Act East Policy Current Affairs - 2020

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.

First India-Japan 2+2 Foreign and Defence Ministerial Meeting held in New Delhi

India and Japan held their first ever Foreign and Defence Ministerial Dialogue (2+2) in New Delhi. During the meet the two sides discussed about boosting defence and security ties besides other issues of mutual interest. This India-Japan ministerial meeting comes ahead of annual summit of two prime ministers scheduled to be held in Guwahati, Assam in December 2019. India has a similar ‘ministerial level 2+2’ dialogue with the USA as well.

Highlights: India-Japan 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue

Partcipants: Indian delegation was led by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Foreign Minister S Jaishankar while Japanese side was led by Japan’s Foreign Affairs Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Defence Minister Taro Kono.

The 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue is an upgrade of meeting between foriegn and defence secretaries of two countries, the first round of which took place in 2010. This upgradation was followed after an agreement was reached between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during 13th India-Japan Annual Summit held in Japan in October 2018.

Dialogue provided an opportunity for two countries to review the status of as well as exchange further views on strengthening defence and security cooperation between India and Japan so as to provide greater depth to ‘India-Japan Special Strategic and Global Partnership’.

Both sides also exchanged their views on situation regarding Indo-Pacific region as well as their respective efforts under India’s ‘Act East Policy’ and Japan’s ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific Vision’ for achieving their shared objective of progress, peace prosperity, to realise a better future for people of two countries and region.