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Pages: 353-375

Re-Contextualizing India in the Indo-Pacific: Decrypting the Evolution, Emerging Dynamics, and Navigating the Way Forward in a Post-Pandemic International System

Abhigyan Guha

Category: International Relations

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As a protean coherent strategic space translating inter-connectedness despite sub-regional dissimilarities into an epicenter of economic activities, infrastructural investments, naval deployments and supply chain resilience, the Indo-Pacific region has evolved into a new arena of geopolitical contestation, where maritime security has been the raison d’être. Ever since the 2018 Shangri-La Dialogue and 2019 Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI) at the East Asia Summit, India’s luminous Indo-Pacific vision centered around its teleological commitment to ASEAN centrality, wherein the primacy of a rules-based liberal international order predicated on multilateralism is emphasized on the fidelity of a free, open, inclusive maritime order, advocating cooperation, stability, collaboration, equity and fairness of globalization while respecting territorial integrity, national sovereignty, right to freedom of navigation and pacific resolution of disputes following International Maritime Law. China’s pyrrhic rise and assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific, especially in the East China Sea and the South China Sea, the escalation of U.S.-China tariff wars, and maritime territorial disputes have catalyzed the ascendancy of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) vis-à-vis India, Japan, USA and Australia as an effective deterrent to Chinese hegemony, where India has been playing a proactive role in promoting cooperative security, vaccine collaboration, maritime transport, trade, connectivity, capacity building and capability development, resource-sharing among others. The paper highlights the evolution and emerging dynamics of Indian foreign policy in the Indo-Pacific and India’s ascending strategic autonomy in a post-COVID19 international order, where India has subverted its past aversion to alliances during the Great Powers’ contestation for regional hegemony.

Keywords: Indo-Pacific, Maritime Security, Geopolitical Contestation, Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, Strategic Autonomy, Regional Hegemony, COVID-19, Indian Ocean


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DOI: 10.47362/EJSSS.2021.2305

DOI URL: https://doi.org/10.47362/EJSSS.2021.2305