Security challenges for Indo-Pacific island States: ASPI

December 5, 2019

SYDNEY - A new report from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) examines how Pacific island countries (PICs) and Indian Ocean island states (IO island states) are managing and prioritising their maritime security challenges.The report, which refers to these islands as the 'Indo-Pacific island states', says they face an intricate offshore tapestry.

It says that most of the maritime threats and risks facing the Indo-Pacific island states are increasing, and that this is in part because of the general lack of effective maritime security.

The report recommends that Indo-Pacific island states:

Strengthen national resilience through building national institutions;
Develop and implement national maritime security strategies;
Build maritime surveillance capabilities;
Develop a formal tasking program for the patrolling of remote islands and coastal areas;
Build national maritime domain awareness systems;
Strengthen institutional resilience through regional norms;
Review interagency operational and staff training for maritime security; and
Collate relevant maritime laws and ensure that they are easily accessible and understood

For Australia, Japan and other like-minded countries working with Indo-Pacific island states, the report recommends:

Giving coastguards a key role in maritime security and safety co-operation in the Indian Ocean;
Establishing a 'Quad' of coastguards to co-ordinate regional capacity building;
Stepping up Australia's maritime security capability-building efforts among selected IO island States;
Assisting the development of national and regional MDA systems;
Developing framework disaster management arrangements;
Shaping the narrative on environmental security;
Helping strengthen regional institutions for Indo-Pacific island States;
Providing support for infrastructure development; and
Building capacity for the blue economy. (ATI)