Narendra Modi’s speech at the Shangri-la Dialogue laid out the contours of the Indian policy, where he drew the geographies encompassed in the policy as a space extending “from the shores of Africa to that of the Americas.”
The Indian vision of the “free, open, and inclusive” Indo-Pacific region emphasises a “common rules-based order” that respects “sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as equality of all nations.” It situated the Asean in the centre of the policy, while highlighting “the importance of freedom of navigation and connectivity.”
Within a couple of days India, Australia, Japan and US held the second round of the Quadrilateral dialogue, building on an informal grouping that shares the greatest strategic convergences on the issue of the Indo-Pacific. But while the speech received some positive feedback, there were a number of questions that India felt needed to be answered. New Delhi also felt it was important to scotch the negative diplomacy that was being spread by both China and Russia against the Indo-Pacific policy in general and the Quad in particular. India’s conversations with Indonesia were intended to plug this particular perception. A second conversation with France was held to deepen the convergences there. Unlike the Quad, the India-France maritime relationship is older, and many say, deeper, particularly after the two sides signed a logistics agreement earlier this year.