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Contested Waters: Trends and Dynamics in Indo-Pacific Maritime Security

March 28 from 15:00 - 17:00 BMT


CPG online event series on peace and security in Asia 


“Contested Waters: Trends and Dynamics in Indo-Pacific Maritime Security”


March 28, 2024, 3:00-5:00 pm ICT (GMT+7), via Conferencing Program


Online panel discussion presented by

CPG’s Peace & Security Center (CPSC)

Concept Note

Amidst a fundamental transformation of the global order, transitioning from unipolarity to a rather fluid multipolarity, the Indo-Pacific has become a primary geopolitical theater. As the world system’s basic tenets shift due to changing global power dynamics, a fraying global order, reshaping globalization, a general rise in geopolitical advancements, and an unprecedented risk of great power conflict, the strategic importance of the Indo-Pacific is increasingly evident. The maritime domain is an essential part of this strategic space. Providing lifelines for the global economy, it also contains critical chokepoints and contested waters, with central actors projecting their strategic visions onto this space. 

Such actors, who regard the maritime domain of the Indo-Pacific region as strategically important – if not essential – for various reasons and to varying extents, include the US, the EU, India, China, Japan, and among others. Moreover, it is particularly in the maritime domain of the Indo-Pacific where the international liberal order, including the freedom of navigation, faces sustained threats and disruptions. 

Adding to potential flashpoints like the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait, the ongoing conflict in the Middle East has already caused significant disruptions to global supply chains due to the attacks by Houthi forces in the Red Sea. 

Besides, the spectrum of threats to maritime security in the Indo-Pacific is broad and diverse. It ranges from the risk of war over territorial claims or because of escalating tensions respectively, to grey zone operations that endanger the legitimate interests of littoral states, to challenges such as Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, piracy, or the trafficking of arms, people, and drugs. 

Against this larger backdrop, we want to discuss the state of affairs and emerging issues in Indo-Pacific maritime security with four eminent experts, namely Rear Admiral Sascha Helge Rackwitz, Commanding Officer of the 1st Flotilla of the German Navy, Vice Admiral Girish Luthra (ret.), the former Commander-in-Chief of both the Western Naval Command and the Southern Naval Command of the Indian Navy, Professor Jay L. Batongbacal from the College of Law of the University of the Philippines, and Dr. Sebastian Bruns, Department for Maritime Strategy and Security, Institute for Security Policy, University of Kiel, Germany. 


Vice Admiral Girish Luthra (ret.) is a Distinguished Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation, Mumbai, India. He formerly served in the Indian Navy as Commander-in-Chief of Western Naval Command and Southern Naval Command. A Navigation and Direction specialist, he has commanded frontline warships, including the aircraft carrier INS Viraat, and the Western Fleet. The preparation of important official documents, including the Indian Maritime Doctrine, the Maritime Capability Perspective Plan, and the Defence Space Roadmap 2030 has been steered by him. For his service in the Armed Forces, he received the Vishisht Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, and Param Vishisht Seva Medal.  

Rear Admiral Sascha Helge Rackwitz is the Commanding Officer of the 1st Flotilla of the German Navy. He serves as the Director of the Centre of Excellence for Operations in Confined and Shallow Waters, a NATO-accredited international military organization. He was formerly branchhead Central Affairs and executive officer to the Director-General for Armed Forces Policy at the German Ministry of Defense.  

Dr. Sebastian Bruns is a Senior Researcher at the Department for Maritime Strategy and Security, Institute for Security Policy, University of Kiel, Germany, and Senior Associate (non-resident) of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, D.C. From 2021 to 2022 he was a McCain Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence of the United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, M.D. His research areas cover naval strategy and naval forces, maritime security, modern piracy, and transatlantic relations as well as US foreign and security policy.   

Professor Jay L. Batongbacal is a full Professor at the College of Law of the University of the Philippines where he serves as Director of the Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea of the U.P. Law Center. His extensive work of nearly three decades on maritime includes teaching, research, and consultancy. He is included in the UNESCO/IOC List of Experts for UNCLOS Annex VIII Special Arbitration on Marine Scientific Research.  


Prof. Dr. Jan Asmussen is a CPG Senior Research Fellow and political scientist at the Institute of Social Science, University of Kiel. He was formerly a professor at the Faculty of Command and Naval Operations at the Polish Naval Academy. 

Dr. Duc Quang Ly is the Deputy Head of the CPG Peace & Security Center and Deputy Editor in Chief of the Asia in Review.


Event registration is essential for participation; individuals interested are encouraged to do so by visiting the link or QR code provided below. More information, please email us at events@cpg-online.de

⇒ Registration ⇐



March 28
15:00 - 17:00 BMT
Event Category:




Event Type
Panel Discussion / Roundtable