The "Indo-Pacific" region is a geo-strategic concept for naming the geo-political-geo-economic region that covers from the west coast of the United States of America to the east coast of the African continent and totally, the countries of the two regions of the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. Thus, 50% of the world's gross production by 2040, 50% of greenhouse gas emissions, 65% of the world's total population, and 37% of the world's poor population, 9 busiest ports in the world with 60% of international maritime trade, 7 of the world's largest armies, and 6 countries with nuclear weapons are available to the countries of the Indo-Pacific region.
In addition, the Indo-Pacific region, as a maritime space and a pivotal region, has become the world's geopolitical power center. Thus, the global power war in the Indo-Pacific region will be the scene of diplomatic maneuvers, multilateral military maneuvers and the implementation of new economic projects, and countries will have to compete to choose reliable partners. The dynamics of the new world order will be shaped by such competitions, which are referred to as the "New Great Game" or the "New Battleground". Undoubtedly, today's international order is characterized by the shift of power and the growth of the multipolar world.
Given that the Indo-Pacific region is the gateway that connects big powers and small countries to the larger world, the Indo-Pacific strategy appears to be the most important tool for expanding economic-commercial interactions for the countries of the Indo-Pacific region and dramatically shape important changes in the geopolitical environment of this region and its surroundings. So that in the background of the competition of great powers and the security of trade and technology, strengthening alliances and coalitions in this region to improve the diplomatic and economic coordination of the United States and its partners is to monitor and control China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Singapore (Four Asian Tigers).
From the West perspective, China seeks to gain military, economic and political influence over large and small island countries throughout the Indo-Pacific region, and thus has created increasing competition among the countries of the region. Hence, based on its national security strategy, the United States intends to turn the island countries of the Indo-Pacific region into a strong balance against China by improving its defense-military-security capabilities. However, the geopolitical priorities of the small island states, which play an crucial role in balancing interests and influence of the great powers, are adopted by the larger powers - sometimes without consultation or on their behalf.
Although many countries, including the United States of America, Australia, Great Britain, France, India, South Korea, Japan, the Philippines, member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations "ASEAN", and even Mongolia, have adopted the Indo-Pacific strategy in their foreign policy, they do not follow the same priority and goals in pursuing this strategy, as they have different attitudes and approaches. However, because the highest international maritime trade, maritime transit of energy, oil and gas, as well as communication lines between Europe and East Asia are taking place in the Indo-Pacific region, each country is trying to strengthen new policies based on the Indo-Pacific strategy for safe and better access in this area.
In general, a big geostrategic game is going on in the Indo-Pacific region with the participation of the United States, China, the European Union, France, the United Kingdom, India, Japan, Australia, the countries of the Oceanic Islands and the countries of East and Southeast Asia. considering that each of these countries has different political and security structures, this issue leads to the emergence of regional-international alliances and agreements based on economic-commercial investments and new security-defense considerations along with the intensification of threats in this region.
Although there is a long history of international cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, the shape of alliances and partnerships is still changing to address to the expansion of China's economic, political and military influence and the "emergence of a new China" in general. Chinese researchers believe that the geopolitical changes caused by the emergence of a new China is the main reason for Washington's efforts to strengthen the alliances in the Indo-Pacific region. Moreover, this strategy is applied to protect the security of the countries of the Indo-Pacific region against China's foreign and security policy, especially the monitoring and control of the country's military bases in the Indian Ocean, including Djibouti, and deepen relations with countries such as Sri Lanka and the Maldives.
Anyway, under the Indo-Pacific strategy, regional and extra-regional countries are trying to gain maximum benefits in this region and follow different strategies as well as they have adopted aggressive positions towards China. For example, India aimed to gain regional hegemony from the beginning and saw the main threat from China, so India is trying to counter it. Japan is also updating its constitution to increase security cooperation with the United States against China. At the same time, the increasing tensions between the United States of America and China and between China and India complicate the security dynamics of the Indian Ocean countries. Hence, there is an urgent need for a coherent approach to establish regional order.
Although many experts believe that the Indo-Pacific strategy is a potential threat to the countries of the region, in many ways it creates economic and commercial drivers, especially since this strategy covers the maritime environment, which provides unique capacities for Iran, which has access to open waters. Due to its location in the most important branch of the Indo-Pacific region (Persian Gulf and Oman Sea), due to its geo-economic power components and unique geo-strategic territories - which its surrounding countries lack -, Iran can establish joint economic relations to expand its international trade links with the Indo-Pacific region. In addition, while reducing commercial barriers in line with the strategic and active interaction program of the business community, Iran can take an effective step in solving internal crises and challenges and consolidate its position at the regional and global level. In addition to expanding bilateral or multilateral cooperation with the countries of the Indo-Pacific region, especially India and China, while strengthening the infrastructure and modernizing the naval fleet and establishing offshore bases, Iran can neutralize the challenges made by competitors and guarantee its national security with the development and stability of the domestic economy.
Maryam Varij Kazemi, Researcher in geopolitical issues
(The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the IPIS)