Prospects for Military-Political Integration in Asia. Is an Asian NATO Feasible?

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2022-66-8-5-15
A. Nikitin,
Moscow State Institute of International Relations, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (MGIMO University), 76, Vernadskogo Prosp., Moscow, 119454, Russian Federation;
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation;
National Research University Higher School of Economics, 20, Myasnitskaya Str., 101000, Moscow, Russian Federation.

Received 11.04.2022. Revised 30.04.2022. Accepted 03.06.2022.

Acknowledgments. The article is prepared within the Project of Systemic Advancement of the International Outreach at the MGIMO Institute for International Studies ( 2022-02-02).

Abstract. A unified strategy of formation of a new organization on security in Asia is absent. Such an initiative is not being emanated by the states of the region. Up to a dozen of varying interpretations of the notion of an “Asian NATO” are spread among the political-academic circles of different countries. The main bulk of such interpretations remain of an American authorship and are aimed at formation of military-political alliance targeted against China, and rather through activation of existing formats than through establishing a formalized military alliance. There is an evolution of the quadrilateral format of QUAD. The bifurcation point in its development requires a choice between evolution towards the real military alliance or in direction of a hybrid strategy of general political and economic interaction within the Asia-Pacific region, with only marginal components in security area. The American concept of Indo-Pacific region is criticized by the states of the region, and especially by the ASEAN member countries. The role of ASEAN as organizer and coordinator in the security area is decreasing. New configurations of military-political cooperation in Asia and in the Asia-Pacific region are emerging (Japan–India, India–Indonesia–Australia). Russia should be cautious in reacting to not-yet-formed American initiative targeted against China, to avoid actions leading to a new split between groups of states in Asia as a whole and specifically in the Asia-Pacific region, with understanding that in such a split Russia would play not a leading but a secondary role. The majority of the states of the Asia-Pacific macro-region are not ready to shape or join any formal anti-Chinese alliance under the U.S. leadership.

Keywords: Asia-Pacific region, Indo-Pacific region, NATO, regional integration, military alliances, ASEAN, China, U.S. strategy


1. Heijmans P. U.S. Weapons Sales to Thailand Have a New Competitor – China. Bloomberg News Articles, 02.12.2019. Available at: (accessed 30.05.2022).

2. Rolfe J. Five Eyes/Five Countries. New Zealand International Review, 2021, no. 46 (6), pp. 2-5. Available at: (accessed 11.04.2022).

3. Reiterer M. A China Policy Is Not an Asia Policy, but No Asia Policy Is without a China Policy. European University Institute Policy Brief. 2021. 9 p. Available at: (accessed 11.04.2022).

4. Sinha K. The ‘Quad’: A Strategic Liability for India. Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies. 08.02.2019. Available at: (accessed 11.04.2022).

5. Shankar V. Quad: The Making of a Robust Entente? Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies. 12.03.2018. Available at: (accessed 11.04.2022).

6. Paik W., Park J.J. The Quad’s Search for Non-Military Roles and China’s Strategic Response: Minilateralism, Infrastructure Investment, and Regional Balancing. Journal of Contemporary China, 2021, no. 30 (127), pp. 36-52. DOI: 10.1080/10670564.2020.1766908

7. Dobell G. Indo-Pacific: from Construct to Contest. The Strategist. Australian Strategic Policy Institute, 24.06.2019. Available at: (accessed 11.04.2022).

8. Denisov I., Paramonov O., Arapova E., Safranchuck I. Russia, China, and the Concept of Indo-Pacific. Journal of Eurasian Studies, 2021, vol. 12, iss. 1, pp. 72-85. Available at:

9. Jung S.Ch., Lee J., Lee J.-Y. The Indo-Pacific Strategy and US Alliance Network Expandability: Asian Middle Powers’ Positions on Sino-US Geostrategic Competition in Indo-Pacific Region. Journal of Contemporary China, 2021, no. 30 (127), pp. 53-68. DOI: 10.1080/10670564.2020.1766909

10. Krickovic A., Sakwa R. From Greater Europe to Greater Eurasia. Journal of Eurasian Studies, 2021, vol. 12 (1), pp. 3-4. Available at:

11. Wilkins Th. Searching for a Middle Path: ASEAN and the “Indo Pacific”. The Japan Institute of International Affairs. Policy Brief. February 11, 2020. 20 p. Available at: (accessed 06.04.2022).

12. Tang Siew Mun et al. The State of Southeast Asia: 2019 Survey Report. Singapore, ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, 2019. 25 p. Available at: (accessed 11.04.2022).

13. Acharya A. Why ASEAN Indo-Pacific Outlook Matters. The Strategist. Australian Strategic Policy Institute, 12.08.2019. Available at: (accessed 11.04.2022).

14. Masuhr N., Schepers N. AUKUS: Below the Surface. Analytical Report of the ETH Zurich. 4 p. Available at: (accessed 09.04.2022).

15. Shoebridge M. What is AUKUS and What Is It Not? Australian Strategic Policy Institute. 10 p. Available at: (accessed 09.04.2022).

16. Cheng M. AUKUS: The Changing Dynamic and Its Regional Implications. European Journal of Development Studies, 2022, no. 2 (1), pp. 1-7. Available at:

17. Chansoria M. 2019 ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting-Plus: Enhancing Bilateral and Regional Cooperative Security for India and Japan in the Indo-Pacific. The Japan Institute of International Affairs. 17.12.2019. 9 p. Available at: (accessed 09.04.2022).


1. ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific. Association of South East Asian Nations. 23.06.2019. Available at: (accessed 11.04.2022).

2. Joint Statement by the ADMM-Plus Defense Ministers on Advancing Partnership for Sustainable Security. Association of South East Asian Nations. 22.11.2019. Available at: (accessed 11.04.2022).

3. Joint Statement First Japan-India 2+2 Foreign and Defense Ministerial Meeting. 30.11.2019. Available at: (accessed 11.04.2022).

Registered in System SCIENCE INDEX

For citation:
Nikitin A. Prospects for Military-Political Integration in Asia. Is an Asian NATO Feasible?. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2022, vol. 66, no. 8, pp. 5-15.

Comments (0)

No comments

Add comment






Dear authors! Please note that in the VAK List of peer-reviewed scientific journals, in which the main scientific results of dissertations for the degree of candidate and doctor of sciences should be published for the “MEMO Journal” the following specialties are recorded:
economic sciences:
5.2.5. World Economy.
5.2.1. Economic Theory
5.2.3. Regional and Branch Economics
political sciences:
5.5.4. International Relations
5.5.1. History and Theory of Politics
5.5.2. Political Institutions, Processes, Technologies


Current Issue
2024, vol. 68, No. 7
Topical Themes of the Issue:
  • The Supporting Structure of Global Security
  • Institutional Features of the Fourth Energy Transition
  • The Evolution of Modern German Christian Democracy
  • The Monarchies of the Persian Gulf and Central Asia
Submit an Article
The Editorial Board invites authors to write analytical articles on the following topics:
  • changes in the processes of globalization in modern conditions
  • formation of the new world order
  • shifts in civilization at the stage of transition to a digital society

The editors are also interested in publishing synthesis articles / scientific reviews revealing the main trends in the development of certain regions of the world - Latin America, Africa, South Asia, etc.