Geopolitics of the Indo-Pacific


The course will be given in English / L'école se donnera en anglais

Work can be submitted in French or English / Les travaux peuvent être rédigés en anglais ou en français

From May 29 to June 3 - PLU6912 (A-D)

The 21st Century is poised to be the Indo-Pacific Century. Many of the world's major and emerging political and economic powers have Indian Ocean and/or Pacific Ocean coastlines. The region has become critical for global trade and security, and is undergoing major strategic realignments. This course will examine some of the key factors shaping Indo-Pacific geopolitics and geoeconomics, in large part by looking at how major players including the United States, India, China and France are jostling for position in the increasingly important Third Island Chain that cuts through the heart of Oceania. This region was a front line in World War II, and is rapidly heating up again. Understanding what is happening there will give insight into new alliances and dangerous faultlines that could shape the global future.



Du 29 Mai au 3 Juin 2017 - PLU6912 (A-D)

Le 21ème siècle est sur le point d'être le siècle de l'Indo-Pacifique. De nombreuses puissances politiques et économiques mondiales émergentes partagent un littoral avec l'océan Indien et/ou l'océan Pacifique. La région est devenue essentielle pour le commerce et la sécurité dans le monde, et connaît des réalignements stratégiques majeurs. Ce cours examinera certains des facteurs clés qui façonnent la géopolitique et la géoéconomie indo-pacifiques, en grande partie en examinant la façon dont les principaux acteurs, y compris les États-Unis, l'Inde, la Chine et la France se bousculent pour des positions sur une troisième chaine d'îles stratégique de plus en plus importante, qui traverse le cœur de l'Océanie. Cette région était une ligne de front durant la Seconde Guerre mondiale et s'intensifie rapidement de nouveau. La compréhension de ce qui se passe dans la région donnera un aperçu des nouvelles alliances et des lignes de sécurité dangereuses qui pourraient façonner l'avenir mondial.


Pour toute autre information, veuillez contacter Yaël About / For more information, please contact Yaël About






Monday, May 29

9h00 – 12h00: Introduction to the course

Overview of the course, including: major recent strategic shifts in the Indo-Pacific, role and motivation of a more muscular China, the reality of the American ‘Pivot’, how US President Trump’s policy priorities affect the region, India’s ‘Act East’ policy, Japan’s evolving ‘self-defence’, France’s re-emergence as a Pacific actor, the complex positioning of Five Eyes partners Australia and New Zealand and what this might mean for Canada’s options in the region.

13h30 – 16h30: China and the United States in the Indo-Pacific

Guest lecture by John Tkacik, former Chief of China Analysis at the US State Department Office of Intelligence and Research (INR). At INR, Mr. Tkacik supervised all State Department analysis, coordination and dissemination of China economic, commercial, military, political and strategic intelligence. He will speak about China’s evolving position in Indo-Pacific affairs, and the US response.


Tuesday, May 30

9h00 – 10h30: Strategic trends in the Indo-Pacific, as seen from the region

Guest speaker (by Skype): Prof. K.P.  Vijayalakshmi, Centre for Canadian, US and Latin American Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India. Prof. Vijayalakshmi's area of research is in the field of Indo-US relations with a concentration on domestic politics of the US and its ramifications on foreign policy building and matters related to international security in general, Non-Proliferations politics and South Asian security in particular. She was awarded multiple prizes and fellowships for her work, including Ford Foundation Faculty Fellowship, Senior Fulbright Post Doctoral Fellowship, Salzburg Seminar Fellow, Olive J. Reddick Award, and Gilnour Award. She will speak about the view of Indo-Pacific strategic issues from an Indian perspective.

10h30 - 12h00: India foreign relations in the India Ocean and Africa

Guest speaker: Mr. Alioune Ndiaye is a lecturer in international relations and African politics at Université de Sherbrooke. Mr Ndiaye has studied at the Geneva Graduate Institute for International Studies. He has several publications on India and Africa relations including the book: L'Afrique dans la politique étrangère indienne: les nouvelles ambitions africaines de New Delhi, Dictus Publishing, 2013. He is also a research fellow at CERIAS (UQAM) and for the last 4 years given training sessions at the Canadian Foreign Service Institute. He is also the co-founder of the Center for Study of India and Africa Partnership, a think tank dedicated to buildings win-win cooperations between India and Africa. Alioune Ndiaye also serves as a guest analyst on African politics and international relations for several media organizations, including Le Point, Africa 24, Le Soleil. He will speak on India in the Indian Ocean, and India-Africa relation

13h30 - 16h30: Goals and realities of India’s Indo-Pacific strategy

Guest lecture by Dr. Satu Limaye, Director of the East-West Center, Washington, DC. Dr. Limaye is also a Senior Advisor at the Center for Naval Analyses in Arlington, VA, Founding Editor of the Asia-Pacific Bulletin series, an editor of the journal Global Asia and on the international advisory council of the journal Contemporary Southeast Asia. Dr. Limaye will speak about India’s military and diplomatic strategy in the Indo-Pacific region.


