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International Conference on
US Rebalance and Asia Pacific Region
(March 6th and 7th, 2014)
CPPR – Centre for Strategic Studies (CSS)
Supported by the
US Consulate Chennai region
Riviera Suites, Kochi, Kerala, India – 682013
Asia Pacific has become a major standpoint in strategic domains with increasing prominence and role of China, Australia, South Korea, Japan and India. As a major power, the United States of America (USA), have always maintained relationships with Asia Pacific countries in varying capacities and have committed to play a major role the region and its future. The Obama government has recently sought to reorient its approach towards Asia-Pacific. In late 2011, President Obama announced his “deliberate and strategic decision” that “as a Pacific nation, the United States will play a larger and long-term role in shaping this region and its future, by upholding core principles and in close partnership with our allies and friends.” The Defense Department’s January 2012 Strategic Guidance elaborated that the United States will “of necessity rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific region” by strengthening existing alliances, engaging new partners, and investing in necessary military capabilities.
There has been a strategic shift in this approach focusing on rebalancing which further need to move towards reinvigorating its earlier relationships with Asia Pacific countries. The strategic rise of China and renewed developments in India has brought in new dimensions to International Strategic relations and it should be in the best interests of countries to develop and strengthen relationships within Asia Pacific region and with US. In the meantime, there is an increased attention given in the approach towards Australia by the US.
There has been a significant rethinking from countries including major powers on their strategic relations given the emergence of developing countries especially in Asia Pacific region. It is in this context that CPPR Centre for Strategic Studies is embarking to develop a knowledge base on Asia Pacific Region focussing on US relations with the region. The context has been explored with a vision to visualise the future road map for strategic relationships between US with the region. This will take into regard the recent developments which have hogged the headlines and those which are of strategic importance to USA and countries even outside the region, for eg: Japan’s positioning on an emerging China power, Indian relationship with Pakistan etc. With the Ukraine crisis having affected US position in the west asia region; experts feel that US needs to bring backs it focus towards Asia Pacific to thwart any threats to their strategic positioning. The resulting strategy for Washington has been to “pivot” or “rebalance” toward the Asia-Pacific, while strengthening existing alliances and partnerships with countries across Asia.
US interests in the region is primarily revolved around four pillars which are stated as the four long term comprehensive pillars; 1) safeguards and expands the free flow of trade and commerce, (2) strengthens U.S. ties with allies and partners, (3) reinforces military posture in the region, and (4) draws on the full range of U.S. diplomatic and national power.
It will be therefore important to analyse how Countries within the region will place itself in their terms with the US and play their cards safely. With a huge economic interest increasingly involved in the relationships with Asia Pacific countries, a rebalancing is seemed to be witnessed. Identifying opportunities to expand bilateral trade that complement the ongoing negotiations toward the multilateral Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) accord is a key component in the whole build up in the region. The concomitant and growing economic and security challenges faced by Asia Pacific Regions and US has become a point of serious engagements at the political and intelligence circles. Moving of troops in Hawaii, Alaska, South Korea and Australia, maritime and naval exercises in Indo-Pacific region; the Indo-Japanese and Australia triad aimed as a counterweight to China, bilateral counter-terrorism and intelligent sharing including Islamic insurgency and terrorism have renewed discussions and brought closer involvement of US in the region. The resultant approach and strategies of countries within the region is yet to involve and deliberated.
The Conference will deliberate the rebalancing of interests and try to understand the ways in which the re-positioning is happening or has happened. CSS aims to bring in leading strategists, think tank leaders, leading experts and academicians to involve in the deliberation process and arrive at a futuristic mapping of US role in Asia Pacific.
 Ellen Bork, Christopher J. Griffin et al., http://www.foreignpolicyi.org/content/securing-us-interests-and-values-asia-pacific dated June 4, 2013
CPPR is hosting Semester Sea again in March 11th, 2015. There will be Sessions on Kerala’s modern geography by focusing on its development success (locally driven) via improved education, health care, land reform and sustainable development