DPG Indo-Pacific Monitor

Indo Pacific Monitor

Date: January 10, 2023
India formally assumed the G20 Presidency from Indonesia on December 1, 2022.  This year’s theme of ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’ seeks to overcome the zero-sum mind-set and promote a new paradigm of humanity-centric globalisation through presenting India’s unique experience as a possible template for others, particularly in the developing world.  A challenging year lies ahead.

French President Emmanuel Macron visited Washington DC for the first incoming State Visit hosted by the Biden Administration on December 1, 2022.  The Joint Statement reveals the steps envisaged to repair the fractured bilateral relationship.  It dwells extensively on trans-Atlantic security and Ukraine, as well as cooperation in Africa and the Southern Pacific Islands.  The Indian Ocean does not, however, figure in their bilateral agenda.

Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Richard Marles and Foreign Minister Penny Wong travelled to Washington DC for the 32nd 2 2 meeting with their American counterparts on December 6, 2022.  Their visit also witnessed the first AUKUS Defence Ministers’ Meeting on December 7.  While all sides expressed happiness about progress in their relationship, the proof will emerge when the path to provide Australia nuclear submarines is finally unveiled in the first quarter of 2023.

China’s President Xi Jinping visited Riyadh on December 8 & 9, 2022, receiving a warm reception.  Apart from his cordial dialogue with the apex level of Saudi Arabian leadership, his visit was marked by the First China-GCC Summit and the First China-Arab States Summit.  As the US seeks to reduce its commitment in the Middle East, China’s influence in the region is poised to grow.
The 10th Australia-Japan Foreign and Defence Ministerial Meeting took place on December 9, 2022.  It identified areas of cooperation following the revised Japan-Australia Declaration on Security Cooperation signed in October 2022.  The principals listed a wide range of areas for further cooperation, including in the Pacific Islands and Southeast Asia, as well as increased information sharing and coordination of development assistance policies.

49 African leaders visited Washington DC for the Second US-Africa Summit from December 13-15.  Recognising that Africa will shape the future of the world in the years ahead, the Summit was intended to enhance collaboration not only with Africa’s leaders, but also with civil society, business, diaspora, women and youth leaders and offer them alternatives to China’s growing influence.  

INS Mormugao, the second of India’s Visakhapatnam-class destroyers, was commissioned into the Indian Navy on December 18, 2022, the 61st anniversary of destruction of the Portuguese frigate NRP Afonso de Albuquerque during the liberation of Goa.  Seven years in the making, the ship has an indigenous content of over 75% and all her major weapons and sensors have been manufactured in India.  As the year approached an end, India validated its long-range precision strike capability against maritime targets by testing the extended-range Brahmos ALCM against a ship target from a SU-30 MKI aircraft.  

Japan’s Cabinet adopted a revised National Security Strategy, a new National Defence Strategy and the Defence Build-up Programme for the period 2023-2027 on December 16, 2022.  The new documents signal action by Japan to assume greater responsibility for its own security as the regional security environment worsens. 

President Biden signed into law the US National Defense Authorisation Act for FY 2023 on December 23, 2022.  The Act authorises a an expenditure of $ 857.6 billion, of which the Department of Defense gets $ 816.7 billion, $45 billion more than was sought by the Administration and $ 76.7 billion more than was authorised in FY 2022.

South Korea’s Indo-Pacific Strategy, announced by President Yoon Suk-yeol at Phnom Penh on November 11, was unveiled December 28, 2022.  Based on the principles of inclusiveness, trust and reciprocity, the strategy outlines nine core lines of effort that will shape South Korea’s actions in the Indo-Pacific in the years ahead.