Maritime Developments in the South Western Indian Ocean and the Potential for India's Engagement with the Region

Lieutenant-Commander Yogesh V. Athawale is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy Khadakwasla, and was commissioned in the Indian Navy in July 1999. He is a specialist in anti-submarine warfare (ASW).
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  • May 2012

    The Indian Ocean region, being a vast geographical entity, is composed of various regional and sub-regional entities. This article addresses prominent maritime developments in the South Western Indian Ocean (SWIO) region of the Indian Ocean Rim and highlights the multi-dimensional growth of strategic maritime activities in the region. The developments, which range from security cooperation among nations to a rise in maritime piracy and regional cooperation for fisheries management, lend a distinct maritime perspective to the emerging geostrategic and economic discourse in this oceanic region of East Africa, dotted as it is with island and coastal states. The article then juxtaposes these prominent developments with the main concerns of the maritime states and their efforts to meet the challenges posed by the developments. The article also brings out the relevance of these concerns in the context of India's military maritime strategy and foreign policy goals in the region, underscoring the self-evident case for a more focused and multi-pronged engagement with the region, to harness the potential of mutually beneficial cooperation across various maritime disciplines. The likely areas of cooperation are discussed, with emphasis on the advantages that could accrue to India from these endeavours.