Day 60 – Q 1. How are strategic alliances taking shape in the Indo-Pacific region? What are the underlying factors of the evolving alliances? Examine. 

  • IASbaba
  • August 18, 2020
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GS 2, International Relations, TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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1. How are strategic alliances taking shape in the Indo-Pacific region? What are the underlying factors of the evolving alliances? Examine. 

भारतप्रशांत क्षेत्र में रणनीतिक गठबंधन कैसे आकार ले रहे हैं? विकसित गठबंधनों के अंतर्निहित कारक क्या हैं? जांच करें।

Demand of the question:

It expects candidates to write about the way in which strategic alliances are taking shape in Indo-Pacific region. It also expects to mention the reasons  for evolution of such alliance in detail.


Strategic Alliances are formed between two or more countries to counter a common adversary. They have been an important research focus in the theory of international relations. It is basically a relationship in which both nations have common interests of security, defence and investment.


First time, the term ‘Indo Pacific’ was used by the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Indian soil in 2007. Then, he said that there is a connection between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. Indo-Pacific is strategic central  location on one of the busiest maritime trade route of economic significance and wide variety of biodiversity existing in this region. Hence, many of the strategic alliances are taking shape in the Indo-Pacific region as follows:

  • India and the US entered into a Strategic Partnership in 2004, strategic partnership became the building block of a deeper bilateral relationship that now included civil nuclear activities, civil space programmes, high technology trade and missile defence.
  • India and Australia have stepped up bilateral relations to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and have concluded nine arrangements including Mutual Logistics Support for their militaries amid China’s aggression in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • India and Japan established a ‘Strategic and Global Partnership’ in 2006. Japan’s appreciation of India as a strategic partner stems out of the geopolitical concerns it faces with regard to China’s rise and the North Korean threat.
  • India also has strategic partnership with Indonesia. “Shared Vision of Maritime Cooperation in the Indo Pacific region” with Indonesia has been signed. Also India-Malaysia relations have made impressive strides in recent years through strategic partnerships.
  • The Indo–Pacific democracies of Japan, Indonesia, India and the Republic of Korea are of first order importance to Australia, both as major bilateral partners in their own right and as countries that will influence the shape of the regional order.
  • A ‘Special Strategic Partner’ of Australia, Japan is a democratic, trade-oriented nation with which Australia shared values and interests, including through Australia’s alliances with the United States.
  • The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue is an informal strategic forum between the United States, Japan, Australia and India that is maintained by semi-regular summits, information exchanges and military drills between member countries.
  • Here QUAD is emerged as a formation of special strategic importance in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Also the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), is an international organisation consisting of 22 states bordering the Indian Ocean. Some of its member countries also border the pacific ocean.

Underlying factors for evolution of such Alliances:

  • If any region is resource rich then disputes can occur between countries over access to such resources. For instance, Indo-pacific region is  very rich region in terms of natural resources (fisheries, oil, gas) as well as mineral resources.
  • Strategic central location for suitability of trade and affordable way to access to transport can play a role. For example, About 3.5 trillion dollars international trade flows through the South China Sea.
  • Trade of some of the major economies like China, Japan, Korea or the west coast of the United States goes through the South China Sea.
  • Any country can be heavily relied upon the  major trade route. For instance, About 50% of India’s trade is conducted through the South China Sea. 
  • Also many naval exercises of different Nations such as  the United States, countries of ASEAN, Japan, Korea and Vietnam are conducted in this region.
  • To contain the assertion of one county: Economically, China is leading the Indo-pacific region. Also, in general, China has a record of making countries fall into line with it either through warnings or by giving bribe in the form of investment. 
  • China is claiming larger part of South China sea as their own which comes under the maritime boundaries of other countries.
  • Hence, due these kind of varied reasons such strategic alliances come in to picture.


Indo-Pacific region due to its centrality holds immense trade and resource potential. Hence, it becomes imperative to form strategic alliances in those regions which are pivotal for growth and survival of Nation. The alliances should also be formed in such a way that they are mutually beneficial to each other.

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