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Reference:

The concept of "Indo-Pacifica" in the context of international region building

Kuznetsov Denis Andreevich

ORCID: 0000-0001-6265-2774

PhD in Politics

Associate Professor, Department of World Politics, MGIMO University

119454, Russia, g. Moscow, ul. Pr. Vernadskogo, 76

denis_kuz_1@mail.ru
Other publications by this author
 

 
Grachevskii Grigorii Andreevich

Student, Department of World Political Processes, Moscow State Institute of International Relations (University) Russian Foreign Ministry

119454, Russia, g. Moscow, ul. Pr. Vernadskogo, 76

ggrachevsky@gmail.com

DOI:

10.25136/2409-8671.2022.1.37605

Received:

23-02-2022


Published:

03-04-2022


Abstract: The article examines the concept of Indo-Pacifica as a functional international political region in the process of formation. Based on the concept of regional construction by I. Neumann, an attempt is made to identify the main actors interested in its creation, the ratio of their interests. States continue to put forward their own interpretations and visions of what Indo-Pacifica should include both in terms of geographical boundaries and in terms of its "ideological" content, norms and rules of conduct within its prospective boundaries. The purpose of the article is to determine the correlation of interests, motivation of the actors involved and to identify groups of approaches, as well as prospects for their implementation. With the help of a discourse analysis of the approaches of different countries, their characteristic features are highlighted, on the basis of which the approaches are divided into two groups - exclusive and inclusive. The evolution of the discourse around Indo-Pacifica is shown, which is connected with the evolution of the concept itself. A change in the position of some of the actors from a neutral/negative attitude to a willingness to support a new concept was revealed. The correlation of cooperation and competition in the "under construction" region is assessed. Internal and external factors of Indo-Pacifica formation are determined. The role of identity is assessed. Politically motivated confrontation and competition of projects is an integral part of regional construction in the Indo-Pacific region. Currently, within its potential borders, there is a struggle between the approaches of various States, which are thus trying to reorient the region to achieve their goals. The practical content, i.e. the nature of the international political processes taking place in the region, will also depend on which vision will eventually become dominant. The world-political significance of the ITR concept for Russia is assessed, as well as its prospects in general.


Keywords:

Indo-Pacifica, region, regionalism, regionalization, regional construction, USA, Japan, China, Russia, QUAD

This article is automatically translated. You can find original text of the article here.

The Indo-Pacific or Indo-Pacific region is a geographical and functional international political region in the making, which has been increasingly firmly entrenched in the discourse of the world's leading powers over the past few years in a row. Due to the novelty of the concept, as well as differences in the motivation of the states that are the main "builders" of this trans-regional space, there has not yet been a unified interpretation of what Indo-Pacifica is and what are the goals of rethinking the already well-established idea of the Asia-Pacific region in global discourse. States continue to put forward their own interpretations and visions of what Indo-Pacifica should include both from the point of view of geographical boundaries and from the point of view of its "ideological" content, norms and rules of conduct within its prospective boundaries.

With the inclusion of an increasing number of States in the construction of a new region, including the developed countries of the North Atlantic and the large developing economies of Southeast Asia, discussions about Indo-Pacifica are becoming more and more significant. It is also necessary to note the conflict potential of this project due to various approaches, some of which are aimed at deterring other participants in international relations. Russia is also located on the border of the region (and, according to some interpretations, within it), which determines the importance of this concept for the Russian foreign policy strategy.

This article attempts to consider the proposed and politically motivated concept of Indo-Pacifism in the context of "region-building approach", the essence of which was revealed in detail in the 1990s, at the dawn of the theory of new regionalism, by the Norwegian political scientist I. Neumann, and then developed by researchers of various national schools, including including F. Tassinari, D. Novelli and A. Pereira. In addition, given the constructivist nature of the concept of "region-building", it seems important to investigate the approaches of individual "builder" countries based on discourse analysis for completeness of conclusions.

