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CIPOD-SSPS jointly organizes two day conference

India, China and the US Pivot to Asia
Room 203, School of International Studies,
Jawaharlal Nehru University,
New Delhi
Inaugural Session: 10:00am to 11am
Chair: Professor C S R Murthy, CIPOD, JNU
Welcome Remarks: Professor Anuradha Chenoy, Dean, SIS, JNU
Introducing the Seminar: Professor Pradeep Taneja, SSPS, UM,
Special Remarks: Professor S K Sopory, Vice Chancellor, JNU (tbc)
Vote of Thanks: Professor Swaran Singh, CIPOD, JNU
Tea Break: 11:00am to 11:30am
Session One: 11:30am to 01:00pm
Theme: Geopolitics of US Pivot to Asia
Chair: Professor Timothy Lynch, SSPS, UM, Melbourne
US Pivot to Asia: Geopolitical Re-production of Indo-Pacific
by Dr. Krishnendra Meena, CIPOD, SIS, JNU
US Pivot to Asia: Rationale, Contestations and Challenges
by Professor Chintamani Mahapatra, CCUSLAS, SIS, JNU
Lunch Break: 01:00pm to 02pm
Session Two: 02:00pm to 03:15pm
Chair: Dr. Jayati Srivastava, CIPOD, SIS
Chinas Indian Ocean Strategy and Indias Response in the Context of
the U.S. Pivot to Asia
by Dr. Rajat Ganguly, SSPS, UM, Melbourne
Role of Indian Navy in the Indo-Pacific Region: A Perspective
Mr. Kush Kumar Gayasen, PhD Scholar, CIPOD, SIS
Tea Break: 3:15pm to 03:30pm
Session Three: 03:30pm to 4:45pm
Theme: China and the US Pivot to Asia
Chair: Professor Patricia Uberoi
Australia, China and the US Pivot to Asia
by Professor Pradeep Taneja, SSPS, UM, Melbourne
Strategic Rebalancing of Asia: Power and Principles; A Perspective
from China
by Dr Dolla Varaprasad Sekhar
September 2014
Session Four: 10:00am to 11:15am
Theme: India and the US Pivot to Asia
Chair: Prof Pradeep Taneja, SSPS, UM, Melbourne
Bush, Obama, India, China: continuity or change?
Timothy J. Lynch, SSPS, UM, Melbourne
India and the Indo-Pacific
By Professor G V C Naidu, CIPS, SIS, JNU
Tea Break: 11:15am to 11:30am
Concluding Session: 11:30am to 12:30pm
Theme: Open House Discussion and Conclusions
Chair: Dr. Reena Marwah, General Secretary, AAS
Speakers: Professor Pradeep Taneja, Professor Swaran Singh
Closing with Lunch
US Pivot to Asia: Geopolitical Re-production of Indo-Pacific
Dr. Krishnendra Meena
Geographical names could be produced or re-
produced at any site within three registers (popular,
practical and formal) through the geopolitical actors
for whom such nomenclature serves a geopolitical
purpose. These names are then embedded,
reinforced and established by their continuous use
and proliferation by geopolitical actors again
located within the three registers of critical
geopolitics. Often, these geopolitical categories do
not have a sound and valid geographical basis, for example, the Asia-
Pacific, but such terms take root through production of geographical
knowledge which promotes the interest of certain dominant producers
who hold the resources to create these knowledges.
The re-imagination of the space extending from the eastern coast of Africa
in the Indian Ocean to the western littorals of the Pacific as Indo-Pacific
displays such biases associated with the production and understanding of
the international space. The paper will examine the term from its origin
in bio-geography in the nineteenth century to its contemporary usage by
the main geopolitical actors in the Indo-Pacific. The paper argues that
the term in effect is a geopolitical code for China. The major promoter
1. Assistant Professor, Political Geography Division, Centre for International Politics,
Organization and Disarmament, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru
University, New Delhi 110067. Email:
states which have continually used the term in their political and academic
discourse are Japan and Australia.
The author argues that Chinas emergence as a strong economic power as
well its maritime disputes in the South and East China Seas play a critical
role in such formulation of the Indo-Pacific space by the two states which
could indicate an encirclement strategy by Japan, Australia and India.
On the other hand, the paper will also try to engage with the validity of
the term through the climatic classification proposed by Wladimir
Koeppen in 1936.
