Security Challenges
Volume 16, No.3 (2020)

The Neglected Eurasian Dimension of the Indo-Pacific: China, Russia and Central Asia in the Era of BRI

Much commentary and analysis of the Indo-Pacific concept tends to focus on what can defined as the maritime dimensions of this geographical construct. The “Indo-Pacific”, one prominent view suggests, can be understood as an “expansive definition of a maritime super-region centred on South-East Asia, arising principally from the emergence of China and India as outward-looking trading states and strategic actors”. While there are good reasons to question the analytical utility of this regional construct, the key point for policy analysis is that it has become “rooted in political practice” within the strategic and security policies of a range of major powers. Here, for instance, the Australian, United States and Japanese governments’ framing of their strategic policy via the ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific’ label bears the stamp of “practical geopolitical reasoning” that “tends to be of a common-sense type which relies on the narratives and binary distinctions found in societal mythologies”.

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