The Indo Pacific: An Australian Perspective
About the Seminar
The lecture will trace the drivers behind the shift from the Asia Pacific to the Indo Pacific as the primary framework for Australia’s strategic thinking. At its heart the Indo Pacific reflects two propositions. First, that the maritime environment is likely to be the primary focus of strategic planning and strategic competition over the next decades. Secondly, that India’s strategic focus will over this period shift well beyond India’s immediate neighbourhood and embed India in the strategic dynamics of the Asia Pacific in a way it has not in the post war period. The idea of the Asia Pacific needs to adapt better to accommodate these two propositions.
For now, the Indo side of the Indo Pacific is really just India and it is more about bringing India to the Asia Pacific than stretching the footprint of Australia’s primary strategic focus all the way to the western reaches of the Indian Ocean. Over time, more structure and integration may evolve in the Indian Ocean such that it might become a coherent strategic system akin to its counterpart in the western Pacific. The Indo Pacific is also where China’s ambition to become the predominant
strategic power will have the most impact. That raises the broader question of how the region will respond including whether balancing China will be at the centre of a new strategic equilibrium in the region.
About the Speaker
Peter Varghese is Chancellor at The University of Queensland and serves on several corporate boards. Prior to his university appointment, Mr Varghese was the Secretary of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Mr Varghese has served as Australia’s High Commissioner to India and Malaysia, was Director General of Australia’s peak intelligence agency, the Office of National Assessments, and also served as the senior international adviser to Prime Minister John Howard. Mr Varghese was educated at The University of Queensland, graduating in 1977 with a Bachelor of Arts with first class honours and a University Medal in history.