US Pivot to Asia: Rationale, Contestations and Challenges
Chintamani Mahapatra
Ever since 2011 speech by President Barack Obama
at the Australian Parliament, the US strategy of
pivot to Asia has drawn attention of the
international academic community as well as policy
makers in Asia. Researchers have, of course, found
that this strategy is older than 2011 and that a policy
shift towards Asia has been unfolding even before
Obama occupied the Oval Office.
When this term evoked negative reactions in Europe and West Asia and
China responded with a bit of anger and disappointment, Washington
conveniently shifted to rephrase the strategy as rebalancing. Even this
new term has provoked diverse reactions within the US and from many
countries in the Asia Pacific region.
What exactly is the rationale behind the announcement of such a strategy
by the Obama Administration? Can one safely accept the official
2. Prof. Chintamani Mahapatra is currently Chairperson of the Centre for Canadian,
US & Latin American Studies, School of International Studies, JNU. He is also editor
of the Indian Foreign Affairs Journal. He was recently Tagore Chair Professor at
Yunnan University of China and previously Fulbright Scholar at University of
Delaware, Advanced Seminar Fellow at University of Maryland and Commonwealth
Scholar at University of London. Prof. Mahapatra regularly lectures at Army and
Navy War Colleges, Foreign Service Institute and various Academic Staff Colleges.
He has published extensively in the form of books, journal articles, newspaper
commentaries and web articles on international affairs. He is also a frequent
commentator on audio-visual media.
justification? Should one seek to discover the hidden meaning by
deconstructing the policy pronouncement? It is not for nothing that the
Chinese Defense Minister advised the Obama Administration to
rebalance its rebalancing strategy away from overly focusing on
China has contested this US initiative by responding in both subtle and
muscular ways to prevent the US from perpetuating its hegemony in Asia?
Some regional countries, particularly traditional allies of the US, have
begun to contest the Chinese responses by openly welcoming the American
rebalancing strategy, while others have failed to take a clear-cut position
on this.
A complex Cold War between China and the US can be deciphered from
the actions of the existing superpower and the emerging superpower
reflecting a contest for influence in the Asian space. A new Cold War has
also started between the US and Russia further complicating Asian politics
and security. How has India responded to these developments? What
should be Indias responses? The paper will attempt an analysis of these
Chinas Indian Ocean Strategy and Indias Response in the
Context of the U.S. Pivot to Asia
Rajat Ganguly
Since the end of the cold war, China has steadily
increased its naval footprint in the Indian Ocean.
The PLA Navy, utilising its blue water capability,
now routinely patrols the high seas in the India
Ocean. Chinese submarine activity has also steadily
grown. Moreover, Beijing has actively sought to
obtain port facilities from a number of littoral states
such as Myanmar, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Chinas
string-of-pearls policy in the Indian Ocean has
3. Dr Rajat Ganguly is based in the School of Management & Governance at Murdoch
University, Australia. An expert in international security and Asian politics, he is
particularly interested in identity politics and ethnic conflict, insurgent and terrorist
violence, foreign and security policy analysis, human rights, and conflict management.
Geographically, his interest and expertise is in South, Southeast and Southwest Asian
naturally raised New Delhi and Washingtons suspicions. The Indian
government has responded by fast-tracking Indias naval modernisation
and expansion, holding bilateral consultations and joint naval exercises
with the U.S. and other Asian states, and roping in several states from the
Asia-Pacific region into an informal alliance. Consequently, the Indian
Ocean has become a zone of great tension, which could potentially lead
to conflict between Chinese and American/Indian navies. In this paper, I
try to answer the following questions: Why is the Indian Ocean important
to Chinas strategic thinking? What are the strategic implications of
Chinas Indian Ocean strategy for India and the United States and how
have they responded to Chinas growing naval presence in the Indian
Ocean? What is the likelihood of a major confrontation between China
and India/US in the Indian Ocean in the foreseeable future?