 

The concept of "region building"

 In the science of international relations and foreign regional studies, there has not yet been an established definition of the concept of "region", since various theoretical directions in their own perspective characterize the processes associated with the emergence and existence of regions. The well-known Russian regionologist A. D. Voskresensky seeks to give the most generalized definition of a region as a historically evolving territorial community that has a physical content, socio-economic, political and cultural environment, as well as a spatial structure that differs from other regions and regional-territorial units [1]. However, even in the context of such a definition, which is extremely abstracted from values and ideological attitudes, there are limitations for understanding "Indo-Pacifics": the fact is that in this case we are talking about a recently emerged project of an international political space, the socio-economic, political and cultural boundaries of which are still extremely blurred.

The concept of region building in its functional dimension correlates with another heuristic concept – transregionalism. In fact, the formation of large-scale projects covering different regions and continents suggests a new quality of transregionalism in modern world politics [4, 14, 15].

In this context, Iver's constructivist approach is of greater interest. Neumann and his followers. The key to this work is the theoretical concept of "Region Building Approach" (RBA) developed by I. Neumann in 1994 [10], which is based on the following prerequisites: regions by their nature are artificial, socially constructed, and their construction is always beneficial to someone. The RBA is essentially a constructivist approach, which focuses on the origin and the process of formation of regions. I. Neumann seeks to answer the following questions: how is the formation of the region?, "whose" is this region?, how and by whom is it created? To answer these questions, the author suggests using the method of analyzing the discourse of relevant actors.

I. Neumann's approach is based on B. Anderson's idea of nations as "imaginary communities". According to the author, regions are the same "imaginary communities", although they differ from nations in some key points (like a critical "home analogy" in the theory of international relations). According to F. Tassinari, who develops the ideas of I. Neumann, the region is a product of political actors created through their discourses within a separate space [12].

In addition, the author breaks down all existing approaches to regions by spectrum, at the ends of which internal (inside-out) and external (outside-in) factors are distinguished as the main motives for the formation of the region. The purpose of the concept of region-building, unlike classical approaches to integration and regionalization, is not to analyze the region as such, since it is aimed at identifying actors who, through their discourse, construct a particular region [11]. An important feature of the RBA is the emphasis on the subjective nature of the perception of regions, their artificiality, and, consequently, on the real possibility of their construction. In this regard, the author identifies a category of actors, "region-builders" (region-builders) as political actors striving to "imagine" a certain territorial and chronological identity of the region within the framework of a political project, as well as to extend this vision to the maximum number of people [10], and gives a key role in the process of constructing regions to political will: it is politicians who determine the boundaries of regions and largely set their parameters. The study of the role and interests of regional builders is also of key importance in the analysis of Indo-Pacifica: at the moment, the region is still only at the stage of construction, which is still far from completion.

The limitations of I. Neumann's concept are obviously related to the fact that he limited his analysis to the region of Northern Europe, which logically raised the question of the possibility of its universal application. Subsequently, the author's ideas were developed by other researchers – D. Novelli and A. Pereira, who proved that the theory can be heuristic for other regions. The authors, following I. Neumann, speak of the region as a socially constructed analytical concept, pointing to its artificial nature [11]. The peculiarity of studying regions in this case is their objective absence, which leads to the fact that the very perception of space as a particular "region" is amenable to interpretation. D. Novelli and A. Pereira clarify that the RBA is a tool for analyzing not regions as such, but narratives that lead to their creation. Based on this, a methodology for selecting narratives based on three criteria is proposed: actors, time interval, context of utterance. At the same time, in order to conduct a discourse analysis, the researchers suggest paying attention to the mentioned territory of the region (with the center and borders), relations between actors, factors of collective identity and studying the statements of actors as indicators of perception of other players within the region.

Thus, based on this concept, the present study of the Indo-Pacifica project as a region in formation should be organized as follows: to identify the main actors of regional construction and the degree of similarity/divergence of their visions, to determine the "center" of the region and its borders, and also to trace the genealogy of the region as an imaginary community.

