Indo-Pacific Civil Society Forum


The Indo-Pacific region has become a central feature of any discussion on international relations. Countries within and beyond the Indo-Pacific region have realised its strategic importance in global geopolitics. Working with like-minded countries, India and the United States have led efforts to shed historical hesitations and initiate a fresh discourse around the need for a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.

As the governments of these countries navigate closer cooperation on security, strategic, and economic issues, non-governmental stakeholders should be included in the discourse. In particular, there is immense scope for positive collaboration among Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to complement the efforts at the inter-governmental level towards greater synergy in the Indo-Pacific and act as a link between citizens and officials.

A coalition of CSOs in the Indo-Pacific region, connecting well-established CSOs across participating countries with each other, will serve as an important platform for such collaboration.



1. An informal forum of CSOs in the Indo-Pacific will be established. This forum, called the Indo-Pacific Civil Society Forum (IPCSF), will be a Coalition of reputed CSOs (NGOs, think-tanks, etc.), which will work with government organisations towards realising a shared vision of peace, security, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.

2. The Forum will be an informal networking platform where experiences can be exchanged and developments in the Indo-Pacific region discussed. There will be a focus on sharing of views, exchange of ideas and incorporating them in our respective operations.

4. The underlying basis of our engagement will be a recognition that the Indo-Pacific region requires a vibrant civil society network, which can enhance democratic norms and values.

3. The Forum participants will primarily deliberate on how we can collectively improve our engagement with policy-making on Indo-Pacific issues at the national and international levels, and how we can collectively take the grassroot along with the bigger body.

4. The underlying basis of our engagement will be a recognition that the Indo-Pacific region requires a vibrant civil society network, which can enhance democratic norms and values.

5. The ultimate objective will be to make the Forum a platform for advocacy on important issues common to the Indo-Pacific region and to our areas of work. The aim will be to make the Forum a catalyst for change in the region.

Expected Outcomes:
1. The Indo-Pacific Civil Society Forum will help institutionalise the sharing of lessons and experiences gained by CSOs working with ground-level challenges in individual countries of the region. Thus, this Forum will be a strong link between the citizens at the grassroots, opinion-makers and policymakers at national levels, and policymakers at the international stage, spread all across the vast geography of the Indo-Pacific. This will help bridging macro-micro information and policy gaps.

2. There is currently no platform for effective engagement between CSOs actively working in the Indo-Pacific region. The Indo-Pacific Civil Society Forum will, thus, be an ideal informal platform for constructive collaboration to jointly contribute towards a shared vision of a peaceful, stable, secure and prosperous region. Such a coalition has the potential to bring about transformative changes in the region, which will have an enduring impact on people’s lives. This would have far-reaching implications for improving relations between the people, societies and governments of the Indo-Pacific.


Rationale for an Indo-Pacific Civil Society Forum:
1. The Indo-Pacific Civil Society Forum will herald in a new era of regional cooperation, unconstrained by the historical baggage of North-South divisions. As important participants in international diplomacy, a robust civil society including think-tank network can influence rule-shaping both from the inside and outside. A coalition of trans-national CSOs, working collaboratively towards a shared vision of the Indo-Pacific, will have significantly greater influence and impact collectively than individually.

2. The future of the Indo-Pacific region as a global strategic and commercial hub will be founded on regional stakeholders joining forces with each other as a coalition of democracies. A forum of CSOs from like-minded countries will be an important pillar to strengthen democratic values in the region. As key stakeholders in participatory democracy, CSOs are a bridge between citizens and the State. A civil society network in the Indo-Pacific will lead to enhanced trust and confidence-building among the CSOs working in the region, which will, in turn, build greater people-to-people ties across the Indo-Pacific. These efforts will contribute to closer ties and elevate trust levels between the governments of the Indo-Pacific region.

3. CSOs have deep and impactful relations with the societies in which they operate. The foundation of any well-informed society lies at its grassroots. CSOs play an integral role in generating issue-based awareness in societies, bottom-up from the grassroots. They have also traditionally played a very important role in capacity-building programmes in their areas of operation. A civil society coalition operating across the Indo-Pacific can play a pivotal role in promoting awareness of major challenges facing the Indo-Pacific region.

4. The indicative areas of capacity-building and awareness programmes, inter alia, can be sustainable and inclusive development, the prospects and challenges in the digital economy, and post-pandemic recovery. Issues like climate change, economic democracy, consumers’ rights, gender equality and media freedom will be other avenues for cooperation. Such efforts would be instrumental in promoting a better understanding of contemporary issues in these societies as well as highlighting the need for trans-national cooperation among the Indo-Pacific countries to find relevant, collective solutions.



*Affiliated with Forum in a personal capacity

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