Role of Indian Navy in the Indo-Pacific Region: A Perspective
Kush Kumar Gayasen
With the emergence of globalization, economic
cooperation as also catering to national security
challenges are no longer confined to national
borders or smaller regions. Various regional
arrangements have also since been expanding to
encompass larger frameworks. In the same vein,
the new geopolitical construct of Indo-Pacific has
come to occupy a central place in the lexicons of
the major powers discourses in this region.
politics and international affairs. He has worked at universities in Australia, United
Kingdom, New Zealand and the United States, and has held prestigious research
fellowships at universities in India and Canada. He is the editor of the Journal of
Asian Security and International Affairs (Sage Publications; web link: http:// and is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of South
Asian Development(Sage Publications; web link: His most
recent book is Autonomy and Ethnic Conflict in South and South-East Asia(Routledge
4. Author is PhD Scholar at Centre for International Politics, Organization
and Disarmament, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru
University, New Delhi
This new concept highlights the increasing inter-connectedness between
the Indian Ocean with the Western Pacific due to their ever growing
economic, political and strategic significance. It is in this context that the
rising interest of India and its growing economic and military stature
have made it a vital player in the Indo-Pacific debates.
Particularly, rapidly growing interest, responsibilities and reach of the
Indian Navy make it a net security provider in the maritime affairs of the
region. Indias maritime trade is its all time high, expanding across
countries of both the Indian and Western Pacific Ocean. This has led to a
growing maritime consciousness with emphasizes on securing energy
routes, use of naval diplomacy and engagements with east and Southeast
Asian states, participating in regional institutions, counterterrorism, anti-
piracy and disaster relief etc.
Arguably, India is the most strategically located nation in the Indian Ocean
region. It has lately geared up its maritime preparedness to maximize its
growing maritime interests. Indias maritime operational capabilities have
gained a more proactive role in the recent past. The enunciation of Indias
maritime doctrines in 2004 and thereafter reflects a transformation in
Indias maritime strategy for the first time in its long naval traditions.
There is also a sharp rise in its naval expenditure with greater focus on
procuring latest advance naval equipments for its naval inventory.
Apparently, Indian Navy, by endorsing the Indian Ocean Naval
Symposium, participating in multilateral-regional institutions, frequent
joint naval exercises and strategic-diplomatic collaborations with littoral
states has gradually strengthened its presence in the Indo-Pacific region
to face proliferating traditional and non-traditional challenges and to
maximize Indias maritime interests.
It is against this backdrop that this paper attempts to underline the
economic, political and strategic interests of India in the Indo-Pacific
region. More importantly, it examines the role of Indian Navy in
safeguarding such interests in the light of its rising profile and strength
and weaknesses.
Australia, China and the US Pivot to Asia
Pradeep Taneja
This paper looks at the ways in which Australia has
responded to two interrelated developments: the rise
of China and the decision by the Obama
administration to pivot or rebalance to Asia. While
most countries in the Indo-Pacific region are
grappling with the rise of China as an economic
and strategic power, Australia faces a particularly
acute challenge in balancing its relationships with
its largest trading partner and its most important
security partner. Some influential figures in Australia have been
counselling the Australian government to either abandon the US alliance
or at least try to persuade the United States to be more accommodating of
China by giving up its primacy in the region. But politicians from both
the major political parties in Australia continue to argue that Australia
does not face a choice between an ever closer economic relationship
with China and its traditional security partnership with the United States.
Instead, Australias response has been to deepen its engagement with
both. On the one hand, Australia welcomed the US pivot to Asia and
agreed to host up to 2500 US marines in Darwin on a rotational basis. On
the other hand, it vowed to enhance cooperation with China on a range of
issues, including a strategic partnership and an annual leaders meeting
5. Dr Pradeep Taneja is a specialist in Asian politics and international relations
in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne,
where he is also a Fellow of the Australia India Institute and an Associate of
the Centre for Contemporary Chinese Studies. Earlier, he was Director of
International Programs in the Graduate School of Management at La Trobe
University. Pradeeps current research interests include: the rise of China
and India as regional and global powers; Sino-Indian relations; democracy
and development; energy security policies of China and India; and, the nexus
between politics and business in China. Pradeeps books and monographs
include China Since 1978 (with Colin Mackerras and Graham Young) and
The European Union and China: Interests and Dilemmas (edited with Georg
Wiessala and John Wilson). He has also contributed to the Dictionary of
Chinese Politics and the Encyclopedia of Modern China and published
numerous book chapters and scholarly articles in a number of international
journals, including International Politics, South Asia: Journal of South Asian
Studies and Asia Policy.
between the two countries. In this paper, I argue that Australia will become
increasingly more sensitive to Chinas concerns but it is unlikely to
abandon its security alliance with the United States.
