The Indo-Pacific region encompassing almost 40 countries and two-thirds of the world’s population, has become the geopolitical and geoeconomic centre of gravity over the last decade. Quite naturally therefore, it is a theatre of both cooperation and contestation among regional and extra-regional global powers. It is also witness to the pulls and pressures of varied approaches to economic development and cooperation led by global powers. Moreover, the dominance of a security-based narrative in visions of the region has raised questions about how effectively nations can cooperate to deal with sustainable development challenges. This region has also been facing the brunt of climate contingencies, along with various crises in Europe and South Asia such as the war in Ukraine and economic collapse in Sri Lanka and Afghanistan.
In the Indo-Pacific, development cooperation is no longer just a moral priority, but also a global and national security imperative. Development cooperation can therefore be a powerful tool for diplomacy, allowing donor countries to build relationships with recipient countries, promote economic and social development, support political and social reforms, address global challenges, and promote regional integration and cooperation while focusing on resilience, sustainability, and inclusivity in the development strategies for the region. In addition, amidst the ongoing regional and global flux, devising innovative and out-of-the-box financing mechanisms is the need of the hour. The pandemic has made it imperative that alternative and additional modes of financing development be found, and cooperative mechanisms to address shared problems be devised. There is also a fresh understanding, post-pandemic, of how the shared burdens of the global commons affect the development and security constraints of each individual nation.