Wednesday, May 31

9h00 – 12h00: Understanding 'wicked' security issues, especially in the context of environmental and climate change

Guest lecture by Carol Dumaine. Carol Dumaine began her profession as an all-source intelligence analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency. She retired from the federal government in June 2013. While in government, she had the opportunity to create and oversee several collaborative interdisciplinary analytic partnerships in the international security community. From 2007-2010, Ms. Dumaine served as the head of the Energy and Environmental Security Directorate in the Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence at the US Department of Energy (2007-2010). She is a co-editor of New Frontiers for Intelligence Analysis:  Shared Threats, Diverse Perspectives and New Communities. She is currently a Professorial Lecturer in the Energy, Resources and Environment Program at SAIS, Johns Hopkins. She will discuss how to understand broad and 'wicked' security issues generally and in the region, especially in the context of environmental and climate change.

13h30 – 16h30: France's evolving engagment in Oceania

Guest lecture (by Skype) by Dr. Helene Goiran, Independent Scholar. This session will look at the roles and priories of France, and other countries, in Oceania. France's Oceania strategy has markedly evolved. In the past year alone, there have been large military sales (including a $50 billion submarine deal with Australia), paradigm-shifting diplomatic initiatives, and frequent visits by French political leaders to Oceania.


Thursday, June 1

9h00 – 12h00: Implications of developments in the East and South China Seas

Guest lecture by Dr. Zack Cooper, Fellow with the Japan Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Dr. Cooper focuses on Asian security issues and works closely with the CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative. Prior to joining CSIS, Dr. Cooper worked as a research fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, and served on the White House staff as assistant to the deputy national security adviser for combating terrorism. He also worked at the Pentagon as a special assistant to the principal deputy under secretary of defense for policy. Dr. Copper will speak about the rapidly evolving security and diplomatic situation in the East and South China Seas.

13h30 - 14h30: Quebec and the Indo-Pacific

Guest lecture by Mr. Mathieu Parenteau, Head of India, Central Asia, South and Southeast Asia, representative of the Minister of International Relations and La Francophonie.

14h30 – 16h30: Oceania’s goals and restraints in geopolitical engagement

Guest lecture (by Skype) by Hon. 'Akau'ola. Hon. 'Akau'ola was a key point person for many of the Pacific island countries on the IRENA HQ vote and the setting up of the IRENA council, the UN's Pacific Regional Data Repository, the Pacific Leaders Energy Summit, Tonga’s ICAO/China MA60 negotiations, the Dubai 2020 bid and more. He has been Special Advisor to two Prime Ministers from the Kingdom of Tonga.


Friday, June 2

9h00 – 12h00: Overview of situation in Oceania, and US engagement

Guest lecture by Ambassador Steven McGann. Most recently, Ambassador McGann served as Deputy Commandant and Senior Advisor of the Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy at the National Defense University (NDU) in Washington, D.C. Before that, Ambassador McGann was the United States Ambassador to the Republics of Fiji, Nauru, Kiribati, the Kingdom of Tonga and Tuvalu (2008–11). Other overseas assignments include Taiwan, Zaire, South Africa, Australia and Kenya. Ambassador McGann will speak about US policies in Oceania and the region, especially in the context of strategic shifts.

13h30 – 16h30: Recap of the week and workshop of student research papers


Saturday, June 3

9h00 – 12h00: Canada in Oceania and policy development workshop

Following an introductory talk by Christian DesRoches on Canadian policies in Oceania, in the wider Indo-Pacific context, the class will break into groups to work on developing policies for Canadian engagement in the Indo-Pacific, and Oceania in particular.

Christian DesRoches served as Deputy Head of Mission and Counsellor for Political/Economic Affairs at the High Commission of Canada in Wellington, New Zealand from 2013 to 2016. In addition to covering New Zealand, he was accredited to Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Kiribati and Tuvalu and travelled frequently to Pacific Island Countries to engage with governments and civil society. He is now back in Ottawa working at Global Affairs Canada's Counter-Terrorism, Crime and Intelligence Bureau. Mr. DesRoches joined Canada's Foreign Service in 2006. In 2012-2013, he served as Senior Policy Advisor for the G8, where he coordinated Canada's approach to the Lough Erne Summit. In 2011-2012, Mr. DesRoches worked with the United Nations division, where he served on the negotiating team for the Rio+20 Conference. He was posted to Abuja, Nigeria from 2008 to 2011, first as political officer and then head of political/economic section, and served in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2008.

13h30 – 15h00: Panel discussion on practical policymaking and implementation

Policy experts, including Ambassador Steven McGann and Christian DesRoches, will give real world examples of how to make policies and projects work, and then give practical advice on why some of the policies developed in the morning workshop might, or might not, work, and how to improve their chances.

15h30: Presentation of certificates and closing cocktail.





 Cleo Paskal, chercheuse Trudeau