The webinar on “Minilateralism in the Indo-Pacific”, organised by the Indo-Pacific Circle in collaboration with the Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR), delved into the evolving dynamics of minilateralism and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

The discussion featured Dr. Jagannath Panda, Dr. Premesha Saha, Prof. Kei Koga as expert panelists and was moderated by Dr. Shreya Upadhyay.

Key takeaways from the discussion:

– Minilateralism is not a recent phenomenon and has emerged as a result of polarised power politics in the international arena.

– It is no longer limited to initiatives by major powers to consolidate their influence but is being used by countries as part of an effort to establish and solidify their identities in the international arena.

– Middle powers such as India, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore are emerging as centres of minilateralism.

– There is a global network of minilateral countries leading the way in international politics and this presents challenges to major powers.

– Through minilaterals, middle powers are seeking to have their voices heard while maintaining strategic autonomy. For example, India is involved in numerous minilateral arrangements, seeking issue-based partnerships without abandoning its stance of non-alignment.

– From a theoretical perspective, there are two types of minilateralism: functional and strategic. Functional minilateralism is issue-based, addressing specific concerns, whereas strategic minilateralism is broader and newly emerging, focusing on the balance of power and maintaining a rules-based order. Both types can evolve and change over time.

– Minilateralism is always welcome, as it articulates the national interests of smaller countries. However, this does not make larger multilateral platforms irrelevant but complements them.

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