A European Perspective on Maritime Security Challenges in the Indian Ocean Region

Radu N. Botez is a graduate student at the Paris School of International Affairs (Sciences Po Paris). He was a research intern at IDSA, New Delhi.
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  • May 2012

    The Indian Ocean Region (IOR), ranging from the Suez Canal in the west to the Strait of Malacca in the east, is of crucial importance for Europe. However, Europe's interest in the region's maritime space and its security challenges is limited. As a consequence, the European Union (EU) as an institution as well as those European countries that are looking eastwards because they have territories in the IOR (France, Great Britain) or because large parts of their trade cross the region (especially Germany) have failed to frame a vision, or even strategy, with regard to the IOR, not least due to the absence of capabilities that could underpin the same. Indeed, Europe has been largely preoccupied with its own neighbourhood and with the war in Afghanistan in the decades since the end of the Cold War. While the IOR in general attracts European interest at times due to, for instance, natural catastrophes such as the 2004 tsunami, critical internal situations in its rim states and strained ties between the same, maritime security challenges in the IOR have rarely been on the agenda in Brussels, Paris, London or Berlin.