 

"Construction of regions" in Indo-Pacific

Despite the fact that I. Neumann proposed to include not only states in the category of regional builders, but also any actors involved in regional politics, including social movements [10], in the case of Indo-Pacifics, it is obvious that states play a key role, and the construction of Indo-Pacifics goes "from top to bottom" and occurs by introducing the concept into the discourse of the leadership of a particular country. Methodological criteria for classifying actors as "region builders" are their acceptance of official documents and public statements. Major regional and world powers, such as the USA, India, Japan, and Australia, should be attributed to the actors of Indo-Pacifica. Great Britain and France should also be included here, since these states seek to participate in its construction by fixing provisions about it in their official documents, pursue an active policy in the region (implement military exercises, actively conclude agreements with other countries, etc.). The regional intergovernmental organization – ASEAN can also be attributed to the region builders, since it forms its own vision of Indo-Pacifica and has a tangible weight in the region due to the Asean-centricity of many regional multilateral initiatives.

In general, countries' approaches to "Indo-Pacification" can be divided into two groups: inclusive and exclusive. The first group includes the approaches of India, ASEAN, and partly Japan. To the second: USA, Australia. Separately, it is necessary to say about China, which refuses to recognize and use the new concept, considering it as an anti-Chinese project aimed at deterring Beijing and undermining the China-centric Belt and Road project [5]. Russia also has a negative attitude towards exclusive approaches and is close in its vision rather to ASEAN.

Inclusive approaches. Inclusive approaches are characterized by the absence of a focus against anyone, do not imply rigid boundaries or restrictions on the participation of anyone in the construction of a new project and integration initiatives. Actors promoting an inclusive approach advocate an open dialogue between all participants and expand the circle of those who could take part in the construction of a new region. Such approaches include the positions of India, Japan and ASEAN.

It was in the expert circles of India that the idea of forming the Indo-Pacific region arose. After the concept appeared in 2007, different opinions were expressed in the country, including about the inevitability of confrontation with China. Only in 2018, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue, presented the official vision of "Indo-Pacifica" (Prime Minister's Keynote Address at Shangri La Dialogue / Ministry of External Affairs of India. June 1, 2018). In it, the Prime Minister linked the concept of ITR with the projects "Act East" and SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR, "security and growth in the whole region") – the Indian doctrine of maritime cooperation in the Indian Ocean), stressed the fundamental role of ASEAN in ITR, as well as the inclusiveness of the new region. According to him, the basis of ITR should be an order based on clear rules. Currently, the Indian vision of ITR is freed from the anti-Chinese orientation and assumes aseanocentricity.

India's official position on the concept of Indo-Pacifism can indeed be attributed to inclusive, but the country's real policy is far from neutral. Its leadership takes into account the prospects for expanding the Indian sphere of interests through partnership with states that are not inclined to support Beijing. India has concluded a number of strategic partnerships in East Asia, and also conducts naval operations and exercises in the western Pacific [7]. N. Modi expressed India's readiness to participate in the QUAD project (Quadrilateral Initiative) after Barack Obama's visit to India. Thus, India is trying to maintain an inclusive approach, while gravitating towards the US position due to the growing influence of China in the region.

As for the Japanese approach, its basis is the "Free and Open Indo-Pacific" (FOIP) strategy, formed by Shinzo Abe in August 2006 [9]. The main idea is to ensure freedom of navigation and "rules-based order" by the combined forces of Japan, India, the USA and Australia in the trans-regional QUAD format. To this end, Abe stressed in his speeches the common commitment to the democratic values of Japan and India. In 2016, in a speech at the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development, Abe unveiled an updated vision of FOIP (Address by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Opening Session of the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) / Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. August 27, 2016). The "freedom and openness" of the region is presented as a global public good for the world community, while, like India, Japan gives a key role in the region to ASEAN (Diplomatic Bluebook 2019 / Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan). Despite the fact that the Japanese concept does not directly mention the threat from China, the factor of strengthening the Chinese presence, including in the vicinity of disputed territories, is the main catalyst for Japan's activities in this direction.

