STRATEGIC ANALYSIS

Inside, Outside: India's ‘Exterior Lines’ in the South China Sea

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  • May 2012
    Volume: 
    36
    Issue: 
    3
    Commentaries

    New Delhi has long countenanced the idea of extra-regional operations. The Maritime Military Strategy published in 2007, for instance, lists the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean among ‘secondary areas’ of endeavour for the Indian sea services. ‘Areas of secondary interest will come in where there is a direct connection with areas of primary interest, or where they impinge on the deployment of future maritime forces.’ 1 The South China Sea abuts the Indian Ocean, the most compelling zone of primary interest for New Delhi, through the Malacca Strait. And it is a theatre where Indian maritime forces may deploy to back up larger foreign policy goals. It only makes sense for India to cast its strategic gaze eastward, beyond its immediate environs.

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