The Indo-Pacific which is a predominantly (but not exclusively) maritime space connecting three continents, is fast emerging as the most important geopolitical region in the world, including as it does, an economically resurgent Asia. Despite a recent tendency to promote inward-looking nationalism and to abandon globalisation, the transnational interests of countries have moved well beyond the strict geographical categorisations of earlier times. Consequently, it is, today, neither practical nor useful to view various Asian sub-regions as isolated entities as was the case in times gone by. We are witnessing a reconceptualisation of this region, wherein the historical view of the Indo-Pacific as a single, cohesive geopolitical entity is being restored, and its horizontal and vertical interconnections, which encompass a wide swath of economics, connectivity and culture, are increasingly recognised as being of the utmost importance to the world.
For India, the term ‘Indo-Pacific’ reflects the core conceptual, spatial and temporal framework that underpins the country’s engagement with its external environment. It is not, in and of itself, a strategy but is, rather, an articulation of India’s proximate ‘strategic geography’. While the Indo-Pacific is a predominantly maritime regional construct, it is not exclusively so. As such, it accommodates both littoral States and hinterland or landlocked ones within its ambit. In spatial terms, it extends from the Indian Ocean littoral of Africa to our West, encompassing the seas fringing the Indian Ocean and proceeding eastward, incorporating the seas bordering the Pacific Ocean, to the western littoral of the Americas, and from the southern littoral of Asia proceeding southward to the continental landmass of Antarctica.