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Indo-Pacific Armies Chief Conference 2023: A Pivotal Gathering for Regional Stability

The conference will convene military leaders and delegates from approximately 30 nations, with 20 Army Chiefs already confirming their participation.

September 20, 2023 By Neetu Dhulia Photo(s): By Twitter / @adgpi, Neetu Dhulia / SP Guide Pubns
Lt General M.V. Suchindra Kumar, VCOAS addressed the audience during the Curtain Raiser event of the Indo-Pacific Armies Chiefs Conference (IPACC), Indo-Pacific Armies Management Seminar (IPAMS) and Senior Enlisted Leadership Forum (SELF).

A Curtain Raiser event on September 20, 2023 in New Delhi, shared the glimpse of an extraordinary display of international cooperation as the Indian Army and the United States Army prepare to jointly host the 13th Indo-Pacific Armies Chief Conference (IPACC), 47th Indo-Pacific Armies Management Seminar (IPAMS), and the 9th Senior Enlisted Leadership Forum (SELF) in the dynamic city of New Delhi from September 25 to 27, 2023. This three-day conference, to be held shortly after the successful conclusion of the G20 summit, is guided by the theme 'Together for Peace: Fostering Stability in the Indo-Pacific Region.' The conference aims to facilitate crucial discussions on security matters and contemporary challenges that transcend national borders.

A Region of Global Significance

The selection of the Indo-Pacific region as the backdrop for this vital conference is deliberate. This region is increasingly acknowledged as the "epicenter of global affairs," encompassing a staggering 64 percent of the world's population, contributing significantly to the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at 63 percent, and playing a pivotal role in world merchandise trade, accounting for 46 percent. Furthermore, it dominates 50 percent of the world's maritime trade, boasting coastlines rich in maritime resources and sought-after rare earth metals. Importantly, this region is home to seven of the world's largest armies, known for their successful collaboration on various fronts, from joint military exercises to humanitarian aid and disaster relief operations. India's geographical positioning, commanding vital sea lanes of communication through which 90 percent of trade and energy resources flow, solidifies its integral role in the "India-Pacific."

Lt General M.V. Suchindra Kumar, VCOAS highlighted that Indian Army has made significant contribution in promoting peace & stability in the Indo-Pacific region & emphasised that Indian Army remains committed towards a safe & secure Indo-Pacific region, promoting the interests of the stakeholders.

The Triad of Events

IPACC (Indo-Pacific Armies Chief Conference): At this segment, Army Chiefs from the Asia Pacific region will convene to delve into matters of mutual interest, engaging in high-level dialogues aimed at expanding multilateralism. This biennial event, organised by the U.S. Army since 1999, has seen India's participation since 2011. The discussions will revolve around topics such as Enhancing Collaboration and Interoperability, the Role of Military Diplomacy in Crisis Mitigation, Imperatives of Self-Reliance for Modern Armies, and Sustaining Peace and Stability in the Indo-Pacific Region.

IPAMS (Indo-Pacific Armies Management Seminar): This annual seminar is attended by Army Officers ranging from the rank of Lieutenant Colonel to Major General for discussions on mutual interests. The seminar aims to enhance regional military interaction, and India has been participating since 2019. The seminar will delve into topics including Partnering for Sustainable Peace and Security in the Indo-Pacific, Cooperation in Military Training to Enhance Interoperability, and Humanitarian Assistance & Evolving Mechanisms for Crisis Response.

SELF (Senior Enlisted Leadership Forum): This forum fosters open dialogue, the sharing of best practices, and the building and maintenance of relations. It draws participation from enlisted leaders, junior commissioned officers, and non-commissioned officers, providing a platform for understanding each other's armies and developing common personal skills. Topics for discussion encompass Interoperability Amongst Indo-Pacific Armies, Grooming Junior Leaders for the Modern Battlefield, and Beyond Barracks — Addressing Concerns of Senior Enlisted Leaders.

A Transformative Phase for the Region

India's resolute stance on the Indo-Pacific, as eloquently conveyed by Prime Minister Modi, underscores the nation's commitment to fostering a secure and harmonious region. The recent reaffirmation of the Quad's significance by Prime Minister Modi and President Biden serves as a testament to the shared commitment towards a free, open, inclusive, and resilient Indo-Pacific.

Prime Minister Modi's address to the US Congress highlighted the mutual concern for stability in the Indo-Pacific, emphasizing the importance of collective efforts. The Indo-Pacific Partnership for Maritime Domain Awareness, championed by the Quad partners, showcases the collaborative spirit in safeguarding maritime security across vast expanses, from the Indian Ocean to Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

Furthermore, India's participation in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), as endorsed last year, reinforces the nation's vision for a rules-based order. It reflects India's dedication to sustainable and transparent infrastructure investment, setting the stage for a free, open, inclusive, and peaceful Indo-Pacific-a collective aspiration shared by nations invested in the region's prosperity and stability.

As the world turns its attention to the Indo-Pacific region, the Indo-Pacific Armies Chief Conference 2023 stands as a testament to the power of collaboration in addressing shared security concerns and fostering stability in this dynamic part of the world.