Episode 4: ASEAN’s Outlook: Maintaining Centrality in the Indo-Pacific

This week, Veerle is joined by Dr. Evan Laksmana, senior researcher at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Jakarta, Indonesia, and Dr. Huong Le Thu, senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s (ASPI) Defence and Strategy Program.

This week, our guests share insights from ASEAN and specific Southeast Asian member states, such as Vietnam and Indonesia, and their assessment of the Indo-Pacific concept. ASEAN has signalled its desire to maintain centrality in the Indo-Pacific through the publication of a position paper. However, challenges lie ahead for the organisation and its member states to achieve this, with changing geopolitical dynamics across the Indo-Pacific region and growing discussions over whether new solutions are needed for existing challenges.

The US election result is likewise likely to have an impact on US-ASEAN relations, following rising Sino-US tensions that have played out in Southeast Asia. Finally, Dr. Laksmana and Dr. Le Thu discuss how ASEAN and some of its member states look towards the UK as a potential partner in Southeast Asia, and the wider Indo-Pacific, given the UK government has placed a great deal of emphasis on deepening engagement with ASEAN, but also flagged an upcoming ‘Indo-Pacific tilt’.

Bridging the Oceans Podcast Series

Bridging the Oceans, hosted by Veerle Nouwens, will explore what the Indo-Pacific is, where its limits lie, and what the fast-evolving defence and security issues are in this dynamic part of the world.

Together with a diverse range of experts, the podcast will also analyse today’s top geopolitical questions in the Indo-Pacific, understand how these are seen within the region itself, and consider how these issues may impact countries outside the region, like the United Kingdom.

Episodes will be published bi-weekly and are part of our Navigating the Indo-Pacific programme.


Veerle Nouwens

Senior Research Fellow, Asia-Pacific

International Security

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Aaditya Dave

Research Analyst, South Asia

International Security

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