Episode 5: Australia’s Indo-Pacific Approach: Principles and Partnerships

 This week, Veerle is joined by Professor Rory Medcalf, Head of the National Security College at the Australian National University and internationally-recognised thought leader for his work on the Indo-Pacific concept of the Asian strategic environment, as articulated in his 2020 book Contest for the Indo-Pacific (released internationally as Indo-Pacific Empire).

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

External Author | Former RUSI Senior Research Fellow, Asia-Pacific

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Aaditya Dave

Former Research Analyst, South Asia

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