This new division of the foreign office will incorporate Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), ASEAN region and the Quad to the Indo-Pacific plan. It was set up by Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale in response to the policy as put forth by PM Modi at the Shangri-La Dialogue in 2018.
The Indo-Pacific Wing will be headed by Joint Secretary Vijay Doraiswami, who is already in charge of Bangladesh and Myanmar. The Ministry of External Affairs’ territorial divisions are important for policy making, hence the new Indo-Pacific division is a major step for the Government.
In a significant move, the US has newly rechristened its Pacific Command as Indo-Pacific Command. In India, the policy will be under the MEA, though it will also work alongside the Defence Ministry, which has its own policy.
India expects to put in lot of effort into the IORA as the heart of its Indo-Pacific policy is entrenched in the Indian Ocean. This combines the blue economy of its policy with a tri-lateral security agreement between India, Sri Lanka and Maldives.
As part of its Indo-Pacific diplomacy, India has often placed ASEAN at the centre of its policy. ASEAN being wary of China, the US and its allies, India would like to engage with Singapore, Vietnam and Indonesia as its key partners in this region.