DPG Indo-Pacific Monitor

Indo Pacific Monitor

Date: February 01, 2023
The US-Japan Security Consultative Committee (Ministerial 2 2) met in Washington D.C. on January 11, 2023.  The two sides highlighted their strategic convergence on the looming threat from China, and agreed on measures to modernise the US-Japan alliance, including through the effective deployment of Japan’s planned counterstrike capability, technological cooperation and upgrading of the US force posture in Japan.  They also expressed their intent to further integrate alliance partnerships, including with Australia, South Korea and Euro-Atlantic partners.

In parallel, Japan’s Prime Minister Kishida Fumio undertook a whirlwind tour of G-7 countries, meeting leaders from France, Italy, UK, Canada and the US in their capitals from January 09 – 13, 2023.  Among the visible outcomes of this tour were elevation of Japan’s relations with Italy to a strategic partnership; signing of the Japan-UK Reciprocal Access Agreement and the reaffirmation of alliance commitments in the summit meeting with the US President.  All leaders committed to supporting Japan’s G-7 Presidency and emphasised strategic cooperation to deal with the China challenge.

In a innovative initiative, India convened the Voice of the Global South Virtual Summit, bringing together leaders and ministers from 125 countries on January 12-13, 2023.  India announced its intent to establish a Centre of Excellence, a Science and Technology Initiative, the Aarogya Maitri project to provide essential medical supplies, a Young Diplomats Forum and scholarships for the Global South.  

The State Visit of Egyptian President Abdel Fatah El-Sisi accompanied by a high level delegation to New Delhi from January 24-27 resulted in the elevation of India-Egypt relations to a strategic partnership covering the political, security, defence, energy and economic areas.  Egypt’s geography astride the Suez Canal, the gateway it provides into North Africa and its traditional importance in Arab affairs makes it an important regional partner.

The 21st edition of the India – France Exercise Varuna was conducted in the Arabian Sea from January 16-20, 2023.  There were indications of substantial enhancement of India-France naval cooperation during a visit by President Macron to India due in March 2023.

A US Special Forces strike mission resulted in the killing of a senior ISIS leader, Bilal al-Sudani in Somalia on January 26, 2023. 

The Second Australia-France Foreign and Defence Ministerial Consultations (2 2) took place in Paris on January 30, 2023.  A comprehensive Joint Statement spelled out the measures the democratic partners intend to take to rejuvenate their cooperation, hard hit by the AUKUS announcement in September 2021.

Indonesia approved the development plan for the Tuna Gas Field in the Natuna Sea on January 2, 2023, setting the stage for confrontation with China which also claims the region which lies inside the Nine-Dash-Line.  Meanwhile, China’s Coast Guard asserted itself in the vicinity of the Diaoyu (Senkaku) Islands, warning away Japanese vessels from illegally operating in the area on January 30, 2023.

The inaugural IAF-JASDF exercise Veer Guardian 2023 took place in Japan from January 12-26, 2023.  India Commissioned the fifth of its Kalvari-class submarines on January 23, 2023.