NEW DELHI: The chief of Indian Navy Admiral Karambir Singh on Wednesday pointed to the changing strategies and the reorientations taking place in the Indo-Pacific. Admiral Singh also pointed to attempts to have 'domination and control' over the global commons.
Admiral Karambir Singh said, "When we talk of the contours of the Indo-Pacific, we all know the increasing relevance of the Indo-Pacific …That it is the centre-of-gravity of global geo-politics and economics."
That most nations are articulating and reorienting strategies to the Indo-Pacific, added the navy Chief while addressing the Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue 2021 (IPRD-2021) organised by Indian Navy in collaboration with the think tank National Maritime Foundation.
The Indo-Pacific region is important as it houses 61 per cent of the global population; contributes to 62 per cent of global GDP; and encompasses 63 per cent of the world's island nations. It washes the shores of six of the globe’s seven continents.
With seas as the lifelines of global trade and prosperity, and nearly 50 per cent of global trade passing through the Indo-Pacific, most nations within - and beyond - the Indo-Pacific have a core interest in keeping the Indo-Pacific free for commerce.
Pointing to the attempts, without naming China, of domination over global commons the chief said it is turning the global commons into contested seas. "What we are seeing today, is some States applying land centric territorial mindset to the basic idea of the global commons; attempting to seek greater domination and control," he said.
"And, therefore, the increasing challenge to international rules, regulations and reinterpretation of such conventions, which is turning the global commons into contested seas," the chief added.
Talking about competition in the Indo- Pacific region Admiral Singh said it is diversifying. "As the basic precepts of a maritime Indo-Pacific are challenged, competition in the Indo-Pacific is also becoming more diverse, involving levers of diplomacy, commerce, ideology, values, science and technology – apart from the military. In sum, Indo-Pacific brings with it attendant and evolving challenges where the rules of the game are changing," he said.
As the competition becomes more intense in the Indo-Pacific, the value of cooperation will become even more, and not less, significant, said the Indian Navy chief. "When we look at the Indo-Pacific, any contest in its dominant maritime domain will definitely impact every country, not just the contenders… because this calls into question the very interpretation of the rules-based order that regulates global exchanges. And, therefore the need to cooperate in upholding the rules-based system," he added.