The evolution of the ‘Indo-Pacific’ concept in regional foreign policy discourse has been one of the most interesting phenomena of the last two decades. It is fascinating because we have seen a concept move from a foreign policy speech by a Japanese politician develop to an approach towards regional dynamics adopted by a number of different states. The concept has also intersected a number of geographical areas, a number of different disciplines (geopolitics, maritime security, trade and development), and a range of nation-states.
Nevertheless, many of the foreign policy elites and academics see it through one or another of these prisms, bringing to the concept their own fears, expectations, and objectives. For the so-called Quad or Quadrilateral members – Australia, Japan, India, and the United States – it has been a reactive policy, one that is both in opposition to, and balanced against, Chinese geo-strategic ambitions, which have been manifest in the Belt and Road Initiative and Maritime Silk Road.
One can also see this reactive element in how Taiwan and the UK have begun to adopt to the Indo-Pacific construct. While it is tempting to view these various policy baskets as ‘containment’ of China, this would be misguided. As international relations scholars are apt to point out, it is the drivers to policy – rather than policy itself – that reveal the truest understanding of state behaviour. This paper, which brings together a collection of essays written by individuals based in members of the Quad, is an attempt to make sense of those drivers.Read Full Report