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Dhaka Tribune

Expert: Countries paying great attention to Indo-Pacific concept

  • Emphasizes roles of Bangladesh, Japan
  • Describes opportunities, challenges
  • Welcomes Bangladesh’s Indo-Pacific outlook announcement
Update : 06 Sep 2023, 05:20 PM

Jimbo Ken, a professor at the Faculty of Policy Management of Japan’s Keio University, has said various countries around the world are paying great attention to the Indo-Pacific concept and enhancing their engagements and collaboration in the region.

The Japanese professor delivered the keynote speech at a seminar on Tuesday, reports UNB.

Prof Jimbo welcomed the announcement of Bangladesh’s Indo-Pacific outlook in April.

The Embassy of Japan in Bangladesh and the Bangladesh Institute of Peace and Security Studies (BIPSS) co-organized the seminar, titled “Free and Open Indo-Pacific: Implications for South Asia Region,” at the Multipurpose Hall of the embassy.

In his presentation, Prof Jimbo noted that the concept of Indo-Pacific emerged in the 2010s as regional concepts of Asia had evolved since the 1980s.

Having said that, he explained, the first officialized version of an Indo-Pacific policy could be traced back to a speech by former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe made at the Tokyo International Conference on African Development in Nairobi, Kenya, in August 2016.

Prof Jimbo also described the opportunities and challenges everyone faced in promoting the concept of Indo-Pacific from security and economic viewpoints.

Meanwhile, Machida Tatsuya, minister and deputy chief of mission, Embassy of Japan in Bangladesh, emphasized that Japan and Bangladesh could play a vital role in materializing a free and open Indo-Pacific under Japan’s new plan for FOIP including an industrial value chain initiative.

BIPSS President Major General (Retd) ANM Muniruzzaman, who moderated the seminar, said the concept of a free and open Indo-Pacific, commonly known as FOIP, had become the epicentre of global geopolitics and geo-economics. 

"It is a vision for a rules-based international order that promotes peace, stability and economic prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region."

He also mentioned that at its core FOIP aimed to ensure that nations could navigate the waters of the Indo-Pacific freely and peacefully adhering to international norms and standards.

"It is a response to the evolving strategic landscape characterized by shifting power dynamics, economic inter-dependence and a growing number of security challenges in the region.”

Dr Lailufar Yasmin, professor and chairperson of the Department of International Relations, Dhaka University, said in this maritime century connectivity and access to sea were seen as central in the management of a country’s future.

“The Indo-Pacific as a region is still evolving. Due to the evolving nature of the region, relationships among the actors are also being redefined and need to be cultivated on an everyday basis,” she said.

Shafqat Munir, a senior research fellow at BIPSS, argued that the free and open Indo-Pacific concept as espoused by Japan would be an important marker in strengthening peace and stability across the region.

New avenues of cooperation opening between Bangladesh and Japan, particularly in the area of security cooperation, would further strengthen “our already strong bilateral relations,” he said.

Bangladesh wanted to see a global system that was just and equitable, where all countries–big and small–could play their rightful role in strengthening a rules-based international system, he added.

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