Welcome to Indo-Pacific Defense FORUM’s issue on responsible engagement.
Responsible engagement between various Indo-Pacific security organizations builds trust, confidence, and cooperation. In working together, regional defense organizations enhance military capability and capacity to overcome shared challenges. These efforts help support national sovereignty and enforce international norms.
The annual Cobra Gold exercise, co-sponsored by Royal Thai and U.S. Armed Forces, remains the gold standard for multilateral cooperation and responsible engagement in the region, if not the world. In this issue, Royal Thai Army Capt. Suchart Klaikaew shares his insights from Cobra Gold 2020. The exercise focuses on developing military and crisis management skills to strengthen ties between Thai and U.S. forces.
This edition embraces a range of other perspectives on responsible engagement, from providing health services for remote populations in Pacific island nations, to conducting accountable nuclear deterrence.
Dr. Alfred Oehlers, a political economist with the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, explores how the United States and its allies and partners might address urgent debt challenges to counter the People’s Republic of China’s leverage over nations ensnared in its One Belt, One Road infrastructure scheme. Meanwhile, Bruce McFarland with the U.S. Agency for International Development reveals how developmental assistance with the ultimate goal of self-reliance can act as the ultimate security tool in the Indo-Pacific.
Dr. Jinghao Zhou, an associate professor of Asian studies at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in New York, examines why the values and ambitions embraced by the Chinese Communist Party are preventing Beijing from becoming a responsible stakeholder in the region.
Sri Lankan Navy Capt. Rohan Joseph evaluates how Indonesia can lead the way to improved maritime security in the Indo-Pacific. In addition, Cmdr. Dr. Arnab Das, a retired Indian Navy officer, probes the importance of underwater domain awareness towards building acoustic capability, which is also key in executing maritime strategy.
I hope these articles energize regional conversations on military technology. I welcome your comments. Please contact the FORUM staff at firstname.lastname@example.org with your perspectives.
All the best,
Admiral, U.S. Navy
Commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command