Recently making a strategic move, India has set up an Indo-Pacific division in Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). This division is the brainchild of current foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale. This new division is intended to give a coherent architecture to the policy, which was articulated by the PM Modi at the Shangri-La Dialogue in 2018.
- Currently, this division will be headed by join secretary Vikram Doraiswami, for whom it will be an additional charge apart from Bangladesh and Myanmar.
- The territorial divisions of External Affairs ministry are crucial for policy making, so the creation of an Indo-Pacific division is a mammoth step by the government.
- The rationale behind this division is to integrate the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), ASEAN region and the QUAD to the Indo-Pacific table. Till now, it’s not clear whether the different trilateral groupings in the Indo-Pacific region like the India-Japan-US, India-Australia-Indonesia and India-Australia-Japan would be part of this division’s responsibility.
- This move by India has come after the US renamed its Pacific Command to the Indo-Pacific Command last year as it seeks to give significance to its Indo-Pacific policy.
- India is also planning to lay down greater energy to the IORA because the heart of its Indo-Pacific policy is deep-rooted in the Indian Ocean. This will also help in integrating the blue economy part of the Indian policy with the security part which is a trilateral security apparatus among India, Sri-Lanka and the Maldives.
♦ Minister: Sushma Swaraj,
♦ Constituency: Vidisha in MP
About Shangri-La Dialogue
♦ The Shangri-La Dialogue is an inter-governmental security forum held annually by an independent think tank, the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Singapore.
♦ The Shangri-La Dialogue has evolved into a keystrategic gathering of the Asia-Pacific region.
♦ It is attended by defence ministers, permanent heads of ministries and military chiefs of Asia-Pacific countries.
About Indian Ocean Rim Association
♦ The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) is an inter-governmental organization which was established on 7 March 1997.
♦IORA is a dynamic organisation of 22 Member States and 9 Dialogue Partners.