Strategic Rebalancing of Asia:
Power and Principles; A Perspective from China
Dr Dolla Varaprasad Sekhar
The Asian theatre of global politics has recently
begun to witness a novel phenomenon of
rebalancing, particularly in the calculus of US
necessitating some sort of revisiting the nature,
depth and breadth of power and principles in Asia.
The proposition that global politics as a site of
contestation between power and principles is an
understatement. As global politics is going through
a paradigm shift in its trajectory the relationship
between power and principles enters a new phase.
At the heart of this process is China, with its remarkable rise in
international politics that could have major implications not only for Asia
but also for the rest of the world. While one can contest the scale but not
the reality of Chinas rise. The rise of China, however, requires to be
juxtaposed to what one can call the beginning of the simultaneous rise of
other powers such as India, Brazil and South Africa. Crucial to this process
is also how China views itself and responds to these processes.
6. Author is Chairperson, Centre for East Asian Studies, School of International
Studies, Jawaharalal Nehru University, New Delhi. He is former Asia Fellow
and specialises on Science and Technology sectors of China
Bush, Obama, India, China: continuity or change?
Timothy J. Lynch
This paper compares and contrasts the India and
China policies of George W. Bush and Barack
Obama. Despite widely held predictions that
Obama would transform (or at least pivot) US
foreign policy, his approach to Asias great powers
has been more conventional than revolutionary. By
analysing what his predecessor wrought, the paper
aims to understand and explain how far (and how
little) Obama has altered American relations with
India and China. Four levels of analysis are deployed: personnel, rhetoric,
diplomacy, and geostrategy. At each, India and China policy (and that
obtaining toward Asia and the Indo-Pacific more generally) are assessed.
The paper argues that whilst cosmetic differences are apparent, the
substance of US policy toward the region, from 2001 to the present,
represents far more continuity than change. The paper concludes by
advancing reasons why this is the case.
7. Associate Professor Timothy J. Lynch is the Director of the Graduate School
of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Melbourne. He teaches
two popular electives on the Master of International Relations (Great Power
Rivalry and US Foreign Policy). His recent books include After Bush: the
Case for Continuity in American Foreign Policy (Cambridge, 2008) and US
Foreign Policy and Democracy Promotion (Routledge, 2013). He is editor-
in-chief of the two-volume Oxford Encyclopedia of American Military and
Diplomatic History (2013).
India and the Indo-Pacific
G V C Naidu
The rise of India and rapidly increasing geostrategic
and geo-economic significance of the Indian Ocean,
on one hand, and the growing interface and
interdependence between the Pacific and Indian
Ocean, on the other, have given rise to the Indo-
Pacific. Although the conception Indo-Pacific
appears to be of recent origin, it has a long history.
Notwithstanding mixed reactions that it has evoked,
it is gaining salience as apposite framework of
analysis to understand the emerging dynamics in a rapidly changing
politico-economic environment.
The emergence of Asia as the global centre of gravity is not merely due
to the emergence of China and India as great powers but because the
entire region is witnessing unprecedented economic dynamism. If the
current century were to be the Asian century as some have predicted,
then the Indian Ocean is a key cog in that. Concomitantly, the political
and security spheres too are undergoing remarkable transformation. As a
result, the barriers that segregated the sub-regions within the vast Indo-
Pacific region are fast breaking down leading to the emergence of one
large geographic entity comprising the East Indian Ocean and the West
Pacific Ocean.
Contrary to the misperceptions that the idea of Indo-Pacific is invented
to contain China or that it marginalises Southeast Asia, China will remain
a significant player in the new discourse and Southeast Asias geostrategic
importance will be further enhanced. Surely, the Indo-Pacific will push
India into greater prominence but it would also entail greater
responsibility; expectations will go up as a security provider and also
become a key player in the emerging regional balance of power. Besides
bringing the maritime sub-regions into sharp focus, a major upside of
employing the Indo-Pacific as a tool of analysis is that its expansive
geostrategic space offers great powers to accommodate each others
8. Professor G V C Naidu is Chairperson of Center for Indo-Pacific Studies,
School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
Dr Naidu is formerly Research Fellow of the Institute for Defence Studies
and Analyses, New Delhi. Email: