Indo-Pacific Strategies, Perceptions and Partnerships: ‘The view from seven countries’. The US, France, India, Japan and Tonga all had local partners engaged in the project. ROI co-hosted a roundtable with the Tongan policymaking and strategic communities in Nuku’alofa, Tonga.
By Cleo Paskal
Associate Fellow, Energy, Environment and Resources Programme and Asia-Pacific Programme
As the Indo-Pacific’s strategic importance increases, countries around the world are developing new policies to strengthen their reach in the region. While there is a long history of international partnerships in the Indo-Pacific, many recent forays in the region are in response to China’s economic, political and military expansion there.
This paper is based on field research, roundtables and face-to-face interviews in seven countries (including China) chosen to provide a variety of perspectives and insights on the Indo-Pacific, particularly regarding policy strategies and objectives.
The research uncovered shared internal divisions within the sample countries in how they perceive and engage with China. In a sense, against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, some of these divisions have since been resolved with countries generally more cautious towards China. Regardless of intentions, a broad understanding of the different actors in the region is crucial for countries seeking to form strong partnerships and to establish a successful Indo-Pacific strategy.