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Indo-Pacific Centrality and Multilateralism in Uncertime Times / Dewi FORTUNA ANWAR

Asia’s Post-Pandemic Order and Integration : Outlook of ASEAN and the Indo-Pacific at Crossroads

An Indonesian Perpsective on the Indo-Pacific Centrality and Multilateralism in Uncertime Times
Dewi FORTUNA ANWAR, Research Center for Politics Indonesian Institute of Sciences (Jakarta)

Indonesia has embraced the concept of the Indo-Pacific region, which integrates the Indian and Pacific Oceans into one geostrategic space, with enthusiasm. Propelled by the aspiration to make Indonesia into a global maritime fulcrum on the one hand, and faced with the plethora of initiatives on the Indo-Pacific from the other countries on the other, the Joko Widodo government has taken the lead in drafting the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP). While initially Indonesia’s interest in the Indo-Pacific was perceived to be a move away from ASEAN, the AOIP shows Indonesia’s continuing commitment to ASEAN as the cornerstone of its foreign policy. The AOIP emphasizes ASEAN centrality in managing relations with dialogue partners, underlining the principles of openness, transparency and inclusivity. At the same time, in a multiplex world with varied challenges, however, Indonesia has also pursued bilateral and mini-lateral initiatives, reflecting the limits of ASEAN centrality.


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Session 3 / The Indo-Pacific from Southeast Asian Perspectives : Centrality and Multilateralism in Uncertain Times
Chair : Dr Stéphane DOVERT, Founder of IRASEC

The Indo-Pacific considered as a maritime “super-region” acknowledge the fact that the Indian Ocean has replaced the Atlantic as the globe’s busiest and most strategically significant trade corridor, whose geographical center in Southeast Asia. The “ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific” in 2019 asserted the “ASEAN Centrality” and its willingness to weigh as a significant player in the Indo-Pacific changing landscape, at the heart of new regional dynamics. These last years, ASEAN has defended an alternative position of “dialogue and cooperation, and not rivalry with China” in the context of Trump’s trade disputes and conflicts between US and China. This session questions the Southeast Asia countries and ASEAN multilateral strategy, in the recent changing context with the new Biden administration’s commitment in the Indo-Pacific. And to what extent will ASEAN countries and institutions be able to defend a stable multipolar world order in the Indo-Pacific region without isolating China, and avoid, as during the Cold War, being the center theatre of conflicts ?

“Asia’s Post-Pandemic Order and Integration : Outlook of ASEAN and the Indo-Pacific at Crossroads” is an international conference organized by The Research Institute on Contemporary Southeast Asia (IRASEC-CNRS) with the ASEAN Studies Center (Chulalongkorn University) in Bangkok, and the ASEAN-India Centre (AIC), RIS in New Delhi.
8-9 July 2021 - Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok