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Singapore hosted Shangri-La Dialogue 2019

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From 31 May to 2 June of this year, the scheduled IISS Shangri-La Dialogue took place in Singapore. It has been hosted annually (since 2002) by London’s International Institute for Strategic Studies. The Forum is gradually turning into one of the most reputable events, well attended by high-ranking government officials. It was established to enable dialogue on security issues in the Indo-Pacific region, where the center of global political processes is shifting to.

Each Dialogue session is distinguished by the presence of prominent political figures, whose speeches address some important trends which characterize the situation unfolding up until that point in the region and, hence, set the tone for the entire Dialogue.

Last year, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi became the key participant at the event, where he first announced his nation’s intentions to have an all-encompassing presence not only in the Indian but also the Pacific Ocean. Hence, a long-standing (but hitherto unintelligible) concept behind India’s Look East Policy became more clearly defined.

Incidentally, during one of her visits to New Delhi 10 years earlier, Hillary Clinton, who held the post of US Secretary of State at the time, advised USA’s most important partner in Asia (in her attempt to incentivize it) to finally take on the role of a “doer” in the East instead of that of a long-term observer. Narendra Modi’s speech in Singapore last year became a response, of sorts, to this appeal to India. His keynote address included seven principles of India’s policy in relation to the Indo-Pacific region.

At this year’s Forum, the problematic nature of the relationship between the two world powers, the United States and the PRC, came to the fore. There had not been a sudden rise in tensions between the two nations as yet in the run-up to last year’s Shangri-La Dialogue. Hence, during the 2019 Forum the focus was on the addresses given by the US Secretary of Defense and China’s Minister of National Defence.

In essence, their speeches were illustrative of the increasingly uncompromising nature of the confrontation between the USA and China, which is certainly no longer confined to a ‘trade war’ and is taking place on many different fronts instead. Perhaps, this was never part of Donald Trump’s........

© New Eastern Outlook