KUALA LUMPUR: These are heady days in the Asia-Pacific or, as the geostrategic term allegedly first coined by the Japanese but made fashionable by the Americans would have it, in the Indo-Pacific. Despite numerous seemingly grave explanations, I have frankly still struggled to understand the rationale or necessity for lumping together the two hitherto somewhat disparate, albeit neighboring, regions of the world.

The Pacific Ocean is humongous enough that it has long warranted its own regional geostrategic description, such as the use of "Pacific Fleet" by some of the major powers. The addition of "Asia" to the name pays tribute to both the economic significance of Asia, especially East Asia, and also the geostrategic complexities among the various regional powers. Asia-Pacific has served us well, with, for example, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) bringing together the leaders of the various economies annually.

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