FPCI Public Discussion on Indo-Pacific as a Concept for Regional Architecture
(Jakarta, 7th Feb 2018) Recently, the term Indo-Pacific has recently gained currency after the visit by the United States President Trump to Asia. Former Foreign Minister of Indonesia, Dr. Marty Natalegawa, shared some of his thoughts and his view regarding the region at the Bengkel Diplomasi, FPCI, Jakarta, on Wednesday, April 7th, 2018.
Dr. Marty Natalegawa delivered at least three critical points. He stated that for those who had been following Foreign Policy, the Indo-Pacific as a notion far predates 2017. In fact, the Indo-Pacific, as far as Indonesia is concerned, it was as early as 2002 that we seek, deliberately, and purposely pursue its logical conclusion.
The Indo-Pacific is nearly a geographic description. “We have to go beyond describing the geography,” he added. People can simply speak of Indo-Pacific as a region and continue arguing the need for cooperation between this and that organization, but Dr. Marty stressed that he is missing the geopolitical argument. “What is the geopolitical underpinning? What is the worldview that Indonesia is trying to promote?” he said.
Furthermore, Dr. Marty hopes that someone is really put their thinking cap on when talking about Indo-Pacific. “We need to organize Summits between the ASEAN and IORA, etc., but give it a flesh. We need to win the geopolitical argument first. Then we find the means to that end,” he added. Dr. Marty later emphasized that even though there are a bit of lacunae, hopefully, the notion can be taken up again.
He further stressed that for this Indo-Pacific to be the 21st century in its outlook rather than 20th century, we must jettison our cold war mentality and focus on common prosperity, common security, and common stability. “At that time I was worried, when Australia, when the United States and others were joining East Asia Summit, there was a thought that this was to contain the rise, for example, of China or some other rising countries,” Dr. Marty said.
“This time, Indo-Pacific should be taken seriously as it has been revisited once again in 21st outlook rather than 20th century,” he stated. In summary, Dr. Marty sees the need to have geopolitical underpinning and give substance to the notion of Indo-Pacific or otherwise it will be a hollow debate procedural in nature and probably ceremonial in the outcome as well.
Transcript available here.