move of US was perceived to contain China’s military expansion in the region. In June 2018, PM Modi outlined India’s vision on the Indo-Pacific region while addressing the Shangri-La Dialogue.

Significance

The expansion will help India in its Act East Policy. It also clearly sets out message that India’s focus is more on the Indian Ocean element of the Indo-Pacific rather than Pacific Ocean element. This is because with the expansion of the Indo-Pacific, ASEAN becomes the geographical centre of a greater perimeter and becomes heart of Indo-Pacific. This will also help India in moving beyond cultural, historical and economic linkages.

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