China’s rising assertiveness and uncertainties about America’s response to it are causing middle powers in Indo-Pacific Asia to look beyond traditional approaches to security. India, Australia, Japan and some ASEAN countries are expanding security cooperation with each other. The next step should be the creation of ‘middle power coalitions’: informal arrangements where regional players cooperate with one another on strategic issues, working in self-selecting groups that do not include China or the United States. Areas of cooperation could include security dialogues, intelligence exchanges, military capacity building, technology sharing, agenda setting for regional forums and coordinated diplomatic initiatives to influence both US and Chinese strategic calculations. This would build regional resilience against the vagaries of US-China relations, including against the extremes either of conflict or collusion. It would also reinforce the multipolar quality of the emerging Indo-Pacific order, encouraging leaders due to meet soon, India and Australia are well placed to form the core of this middle power coalition building.
|Commissioning body||Lowy Institute|
|Publication status||Published - 2014|