Event ReportsPublished on Jun 30, 2014
All the major powers in the Asia Pacific region are ramping up their defence budgets and modernising their militaries. They are also building coalitions with each other through defence partnerships agreements and ports calls.
Major powers in Asia Pacific strengthening militaries
The Asia Pacific region is today the most economically dynamic region in the world. The balance of global politics is also shifting towards this region. In this context, Observer Research Foundation (ORF) and the Experimental Creative Center (ECC), Moscow organised a conference on ’Prospects for the Asia-Pacific Region’ from June 30-July 1, 2014. The conference, which was held as part of the ongoing collaboration between ORF and the ECC, took place in Moscow. Some of the important themes discussed at the conference were: ’Understanding the historic influences and contemporary flash points in the region’, ’Military and political strategies of the great powers in the region’, ’Regional geo-economics and its impact on regional politics’ and ’Demographic drivers and their role in shaping national agendas in the region’. Dr Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan from ORF and Michail Dmitriev from ECC spoke in the first session. Both drew upon history to show how past grievances have now developed into flash points in the Asia Pacific. Some cases which were taken up were South and East China Seas, the Taiwan issue, the India-Chain border issue and the tensions between China and Japan and China and South Korea. Dr Uma Purushothaman from ORF and Andrey Arkhipov from the ECC spoke in the second session. The two speakers outlined the military and political strategies of countries such as the US, India, China, Russia and Japan. They agreed that all the major powers in the region were ramping up their defence budgets and modernising their militaries. At the same time, they are building coalitions with each other through defence partnerships agreements and ports calls. It was hoped that there would be no miscalculations leading to conflict in the region. The issue of ’Regional geo-economics and its impact on regional politics’ was dealt with by Vivan Sharan from ORF and Yury Byaly from ECC. The two speakers spoke about the surge in Regional Trading Agreements and their impact on the Asia Pacific economies. The impact of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) was also discussed. Vera Sorokina from ECC and Dr. Niranjan Sahoo from ORF addressed the issue of ’Demographic Drivers and their Roles in shaping National Agendas in the Indo-Pacific Region’. It was pointed out that the region is going through an interesting demographic trend. While some countries like Russia, Japan and China have negative demographic trends, others like India and Indonesia have a positive trend. This will have an impact on how their economies perform in the coming years as well as on their national power. Therefore, there is a need for countries to re-evaluate their immigration policies. This will further help bring about greater integration of the region. The conference was chaired by Mr. Nandan Unnikrishnan and Mr. Yury Byaly and saw attendance from several Russian experts. The next round of the ECC-ORF dialogue will be held in India in March 2015. (This report is prepared by Dr Uma Purushothaman, Associate Fellow, Observer Research Foundation)
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