China and Francophone Western Indian Ocean Region: Implications for Indian Interests

Vidhan Pathak was former faculty member at Department of Political Science and International Studies, Dire Dawa University, Dire Dawa, Ethiopia. He is currently Assistant Editor of Diaspora Studies, New Delhi.
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  • October 2009

    The cooperation between China and Francophone Western Indian Ocean region is now getting more visible, particularly after the China-Africa summit in November 2006. China's new thrust in the Francophone Western Indian Ocean region was though framed within China's broader Africa policy, however there is indeed the centrality of maritime considerations. China seems to have a higher level of physical presence in the Francophone Western Indian Ocean's various island states than would be warranted by its present levels of trade and other economic activities. On the other hand, India enjoys strong political and security ties with Francophone Western Indian Ocean island states. However, India is anxious about the scale and intensity of the diplomatic and political energies that China seems to be devoting to the two island nations of the region, Seychelles and Mauritius. India's concerns are about China’s strategic intentions underlying its high profile outreach to these two island states. This paper will explore Chinese interest and nature of involvement in the Francophone Western Indian Ocean region and its implications for Indian interests in the region. It will also focus on the prospects for cooperation and conflict in the region.

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