The ASEAN approach can be called the most cooperative among all inclusive approaches. At first, the emergence of the concept of "Indo-Pacifics" in ASEAN was perceived negatively, as it was seen as a destructive potential for the order that had developed around the Association. However, the ASEAN approach has subsequently transformed. In August 2018, the Indonesian Foreign Ministry published its own view on IT: its essence was to combine the approaches of India, Japan and Australia as a "rules-based order" together with the principle of inclusiveness of the new region and the central place of ASEAN in it [9]. The difference from the approaches of the mentioned countries was a different territorial perception of the new region: it included the territory of the coast of the Russian Far East, and also excluded the west coast of the United States and Latin America. In June 2019, the official position of the entire organization was formed (ASEAN Outlook for Indo-Pacific / Asean.org June 23, 2019). According to the document, ASEAN should play a central role in shaping the common space of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, while this process should promote dialogue, increase stability, establish clear rules of conduct and safety of sea routes [9].

Exclusive approaches. Exclusive approaches, in turn, do not imply the establishment of a dialogue and the inclusion of all interested actors, are aimed at forming blocks designed to strengthen the security and positions of some actors at the expense of others.

The participation of the United States in the construction of Indo-Pacifica is conditioned by several motives of a military-political and economic nature. The first group includes the physical containment of China in the waters of the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean and the strengthening of its positions in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. The second is the desire to weaken the potential of the Belt and Road Initiative. The peculiarity of the American approach is the desire to strengthen its position in the region on the basis of tough anti-Chinese rhetoric and an emphasis on strengthening military-political ties with traditional allies.

Today, the concept of "Indo-Pacifism" occupies a central place in the political discourse of the United States, but this has not always been the case. In 2006, the administration of George W. Bush. did not support the FOIP concept proposed by Japan. The situation changed dramatically when the decision was made to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), which turned out to be more costly and less effective as a deterrent to China [3, 5, 13].

The first mention of the Indo-Pacifica concept by officials was made in a speech by Hillary Clinton in 2012 (Delivering on the Promise of Economic Statecraft / U.S. Department of State. November 17, 2012), finally, "Indo-Pacifism" became entrenched in American discourse with the arrival of D. Trump. The new American president began using this concept (essentially replacing the traditional "Asia-Pacific region" with it) at least since the summit in Vietnam in November 2017 (President Donald J. Trump's Trip to Vietnam / U.S. Embassy and Consult in Vietnam. November 12, 2017).

In addition to including Indo-Pacifism in their political discourse, representatives of the American establishment seek to give their version of IT positive connotations using categories such as stability, security, economic freedom, democracy, etc., linking the concept of Indo-Pacifism with the category of "global public good" [9]. At the same time, the understanding of the concept of Indo-Pacifism on the part of the United States is emphatically anti-Chinese. This vision is evident in numerous documents, in particular in the Report on the Indo-Pacific Strategy (2019), in which China is called a revisionist state and is perceived as a threat (Indo-Pacific Strategy Report. Preparedness, Partnerships, and Promoting a Networked Region / The Department of Defense. June 1, 2019. 55 p.).

Among the reasons for Australia's interest in IT, one can single out the activity of Japan and India to promote a new concept, Australia's involvement in the QUAD format, as well as the growing dependence of the Australian economy on China [9]. The ITR appeared in the Australian Defense White Paper in 2013, but four years earlier it mentioned S. Abe's idea of a "broader Asia-Pacific region." In the 2013 document, the ITR is called the zone of strategic interests of Australia. In June 2017, Australian Defense Minister M. Payne noted that the "rules-based order" is the core of stability and security in ASEAN and in the wider Indo-Pacific region [2].

