In any conceptualisation of international politics, be it Western in the form of Machiavellian or Indian in the form of Kautilyan, the concept of alliances remains pertinent. India and China which are often touted as the leaders of the “Asian century” also have adapted the concept to the changing needs of not just the 21st century but to their own domestic necessities. In this context the example of the Pacific Island countries stands out.
Between enormous and overlapping exclusive economic zones (EEZs), ownership over vast and untapped natural resources as well as the lion’s share of the world’s tuna supply, the Pacific Island countries hold the keys to some of the world’s most highly demanded resources. More than being just a potential nexus for business, the Pacific is also of strategic and political importance; and these countries firmly straddle key sea lines of communication (SLOCs), age-old trade routes between Asia and the Americas, and also hold a crucial 12 votes at international multilateral forums (Cook Islands and Niue are the exceptions).
On their part, the Pacific nations are responding to a changing world order by opening dialogue with non-traditional partners. From the Indian perspective, and also that of many other world powers, the Pacific is now open for business, which naturally poses both opportunity and threat.
About the Speaker
Dr. Sriparna Pathak is a Consultant in the Policy Planning and Research Division of the Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi. She is also a Fellow at the South Asia Democratic Forum, Brussels. She is fluent in English, Hindi, Mandarin, Bengali and Assamese. She has previously worked as an Associate Fellow at Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi and Kolkata respectively. Dr. Pathak got her PhD from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and has spent two years in Beijing as an Advanced Research Scholar on a joint scholarship from the Ministry of Human Resources Development, India and the China Scholarship Council. She has written extensively on China’s economy, India- China relations and China’s international relations in books, journals, and national dailies.