1st Edition

Minilateralism in the Indo-Pacific The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Mechanism, and ASEAN

Edited By Bhubhindar Singh, Sarah Teo Copyright 2020
    156 Pages
    by Routledge

    156 Pages
    by Routledge

    While US-centred bilateralism and ASEAN-led multilateralism have largely dominated the post-Cold War regional security architecture in the Indo-Pacific, increasing doubts about their effectiveness have resulted in countries turning to alternative forms of cooperation, such as minilateral arrangements. Compared to multilateral groupings, minilateral platforms are smaller in size, as well as more exclusive, flexible and functional.

    Both China and the US have contributed to minilateral initiatives in the Indo-Pacific. In the case of the former, there is the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation mechanism—involving China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam—established in 2015. In the case of the latter, there has been a revival of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue in 2017—involving the US, Australia, Japan and India. This book examines the rise of these arrangements, their challenges and opportunities, as well as their impact on the extant regional security architecture, including on the ASEAN-led multilateral order.

    A valuable guide for students and policy-makers looking to understand the nature and development of minilateralism in the Indo-Pacific region.

    List of contributors
    Introduction: minilateralism in the Indo-Pacific (Bhubhindar Singh and Sarah Teo)

    1. Minilateralism and US security policy in the Indo-Pacific: the legacy, viability, and deficiencies of a new security approach (William T. Tow)
    2. The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue and Indo-Pacific minilateralism: resurrection without renewal? (Andrew O’Neil and Lucy West)
    3. The future of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue: possibilities and challenges (Tomohiko Satake)
    4. Lancang-Mekong Cooperation: minilateralism in institutional building and its implications (Xue Gong)
    5. Lancang-Mekong Cooperation: the latest stage of China’s hydro-politics (Shang-su Wu)
    6. The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue and ASEAN centrality (Huong Le Thu) 
    7. Minilateralism in Southeast Asia: facts, opportunities, and risks (Vannarith Chheang)
    8. ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus: multilateralism mimicking minilateralism? (See Seng Tan)



    Bhubhindar Singh is Associate Professor, Coordinator of the Regional Security Architecture Programme, and Head of Graduate Studies at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

    Sarah Teo is Associate Research Fellow with the Regional Security Architecture Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

    'Across the Indo-Pacific, states are turning to minilateral groupings to address issues of common concern, and away from traditional multilateral institutions. This timely book analyses why this has occurred and what consequences it may have for the security of the region. Bringing together an expert team of scholars, it makes an incisive contribution to our understanding of minilateralism as an evolving phenomenon and emerging practice.' - Ian Hall, Professor, Griffith University, Queensland, Australia

    'The S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore has long been the world’s leading authority on Asian security cooperation. This volume, edited by two of its rising stars, brings together a stellar lineup to study an increasingly central, but underexamined, form of collaboration. As multilateralism and traditional alliances each confront existential challenges in this increasingly important region, minilateralism is coming to the fore. This excellent book is thus a must read for scholars, practitioners, journalists and students of Asian security alike.' - Brendan Taylor, Professor of Strategic Studies, Australian National University

    'In this prescient volume, Singh and Teo bring together leading experts in the field to explore an understudied but important aspect of Asia’s evolving regional architecture: the rise and prevalence of minilateral initiatives in the Indo-Pacific. In a period of increasing uncertainty and dissatisfaction with current bilateral and multilateral arrangements, Minilateralism in the Indo-Pacific is a must read for any serious student, scholar, and policymaker interested in Asian affairs.' - Andrew Yeo, Associate Professor of Politics, The Catholic University of America

    'Even as new challenges emerge in a post Covid-19 world, a debate rages on how emerging global security challenges may be best addressed. Will it be by the world hegemon unilaterally laying down policy and outlining structures of dialogue and engagement, or bilaterally, by the two leading contenders for global power coming together to set out new rules of the game? Professor Bhubhindar Singh and Sarah Teo, two scholars from the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, Southeast Asia’s leading centre for research on the Asia-Pacific, highlight the potential of a new format – minilateralism. Bringing together leading international scholars in this important though this volume, Minilateralism in the Indo-Pacific – The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Mechanism, and ASEAN, they help explain how it eases engagement to deal with new challenges that the world is confronting.' -Dipanker Banerjee, Head and Director of Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies and retired Major General of the Indian Army, First published in Global Dialogue Review (Oct 2020)