In the UK, interest in Indo-Pacifica emerged after Brexit, becoming one of its foreign policy priorities. Defense Minister P. Mordaunt at the Shangri-La Dialogue summit indicated that the UK is striving to ensure its presence in the new region, as well as to promote stability and security (Defense Secretary Speech at the ShangriLa Dialogue in Singapore.). London is expanding its military presence: in April 2018, a naval base in Bahrain was opened, and in December of the same year plans were announced to open two new military bases in the Caribbean and Southeast Asia. The UK also cooperates with India and Japan. In April 2018, T. May and N. Modi confirmed their common interest in the free and open South China Sea (Prime Minister of India's Visit, April 2018 / UK Government.). The United Kingdom conducts joint military exercises with Australia, the United States, as well as military maneuvers with Japan (Japanese Carrier Drills with British Warship Heading to Contested South China Sea / Reuters. September 27, 2018).

In September 2021, an agreement was signed on the creation of a trilateral defense alliance between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, which was named AUKUS [4]. The task of the new association was to increase the defense capability of its members, in particular, the transfer of nuclear submarines to Australia is currently being discussed.

In France, the term "Indo-Pacifica" was introduced into official discourse in 2018: in May 2021, E. Macron announced that "France is a great Indo–Pacific power" (Discours du Pr?sident de la R?publique, Emmanuel Macron, sur la NouvelleCal?donie ? Noum?a / elysee.fr . 05.05.2018.). The basis of its policy in The aim of the region is to build an "Indo–Pacific axis" Paris-New Delhi–Canberra–Tokyo, the goals of which largely coincide with the Japanese FOIP project. The main opponent in this case is frankly called China [8]. However, despite the desire to restrain China, the countries continue to actively cooperate at the bilateral level.

Unlike the UK, France has adopted and published policy documents on alleged activities in Indo-Pacifica: strategy of action in Indo-Pacifica from the Foreign Ministry (Strat?gie fran?aise en AsieOc?anie ? l'horizon 2030: vers un espace asiatique indopacifique inclusif. 2018.) and the concept of security in the Asia-Pacific region from the Ministry of Defense (La France et la s?curit? en Indopacifique. 2018. Mis ? jour en mai 2019. 20 p.). In addition, France considers the ASEAN countries as potential partners in the "axis", which underlines the potential for its expansion. France maintains its military presence in the region and works out joint actions at sea together with the QUAD countries (French aircraft-carrier ‘Charles de Gaulle’ heads for India / The Economic Times. July 12, 2018). In general, IT is definitely of interest to Paris, whose strategy is both to interact with the QUAD powers and to build its own network of alliances ("axis").

China and Russia cannot be attributed to the states taking an active part in the construction of a new region. Nevertheless, based on the statements of the leaders of both countries, it is possible to judge their attitude to Indo-Pacifica.

China negatively perceives the new concept. The problem for him is that the powers actively advocating the formation of Indo-Pacifica are also members of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD), which is perceived precisely as an anti-Chinese alliance [6]. China views this concept as an attempt by major powers (primarily the United States) to restrain their full-fledged expansion in the region. Moreover, China has its own mega–regional project - the Belt and Road Initiative [7]. The fact that "Indo-Pacifica" is positioned as a "free and open" alternative to IPP reinforces its negative reaction.

Russia, like China, does not take a direct part in the formation of the IT space. However, Russia directly borders on the emerging region (or, according to some interpretations, is located within it), so the concept of "Indo-Pacifica" arouses both interest and concern on the part of the Russian leadership.

