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APEC & EAS: Need for a regional security architecture

Most top ranking global and regional powers are going to assemble in the South East Asian region next week for the APEC and subsequently for E AS to deliberate on series of critical issues facing the Asian region and the world. Although the expectations are placed at a low level as far as achievements are concerned out of such summits, the demand for a credible regional security architecture for Asia is gaining ground. Indeed, power rivalry is going to derail most of the achievements and push the region towards for a polarization, if there is no cooperative approach.      


The placidity of Pacific blue waters is going to sway high tides as the East Asian region is going to witness lot of heated debates next week. For a lasting solution, it is good to talk and discuss but there has to be something tangible to showcase to the people. Otherwise it will all be mere talking windows. Apart from critical global issues, some regional issues will also get attention during the summits.

Among others, the South China Sea and Senkaku Islands dispute will draw a lot of attention. The Pacific Ocean is getting complicated due to failure of Asian and global powers to work out a peaceful resolution of such contentious matters.

On one hand SCS, Korean peninsula and Senkaku islands dispute may give the US required input for recasting its ‘Asia pivot’ policy, on the other hand it can create a set of new problems as the US starts assert its growing maritime powers to rebalance Asia-Pacific.

The US agenda is not just for rebalancing Pacific Ocean but Washington has already drawn out a plan for Indian Ocean as well. From the blue waters of Indian Ocean, the US can pip into Africa which is home to largest mineral and hydro carbon deposits of the world.

In recent years, the virginity of African soil is attracting many international players who are in the midst of re-strategizing their foreign and defence policies towards Africa, Asia and the rest of the world.

But both APEC and EAS are quite powerful bodies and policy makers in the whole of Asian region pay a lot of attention to the deliberations of such summits. It is high time that a new ‘Asia order’ should be discussed to find innovative solutions to some of the critical issues.

The center point of upcoming summit discussions will no doubt focus on US and China relations in view of some ongoing problems in the Pacific whereas Russia and US may attempt to recast their positions on Syria to avoid a conflict. Russia has already threatened that if US goes unilaterally then Moscow might deploy anti missile systems to protect Syria.

This will be dangerous. Further, the situation may escalate beyond a point of reversal. Thus, a regional security architecture for Asia is needed. The ARF which had started with a good note is slowly losing its importance as ASEAN fails to take a lead role.

When US and China are all set to recast their geo strategic initiatives, they will use these forums to spearhead their own agenda more than real issues facing the region. Therefore, other Asian countries should stick to the actual agenda than contextual agenda where verbal duels will dominate the proceedings.      

Both China and US will have to understand that others also live in this region and their national and international interests are not the only topic of significance.

The role of ASEAN and like-minded bodies is quite important for a stable Asia. In fact, Asian countries should start thinking of strengthening various sub regional bodies working on geo strategic issues to build peace, development and slowly they can graduate to form single large bloc with a greater handling capacity to make Asia for Asians.