Title

Constituting the Indo-Pacific: Securitization and the Processes of Region-Making

Campus

Gainesville

Publication date

3-31-2021

Publisher

International Quarterly for Asian Studies

Book or Journal Information

IQAS (International Quarterly for Asian Studies) has been Germany's leading academic journal on Asia since 1970. It provides a forum for multidisciplinary research on current and historical topics relevant to politics, economics and society in contemporary Asia. It seeks to make the results of social science research on Asia known to a broader public discourse about Asia. The contributions are intended for a public that is aware that the regions and cultures of the world have always been interlinked and, thus, need to be understood in relation to one another. The journal appears quarterly or semi-annually as a double issue both in a print and an open access version. IQAS continues “Internationales Asienforum”.

Keywords

Indo-Pacific, securitization, Asia-Pacific

Abstract

In recent years, securitisation discourses related to regional constructs in Asia have galvanised a shift from the Asia-Pacific to the Indo-Pacific. China’s rise, particularly the perceived assertiveness and counter-normative nature of its foreign policy, have promoted a growing discourse of enmity, unease and fear, thus facilitating its securitisation by key global and regional actors. Through their promotion of securitisation discourses, political and military leaders in the United States, Japan, India and Australia are demonstrating two interrelated dynamics that reveal the political process of region-making: (1) how securitisation discourse not only exposes the threat perception of individual states, but also the role they see for themselves and others in the management of these threats; and (2) how these securitisation discourses galvanise regional formation and transformation based on shared threat perceptions and modes of threat management. Con-sequently, the meta-geographical transformation of the Asia-Pacific into the Indo-Pacific is predicated on a political process underpinned by securitisation discourses centred on China. This process has significant implications for regional order as well as security dynamics, particularly because the construction of the Indo-Pacific region by these pivotal actors results in the remaking of the region that situates China and the South China Sea at its centre, thus framing it as the target of containment. Furthermore, the concept of the Indo-Pacific merges the separate strategic spaces of the Pacific and Indian Oceans as a cohesive strategic space, wherein India and smaller Southeast Asian states are also included in securitisation discourses related to China.

Share

COinS
 

Constituting the Indo-Pacific: Securitization and the Processes of Region-Making

In recent years, securitisation discourses related to regional constructs in Asia have galvanised a shift from the Asia-Pacific to the Indo-Pacific. China’s rise, particularly the perceived assertiveness and counter-normative nature of its foreign policy, have promoted a growing discourse of enmity, unease and fear, thus facilitating its securitisation by key global and regional actors. Through their promotion of securitisation discourses, political and military leaders in the United States, Japan, India and Australia are demonstrating two interrelated dynamics that reveal the political process of region-making: (1) how securitisation discourse not only exposes the threat perception of individual states, but also the role they see for themselves and others in the management of these threats; and (2) how these securitisation discourses galvanise regional formation and transformation based on shared threat perceptions and modes of threat management. Con-sequently, the meta-geographical transformation of the Asia-Pacific into the Indo-Pacific is predicated on a political process underpinned by securitisation discourses centred on China. This process has significant implications for regional order as well as security dynamics, particularly because the construction of the Indo-Pacific region by these pivotal actors results in the remaking of the region that situates China and the South China Sea at its centre, thus framing it as the target of containment. Furthermore, the concept of the Indo-Pacific merges the separate strategic spaces of the Pacific and Indian Oceans as a cohesive strategic space, wherein India and smaller Southeast Asian states are also included in securitisation discourses related to China.