Russia is striving to maintain the central role of the ASEAN institutions, and is also expanding cooperation with the countries of the region, including China and India. This position is manifested in the statements of officials: in 2019, Dmitry Medvedev noted that the goal of the United States in promoting the concept of IT is to replace the existing format of cooperation, while Russia stands for its preservation (Dmitry Medvedev's interview with the Bangkok Post newspaper / The Government of Russia. News. November 03, 2019). In September 2019, during the Eastern Economic Forum, the leaders of Russia and India issued a statement in which they stressed the crucial importance of the principles of openness, inclusiveness and multilateralism in shaping the security architecture in the region (Putin and Modi adopted a joint statement on deepening Russian-Indian ties / TASS. September 04, 2019). In his speech in Vietnam in February 2019, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called Indo-Pacifica an artificially created region and accused the United States of trying to contain China through military cooperation with Japan, Australia and India (Speech and answers to questions by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the Russian-Vietnamese Conferences of the Valdai International Discussion Club, Ho Chi Minh City, February 25, 2019 / Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia. February 25, 2019), and during his speech at the Primakov Readings in July 2020, he called the Indo-Pacific Strategy of the United States aimed at creating exclusive blocks in the region (Primakov Readings-2020: Sergey Lavrov's speech / International life. July 11, 2020). In general, Russia takes the American approach as the basis for assessing the concept of "Indo-Pacifics", which largely determines the negative attitude of the Russian leadership.

The generalization of the positions of the States is visualized in the form of Table 1.

 

Conclusion

The analysis, based on the considered concept of regional construction, showed that the main engines of the construction of ITR are the USA, Japan, India, Great Britain, France, Australia and ASEAN. Based on the analysis of the discourse of interested actors, the following generalizations can be made:

• Revealed a change in the position of some of the actors from a neutral/negative attitude to a willingness to support a new concept. This change is noted in the discourse of the USA, ASEAN and India.

• Most often, the position of States was expressed in the framework of multilateral summits, international forums, press conferences, as well as in the form of policy documents. For some of the countries (China and Russia), the attitude towards Indo-Pacifism was manifested only through public statements of their leadership.

• Different approaches to the geography of the region have emerged. Almost all the actors mentioned that the Indo-Pacific region was formed by the merger of two oceans, and also emphasized the central place of ASEAN in the region. As for borders, it can be noted that many actors ignore this issue. The similarity is that all of them, with the exception of ASEAN, do not include the Russian Far East within the new region.

• Interstate relations are characterized by negative rhetoric towards China from the United States, Great Britain and France, as well as softer and seemingly unaddressed calls from Japan and India to maintain order in the region; China, in turn, speaks negatively about the creation of QUAD and the concept of Indo-Pacifica. This indicates that regional construction is caused by external factors and this is how it is perceived by the main actors who act in the logic of outside-in (according to I. Neumann's classification).

• Factors of collective identity play an important role in promoting the Indo-Pacifica project. There are several poles observed here. Firstly, the collective West represented by Japan, the USA, Australia, Great Britain and France. The leadership of the above-mentioned countries is trying to attract India to the same group, which seeks to maintain a policy of multi-vector and "non-alignment". Secondly, the ASEAN countries are trying to form and consolidate their own collective identity by developing an inclusive approach to IT and distancing themselves from the bloc of Western powers. As for Russia and China, they are perceived by many participants as external actors in relation to the new region.

It should also be noted that culture does not play a decisive role for the construction of the region. It is made relevant by politicians for the realization of national interests: attracting culture is a political act. If there are common political goals, actors find common ground in their past and present, starting from which they can develop new cooperation.

Politically motivated confrontation and competition of projects is an integral part of regional construction. Currently, within the borders of a potentially new region, there is a struggle between the approaches of various states, which are thus trying to reorient the region to achieve their goals. The practical content, i.e. the nature of the international political processes taking place in the region, will also depend on which vision will eventually become dominant.

As for Russia, its possible participation in the construction of a new region is conditioned by the awareness of the danger of excluding Russia from the process of its formation, which may lead to a weakening of its position in the future. The approaches of ASEAN, India, and, to a certain extent, Japan correspond most of all to Russia's national interests, since they allow maintaining established bilateral and multilateral ties, preventing the region's confrontationalization, and also providing prospects for the development of the Russian Far East and Russian trans-regional projects of the EAEU within Greater Eurasia.

