South Asia and Beyond

India’s Clout In Indo-Pacific Growing: Spanish Security Expert

NEW DELHI: India has become a major priority for Spain’s foreign and security policy, says Colonel Jose Pardo De Santayana, Chief Analyst at the Spanish Institute for Strategic Studies, Madrid.

In New Delhi for the Spain-India Forum, a bilateral summit where he was part of a panel discussion on a ‘New Indo-Pacific Security Architecture: Partnerships in Defence Capacity Building,’ held at the Instituto Cervantes in Chanakyapuri, he said the Spanish government had concluded that the Indo-Pacific region had become a centre for World Security, and “we cannot ignore what is happening here.”

According to him, India is an important player in this region and will become more important, “so we need to strengthen and deepen our security relationship with India.”

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Asked whether Spain would get involved in the increasingly troubled South China Sea dispute, he said Spain was more focused on the Indian Ocean at the moment, on issues like piracy and fishing rights. “But what will come later, we don’t know now.”

However, focusing on just one issue or element in a region “we think is a mistake,” he said. “ We were surprised when the conflict in Ukraine started, and we were surprised now with this conflict in the Middle East…” So because we are living in a moment of extreme tensions between great powers, it could spark a new conflict anywhere, he said. “We should look at providing security in a broad sense.” At the same time, “if we decide to confront just one country in the region, it could make the confrontation worse,” he argued.