Revisiting the Indo-Pacific Under a Pandemic

Webinar on “Revisiting the Indo-Pacific under a pandemic” – Does Covid-19 set to reshape the future of Indo-Pacific Geopolitics? June 02, 2020, organised by International Strategic and Security Studies Programme at National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bengaluru.

Welcome Remarks: Dr M. Mayilvaganan, Associate Professor, NIAS
Special Remark by Ambassador Gautam Mukhopadhaya, Former Ambassador of India to Myanmar.

China Perspective: Dr Jagannath Panda, Research Fellow and Centre Coordinator for East Asia, Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis.

Southeast Asia Perspective: Dr Pankaj K Jha, Associate Professor, O P Jindal Global University.
East Asia Perspective: Dr Prakash Panneerselvam, Assistant Professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies.

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One thought on “Revisiting the Indo-Pacific Under a Pandemic

  • Rahul Dev

    March to Modernisation
    No halt
    Today, most of the world’s politicians busy on dealing with corona virus Challenge on humanity. Indians are also posed in defence against this deadly virus which is first of its kind in human history and what are its repercussions only time will tell. A call for complete lock-down by Prime Minister Narendra Modi are being carefully followed by the people of every strata of our society. This shows our unity in diversity which is foremost for a country.
    There has been some pause in military activities in the world. First priority is well being of our people. Meanwhile, the NDA govt. aims at $5 – trillion economy to become a third largest economy in the world by 2024. Will all the problems that India is facing resolve themselves seamlessly?
    According to Oxfam, India’s one percent owns 73 percent of the total wealth But, 50 million people in India have no savings and assets. our financial system is not in order due to lockdown and merger of Banks, dissolvement total NPA ‘s of bigwigs, shut down of industries. There has been slow down in manufacturing growth and exports over the last few years. India needs more efforts from grass roots level to more FDI’s. One thing most important is Food Security, other measures are to protect food grains in local mandis, local storages, central warehouses and state govt. owned storage houses so that there should not a single grain be spoiled. Renovation needed not to further storage of grain’s i.e. underground silos may be built.
    Each major crisis, during the current millennium has erupted not on periphery but at the very center of the global political and economic order. The global financial and economic crises of 2008 also erupted at the very health of the global economy. The Covid crises engulf whole of the world on the contrary, trend will see reinforcement of globalization in the digital space. In coping with covid-19 businesses, educational institutions and service economy in general are relying much on more digital communication, internet based services and video – conferencing so on.
    Now, there’s relief time for world militaries .But recently, Iran successfully put its military satellite into space, its Gun-boat diplomacy to encircle US Naval ships in Gulf Area create bitterness’ between the two countries and in the region also. One thing common that Covid-19 has not made any change in U.S and Iran‘s defence policies both are hit hard by the virus.
    As Washington and Beijing trade barbs over the corona virus pandemic, a longer-term struggle between the two pacific power as is at a turning point, as the United States rolls out new weapons strategy in a bid to close a wide missile gap with China. The United States has largely stood by in recent decades as China dramatically expanded its military firepower. Now, having shed the constraints of a Cold War-era arms control treaty, the Trump administration is planning to deploy long-range, ground-launched cruise missiles in the Asia-Pacific region. The Pentagon intends to arm its marines with versions of the Tomahawk cruise missile now carried U.S. warships, according to the White House budget requests for 2021 and congressional testimony in March of Senior US military commanders. It is also accelerating deliveries of its first new long-range anti ship missiles in decades.
    The U.S. moves are aimed at countering China’s overwhelming advantage in land based cruise and ballistic missiles. The Pentagon also intends to dial back China’s lead in what strategists refer to as the “range war.” The People’s Liberation army(PLA),China’s military, has built up a huge force of missiles that mostly outrange those of the U.S. and its regional allies, according to a senior U.S commanders and in strategic advisers to the Pentagon, who have been warning that China holds a clear advantage in these weapons.
    In a conflict, these units will be dispersed at key points in the Western Pacific and along the so-called first island chain. The first island chain is the string of islands that run from the Japanese archipelago, through Taiwan, the Philippines and on to Borneo, enclosing China’s coastal areas.
    The Americans coming back strongly “said Ross Babbage, a former senior Australian government defence official and now a non-resident fellow at the Washington-based Centre for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a security research group.” By 2024 or 2025 there is a serious risk for the PLA that their military developments will be obsolete.”
    Recently, the United states has gotten worse, stepping up its pursuits of so-called ‘Indo-Pacific Strategy’ that seeks to deploy new weapons, including ground- launched intermediate-range missiles, in the Asia-Pacific region.”We will not be mute spectator of these developments.
    But, what we are doing? We have postponed our test to increase the range of Brahmos Missile and similarly Agni-5 and Agni-6 test trials. This is not right. Even, Russia, China and Israel have not stopped their military activities. So, why should we postpone our military programmes. March to modernization is a continuous process there will be no halt. Our forces must be supreme in any difficult times and in war. We can do this time which international community does not want us to do that. We must test our new weapon systems. Time has ripened for testing of ICBM’ Surya, Advanced Technology Vehicle (ATV) send for trials in world’s oceans and to think about the need of Stealth Long Range Strike Bomber(LRS-B) for the IAF. All these experiments will increase future defence capabilities. There are new changes in military strategy and equations so that to explore and carry on experiments may be on Nuclear, Chemicals and Biological (NBC) warfare not to intend for any arms race but to mend ways & means to prevent the attacks of NBC warfare. We must explore new things to protect our countrymen.
    Issues of national security are intertwined with many aspects of trade, commerce, investment as well as creation and use of knowledge base. What appears to be this current emerging scenario is a new kind of warfare. If a country does not learn to master these new realities of life, all aspirations to ensure the prosperity of our people may come to nought. This does not mean to advocacy of isolation or going back to the concepts of nuts-and-bolts form of self-reliance. We need to address newer and more sophisticated concepts of protecting our economic strategic interests. If, we want to be $5–trillion economy and third largest economy in the world. We cannot ignore military perspectives.

    Rahul Dev,
    SeniorAssistant, Secrecy Branch
    Adminsitrative Block,
    Guru Nanak Dev University,
    Amritsar.

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