Interview with Bilahari Kausikan

Bilahari Kausikan is former Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Singapore. He was also served as Singapore’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations (1995-1998) with concurrent accreditation as High Commissioner to Canada and Ambassador to Mexico. Prior to that, Mr. Kausikan was also Singapore’s Ambassador to Russian Federation in 1994. Now, he is the chairman of the Middle East Institute at the National University of Singapore.

Interviewed by Calvin Khoe

Calvin Khoe is research associate and program development at the Foreign Policy Community of Indonesia (FPCI). His research interests surround Indonesian foreign policy, geopolitics, and Southeast Asia. He is also the program coordinator of ASEAN-China survey since 2020. Prior to FPCI, Calvin was a research assistant at the Indonesian Institute of National Resilience (Lemhannas RI). He assisted Indonesian National Security Fellows at Canberra, Australia (2017).

FPCI Issues To Watch: Can ASEAN be an Indo-Pacific Manager? In-depth interview with Bilahari Kausikan

Sitting on the Indian and Pacific Oceans axis, Southeast Asia witnesses billions of dollars’ worth of goods pass through its waters as the region becomes more mature in economics, trade, investment, innovation, production, and geopolitical position on the global chessboard. Given its strategic position, countries in the region are responsible for managing the region’s stability and balance in Southeast Asia.

The new geostrategic landscape of the Indo-Pacific brings ASEAN both benefits and costs. It makes ASEAN’s position, principles, instruments, and mechanisms increasingly important, while also enduring a test of its relevancy, especially as the formation of minilateral mechanisms such as the QUAD and AUKUS is emerging.

ASEAN’s partners, such as the US, China, European Union, Australia, Japan, South Korea, India, and many more, express their support for ASEAN Centrality. The question now is, “How will ASEAN fulfill its principle of centrality?” Is the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific enough? Can ASEAN be the Indo-Pacific manager? “

To answer these questions, FPCI Research Associate and Program Development Calvin Khoe interviewed Bilahari Kausikan, the former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Singapore and a well-known thought leader on geopolitics and ASEAN. They discussed the state of the geopolitical dynamic in the region and the prospect of ASEAN’s role in addressing the dynamic in this edition of FPCI Issues to Watch.

To read the interview, please click the download button below:

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