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11/18/2021 - 11/18/2021 | Hamburg

Sri Lanka’s Role as a Small State in the Indo-Pacific

The Franco-German Observatory invites key actors from the Indo-Pacific to discuss questions of economic interdependence and independence, of trade and investment, and the expectations the countries of the Indo-Pacific might have towards the "West". Upcoming talk by Nilanthi Samaranayake.

The concept of the “Indo-Pacific” would first be used by strategic thinkers in India and Australia from around 2005. It was then subsequently picked up by the governments in New Delhi and in Canberra. These early adopters were followed by Japan, whose long-serving Prime Minister Shinzō Abe had already spoken in 2007 about the confluence of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, with policy-relevant ideas crystallising later around the idea of a “free and open Indo-Pacific.” In the United States, the Indo-Pacific entered the foreign policy lexicon in 2010, in the context of the US “pivot” to the Asia-Pacific region. Under the Donald Trump administration, the US mainstreamed the “free and open Indo-Pacific” as a policy concept during a tour of the president to the region in 2017. It then adopted, in 2018, a national-security strategy for the Indo-Pacific region, and renamed its former Pacific Command the “United States Indo-Pacific Command.”

A number of European countries, beginning with France, have also embraced this Indo-Pacific terminology. On 2 May 2018, at the headquarters of the Royal Australian Navy at Garden Island (Sydney), President Emmanuel Macron presented the French strategy in this region. The latter was then elaborated in a French Foreign Ministry policy paper. In October 2020, the German Foreign Ministry published a similar policy paper outlining its own vision for the region. A month later, the Dutch Foreign Ministry published its version too. Moreover, the United Kingdom government has heralded a “pivot to the Indo-Pacific” as part of its quest for a “Global Britain” emerging out of Brexit.

Unfortunately, few Westerners – and particularly Europeans – have sought to understand the views and approaches of actors within the Indo-Pacific itself. The Franco-German Observatory of the Indo-Pacific seeks to fill this vacuum. There is a need to better understand especially the vital link between domestic political developments in these countries and their implications for regional dynamics in the wider Indo-Pacific.

The Franco-German Observatory invites key actors from the Indo-Pacific to present their vision of the region, how they conceive of it geo-strategically and the place of China, the US, and Europe within this framework. We look forward to debating questions of economic interdependence and independence, of trade and investment, and the expectations the countries of the Indo-Pacific might have towards the “West” in general, and Europe, in particular.

Sri Lanka’s Role as a Small State in the Indo-Pacific

Thursday, 18 November 2021 | 3:00‒4:00 p.m. (Hamburg time) | 9:00‒10:00 a.m (Washington time)

Nilanthi Samaranayake is Director of the Strategy and Policy Analysis Program at CNA, a non-profit research organization in the Washington area. She studies US alliances and partnerships and small states in international affairs and has led several studies at CNA on Indian Ocean security, including the U.S.-India naval relationship. Prior to joining CNA in 2010, Samaranayake completed a fellowship at the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR), where she investigated Sri Lanka’s deepening economic, military, and diplomatic ties with China. Her findings were published in the journal, Asian Security. Samaranayake’s analysis has been published in Journal of Indo-Pacific Affairs, East Asia Forum, and Defense One, among other outlets. She has appeared in media such as Al Jazeera, New York Times, and Foreign Policy. Samaranayake’s major publications include China’s Engagement with Smaller South Asian Countries (U.S. Institute of Peace, 2019), and Raging Waters: China, India, Bangladesh and Brahmaputra River Politics (Marine Corps University Press, 2018). Samaranayake analyzed public opinion for a decade at Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C. and holds an MSc in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Chairs & Moderation:
Prof. Dr. Patrick Köllner is Vice President of the GIGA and Director of the GIGA Institute for Asian Studies.
Dr. Raphaëlle Khan is Jerome S. Levy Fellow, Department of Political Science, The City University of New York & Associate at the Harvard Asia Center. She is also Associate Fellow at the Institute for Strategic Research (IRSEM) in Paris.

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11/18/2021 15:00 - 11/18/2021 16:00

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German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA) - Online Event

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all interested persons

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