Ahead of the ‘2+2’ ministerial dialogue between the two countries on Monday, Australia has said its cooperation with India is at the heart of its approach to ensuring the Indo-Pacific remains open, inclusive and resilient.
China’s aggressive posturing against its neighbours is expected to figure prominently at the annual apex-level international conference of the Indian Navy -– the Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue –- which begins here on Wednesday.
The three-day event will include a keynote address by Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar and a series of special addresses by Union ministers and senior officers of the government, designed to provide overarching guidance to the deliberations of this mega conference, the Ministry of Defence said.
The Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue (IPRD) comes close on the heels of the Goa Maritime Conclave 2023, which was conducted by the Indian Navy from October 29-31 in Goa. In terms of conceptual positioning, the Goa Maritime Conclave seeks to project the Indian Navy’s cooperative engagement at the strategic-operational level, by providing a forum for the Chiefs-of-Navy and Heads of Maritime Agencies in the Indian Ocean Region.
The IPRD, on the other hand, is the principal manifestation of the Navy’s international engagement at the strategic-level, addressing ‘holistic’ maritime security issues across the Indo-Pacific.
The first two editions of IPRD were held in 2018 and 2019 respectively at New Delhi. The IPRD 2020 was cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The third edition of IPRD was held in 2021 in online mode and the fourth edition was conducted, reverting to a physical format, at New Delhi in 2022.
The overarching theme of IPRD-2023 is “Geopolitical Impacts upon Indo-Pacific Maritime Trade and Connectivity”. This year’s edition of the IPRD builds upon the previous one, which focussed upon ‘Operationalising the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI)’, by specifically addressing the ‘Trade, Connectivity and Maritime Transport’ pillar of the IPOI. Both ‘Trade’ and ‘Maritime Transport’ are segments of maritime connectivity.
International participation at the dialogue will be through eminent speakers from 16 countries, who are expected to offer diverse regional perspectives on the subject, as also through the presence of representatives of the various embassies and high commissions in New Delhi.