 Table 1. The positions of States in relation to the concept of Indo-Pacifica

 

cooperation

CONFRONTATION / COMPETITION

countries

ASEAN, India, Japan

Russia

China, USA, UK, Australia

The role of institutions

ASEAN in the region

Support

Support

(the central role of ASEAN and its institutions is emphasized)

China: ASEAN institutions are not effective

USA: does not pay much attention to ASEAN

Australia, Great Britain, France: support

Formulation

"rules-based order"

Support, use in documents

"ASEAN institutions already provide rules and order"

USA, Australia, UK, France: support, use in documents

China: Negative perception

The principle of inclusivity

?

Formation of blocks

ASEAN: support for inclusivity

India: support for inclusivity, at the same time a member of QUAD

Japan: support for inclusivity, at the same time a member of QUAD

Against the formation of blocs; for dialogue based on ASEAN institutions

USA, Great Britain, Australia: formation of their own cooperation formats, against China's entry into them (QUAD, AUKUS)

France: denial of inclusivity in favor of forming its own block ("axis"), interest in QUAD

China: not interested in joining

Relation to QUAD

India: participation in QUAD activities, but no readiness for alliance

Japan: participation in QUAD activities

Negative attitude towards QUAD

USA, Australia: participation in QUAD activities

China: Negative attitude to QUAD

Great Britain, France: interest in cooperation with QUAD

The use of the concept of IT in official documents

India: Increasing usage

Japan: Widespread use (FOIP)

Avoidance

USA: widespread use (in the form of FOIP wording)

Australia, Great Britain, France: widespread use

China: Avoidance

         
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The subject of the research in the peer-reviewed work was the concept of "Indo-Pacifica" (or "Indo-Pacific region") in the context of the theory of new regionalism. The relevance of this study is due not only to the scientific novelty of the phenomenon under study, but also to its practical significance for international politics: as the author rightly notes, the concept under study has been increasingly firmly entrenched in the discourse of the leading powers of the world in recent years. The methodology is quite traditional for this kind of research and is based on a conceptual analysis of the main approaches to the study of regional construction processes presented in scientific publications and journalism. In addition, methods of content and discourse analysis are used to analyze the main policy documents and political discourse for the specifics of interpreting the concept of "Indo-Pacifics". Structurally, four sections are highlighted in the work: the introductory part, which gives a general idea of the subject of the study, its relevance and theoretical and methodological basis; the section "The concept of "region building"", dedicated to a more detailed presentation of the theory of new regionalism by I. Neumann, D. Novelli, A. Pereira, etc.; the main section of the article "The construction of regions in the Indo-Pacific", which analyzes the approaches of the main participating countries in the process of forming the region under study from the standpoint of the concept of regional construction; a conclusion summarizing the results of the study, conclusions are drawn and further prospects are outlined. As a result of the conducted research, the author managed to obtain conclusions that have all the signs of scientific novelty. First of all, the proposed approach to the study of "Indo-Pacifica" through the prism of the concept of regional construction is quite adequate. The author's proposed distinction of inclusive and exclusive approaches to "Indo-Pacification" on the part of the countries involved in the region-building process is also of particular interest. The specifics of the approaches of these countries to the geography of the region, ways of resolving contradictions, the main factors of promoting the project under consideration, etc. are also revealed. Finally, the author specifically focuses on the analysis of Russia's role in the process of constructing a new region. Thus, the author managed to choose an interesting and relevant topic for research, make a correct methodological choice and as a result get non-trivial conclusions. All this speaks in favor of the author having a certain research experience. This is confirmed by the clearly maintained scientific style of the article, and the clear formulation of conclusions, and many other signs. The bibliography of the work includes 15 titles (including publications in foreign languages) and sufficiently represents the state of scientific knowledge in relation to the problem under study. The appeal to the opponents takes place in terms of discussing the concept of regional education. General conclusion: the work submitted for review is a completed and correctly performed scientific research, corresponds to the topic of the journal "World Politics" and is of interest to regional studies, international political scientists and practicing politicians. For educational purposes, the article may be of interest to students of the listed specialties. According to the results of the review, the article is recommended for publication in the journal "World Politics".
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