Date: Apr 14, 2020

About the Book

The Indo-Pacific is both a place and an idea. It is the region central to global prosperity and security. It is also a metaphor for collective action. If diplomacy fails, it will be the theatre of the first general war since 1945. But if its future can be secured, the Indo-Pacific will flourish as a shared space, the centre of gravity in a connected world. What we call different parts of the world – Asia, Europe, the Middle East – seems innocuous. But the name of a region is totemic: a mental map that guides the decisions of leaders and the story of international order, war and peace. In recent years, the label ‘Indo-Pacific’ has gained wide use, including among the leaders of the United States, India, Japan, Australia, Indonesia and France. But what does it really mean? Written by a recognised expert and regional policy insider, Contest for the Indo-Pacific is the definitive guide to tensions in the region. It deftly weaves together history, geopolitics, cartography, military strategy, economics, games and propaganda to address a vital question: how can China’s dominance be prevented without war?

About the Author

Rory Medcalf is a professor and Head of the National Security College at the Australian National University. His experience as an Australian diplomat includes postings to New Delhi, Tokyo and Papua New Guinea. He was a senior strategic analyst in Australia’s peak intelligence agency, the Office of National Assessments and was the founding director of the international security program at the Lowy Institute. He has been published widely, including in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, The Economist, The South China Morning Postand, The Hindu, as well as on the ABC, BBC and CNN.


  • Harsh V. Pant, Director of Studies and Head of the Strategic Studies Programme, ORF
  • Indrani Bagchi, Diplomatic Editor, The Times of India
  • Rory Medcalf, Head, National Security College, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific


11:30 to 11:35 Hrs - Welcome Remarks by Chair | Harsh V. Pant 11:35 to 11:55 Hrs - Remarks by the Author | Rory Medcalf 11:55 to 12:05 Hrs - Discussant Remarks | Indrani Bagchi 12:05 to 12:25 Hrs - Moderated Q&A 12:25 to 12:30 Hrs - Closing Remarks by the Chair

This discussion will start at 11:30 a.m. IST.