Indo-Pacific Security and India

In an era of uncertainty and change

Also available in Deutsch

The KAS India office, the Forum for Strategic Initiatives (FSI) and the Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS) organized a seminar on Indo-Pacific Security and the linked policy options of India in an era of uncertainty and change in New Delhi on December 11th/12th 2017. Participants of the conference, which was conducted under the Chatham House Rule, were among others Peter Rimmele, Resident Representative of the KAS in India, as well as the German ambassador to India, Dr. Martin Ney.

From left: The German Ambassador to India Dr. Martin Ney, Peter Rimmele, Resident Representative of KAS in Indian and Pankaj Madan, Head Programmes, KAS India

From left: The German Ambassador to India, Dr. Martin Ney, Peter Rimmele, Resident Representative of KAS in India, and Pankaj Madan, Head Programmes, KAS India

The world is currently undergoing major geopolitical shifts that will significantly change the current world order, and the Indo-Pacific region is at the center of this dynamic. Not only is the region the focus of global economic development, it is also a potential source of conflict. An assertive China, a rising India, and a gradual decline in US engagement will lead to a shift of power in the region if it has not already. As one of the leading global powers, India today is not only at the geographical center of these dynamics, but as an emerging global actor, it is also responsible for providing security in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond to ensure peace and stability. For this reason, the two-day seminar addressed current and future trends in the region to highlight India's policy options during this transitional period.

Concrete challenges in the region are currently North Korea's nuclear missile program, piracy, the territorial dispute in the South China Sea; an increasing arms race in the region, illegal and unregulated fishing, China's “Belt and Road Initiative” whose geopolitical and economic consequences are not yet foreseeable, and climate change; which will result in drastic ecological and social consequences.

With regard to the strategic and security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region, it became clear that the United States would not withdraw from the region as some expected. For example, they reaffirmed their alliance obligations to their strategic partners and called for a free and open Indo-Pacific. However, the termination of negotiations on the free trade agreement Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) shows that economic and security policy are not in sync with each other. From the perspective of the European Union, the Indo-Pacific region is becoming increasingly important. The EU is at present involved in anti-piracy measures in the eastern Indian Ocean. In the EU, and especially in Germany, there is a growing awareness that Asia is more than just China, and with regard to China's Belt and Road Initiative, concerns in Europe are growing. While Germany prefers cooperation in multilateral forums, France is expanding its naval capacities and strengthening its cooperation with other powers in the indo-pacific region in a more security-oriented manner.

India's national interest in the Indo-Pacific is that it can use the region to pursue its own interests and that no other power uses the Indo-Pacific to India's disadvantage. Above all, it is important for India to maintain the sea lines of communication. India should therefore continue to expand its involvement in multilateral fora, otherwise India has to act alone especially in the Indian Ocean. In addition, the cooperation within the so-called "Quad", the cooperation in the maritime security policy area between India, the United States, Australia and Japan, has to be expanded. This could be a cornerstone in creating a security architecture in the region. Accordingly, India should also strive for developing this association further so that other states such as South Korea, Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia become part of this security framework. In addition, India must also pursue the strengthening of its own capabilities, which would be very costly. Politically, India should, under no circumstances, pursue a policy of appeasement towards China because this is not promising due to China's hegemonic and dominant efforts. However, China must be included in multilateral forums, as a sustainable security architecture cannot be created without China in the Indo-Pacific. In view of the economic interdependencies, it became clear how strongly China and the USA as well as India and the USA depend on each other.


Philipp Huchel

Publication series

Event Reports


India, December 13, 2017


Peter Rimmele

Resident Representative India

Peter Rimmele
Phone +91 11 26113520
Fax +91 11 45506836
Languages: Deutsch,‎ English,‎ Français,‎ Bahasa Indonesia