It is extremely rare for Canadian governments – regardless of political stripe – to issue major foreign policy documents. The Government of Canada’s recently released Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS) is ambitious, comprehensive, and includes funding initiatives and long-term commitments of unprecedented scale and scope. It is a significant achievement for the Government to have put forward such a substantive package.
For Canadians who have been working on expanding engagement with the region – including the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, which under the IPS will be provided with substantial resources to establish an operating hub in Asia – the strategy represents a welcome opportunity to build new networks, increase Canadians’ understanding of and capacity to engage in the region, address critical domestic capacity issues (including security from foreign interference and building infrastructure for trade), and increase awareness and appreciation across the Indo-Pacific region of what Canadians have to offer as partners.
While the details of the various initiatives and plans for their implementation remain to be rolled out, and Canada’s longstanding global under-investment in development assistance, defence, and diplomacy still needs to be addressed, the strategic framework and investments announced in the Indo-Pacific Strategy – if implemented well – offer a major step up for Canada in engaging with the world’s most dynamic region.
APF Canada’s network of experts will be providing analysis of the IPS and its specific components in the days ahead.