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The Editorial Analysis: Dealing with the Indo- Pacific is Not Easy


Indo Pacific region UPSC: Relevance

  • GS 2: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.


Indo Pacific Economic Framework UPSC: Context

  • Recently, the US president Joseph Biden concluded his recent five-day visit to Asia.
  • As soon as he reached US, North Korea test-fired three ballistic missiles even as it is preoccupied with a ‘fever’ in the country.
  • Chinese and Russian fighter jets carried out joint flights over the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea.


US in the Indo-Pacific region

  • South Korea said that it would expand the presence of a U.S. missile defence system in the country.
  • In Japan, the administration promised the US president that it was ready to do away with its long-standing 1% GDP ceiling for annual defence spending.
  • In a press conference, the US president rather gave a more forceful statement that the U.S. would intervene militarily to defend Taiwan if it came under attack from China.


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Tensions in Indo-Pacific region

  • South Korea and Japan face regular nuclear and missile threats from North Korea.
  • China not only challenges international maritime laws in the South China Sea, but also confronts Japan over the Senkaku Islands.
  • Six nations, including China and Taiwan, are involved in the dispute over the Spratly Islands, which are supposedly sitting on vast reserves of oil and natural gas.
  • China has vigorously militarised some portions of the disputed isles, islets and coral reefs; and countries like Vietnam and the Philippines are anxious not to be left behind.


Indo-Pacific Economic Framework

  • Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) was established with Australia, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam to emphasise on China.
  • The IPEF will work on fine-tuning four major pillars: standards and rules for digital trade; resilient supply chains; green energy commitments; and fair trade.
  • However, concerns are being raised that while the IPEF may be a good idea, there is discontent that the framework does not address issues of trade and tariffs.


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Focussing on China

  • Whether it is in East, Southeast or South Asia, every country has its own unique relationship with China.
  • South Korea and Japan or even Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) are part of a strong American security/strategic partnership but will be keen on maintaining their economic status with China.
  • India may be a part of the Quad, but is quite mindful that it is the only country in the group that shares a land border with China which is laced with disputes.


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