Home / Business/ Multipolarism in Asia: Issues and challenges

Multipolarism in Asia: Issues and challenges

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Saturday, 4 May 2019 00:00



  • Pathfinder Foundation participates in 20th Asian Security Conference in New Delhi

Indo-Lanka initiatives and Law of the Sea of the Pathfinder Foundation (PF) participated in the 20th Asian Security Conference in New Delhi. The conference was the annual flagship event of the Institute of Defence and Strategic Analyses (IDSA), a premier think tank and research centre based in New Delhi. This year’s theme of the Conference was ‘Multipolarism in Asia: Issues and Challenges’.

The Director of Centres Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage represented the PF. The IDSA is a non-partisan, autonomous body dedicated to objective research and policy relevant studies on all aspects of defence and security. Since its inception, IDSA has served as a forum to debate important aspects of national and international security. Its mission is to promote national and international security through generation and dissemination of knowledge on defence and security related issues. This year’s Asian Security conference was attended by scholars and subject matter experts from 20 countries with more than 55 papers being presented.  

The Asian continent, home to 60% of humanity, high economic growth rates and a burgeoning middle class and markets, with some of the highest military expenditures in the world, is in a state of flux. Asia is increasingly being defined in the broader geographical context of the Pacific and Indian Oceans through which pass the key Sea Lanes Of Communications (SLOC) for energy, raw materials and trade. Freedom of navigation, over-flight and commerce are of growing significance. 

The economic fulcrum has shifted towards Asia in recent years. China’s economic growth is being replicated in varying degrees by others in Asia over extended periods. India has now emerged as one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Asia, however, has fallen short in building a credible security architecture. Infrastructure and connectivity initiatives are increasingly shaping the economic and political discourse in Asia, with renewed debate on finance to meet strategic ends.  

Amidst these changes, regional transformation is leading to speculation about the future of power distribution in Asia. The ‘Asian Century’ appears inevitable but the question remains if it will be unipolar or bipolar or multipolar in character.  What future will countries such as China, India and Japan opt for? What role will other regional countries play? What are the key interests of external powers that have a traditional presence or alliances in the region? Power in Asia remains fractured at various levels, marked by a lack of consensus. 

A ‘multipolar Asia’ essentially, presupposes the presence of multiple powers with significant capabilities and influence, equipped to take on responsibilities and respond to emerging challenges and threats with a degree of strategic autonomy. The US is reassessing its presence and commitment to Asia at a time when China has expanded its footprint, including in the maritime space. Trade frictions between US and China and their divergent visions for the future of the region have encouraged hedging by other regional actors. 

Traditional and non-traditional security challenges such as economic and military competition, climate change, cyber threats, terrorism and energy security confront the region and act as drivers for the development of interdependent collaborative structures promoting pluralism. 

Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage presented a paper titled ‘Sri Lanka and the Maritime Security Order in the Indian Ocean’. Admiral pointed out that Sri Lanka has suffered from the worst form of maritime terrorism and crime for a prolonged period and has gained valuable expertise in combatting the same. He also highlighted the need to develop maritime related infrastructure with the aim of achieving Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 and stressed upon to need for an internationally accepted rules based maritime governance as a precondition to maintain maritime security so as to provide freedom of navigation, over-flight and maritime commerce.  

Share This Article

Facebook Twitter


1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.


Today's Columnists

State of the economy of Sri Lanka

Saturday, 21 September 2019

I am not an economist nor do I profess to be an economic analyst. The views expressed in this presentation are those of a layman who has always been interested in the economic progress of Sri Lanka.

Premadasa, Père et Fils

Saturday, 21 September 2019

We are what time, circumstances and history has made of us. We are trapped in history. At age 77, I refuse to trap history in my mind. This essay is an obligation to history. Although J.R. Jayewardene introduced ‘Executive Presidentialism’, coer

Economy, business community and the Prime Minister

Friday, 20 September 2019

The speech made by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Chief Guest of the Sri Lanka Economic Summit 2019 deserves very careful consideration by the country due to several reasons. This will no doubt be his last speech on economic policy to be

Sri Lanka needs to invest more on soft infrastructure

Friday, 20 September 2019

Developing countries like Sri Lanka will have to prepare for further downside risks in 2020 with the growing debt problems and the growth problems in Europe and the slowdown in Asia. Slower growth is already visible in weakening global trade and comm

Columnists More