Indian Ocean Region

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  • The Sino-Indian Geopolitics and Maritime Security of the Indian Ocean Region

    The Indian Ocean Region (IOR) is a prominent arena in international politics, in terms of trade, tourism, population, among other aspects. Several countries, some unconnected geographically, have shown interest in these waters. These entities offer financial, technical, infrastructural and capacity-building support, and security services to several IOR countries. India, the prominent resident power of this ocean, and others, consider this development unnecessary, uncalled for and unacceptable.

    January 2021

    Dattatreaya Nimbalkar asked: What is the strategic importance of Seychelles Island in the Indian Ocean Region and for India?

    Abhay Kumar Singh replies: In maritime geopolitics, the strategic salience of islands is defined by their location, which makes them vital for establishing a regional naval presence, and their proximity to sea lines of communications (SLOCs), which facilitates patrolling in the region during times of peace and conflict.

    Dattatreaya Nimbalkar asked: Why has India's ‘necklace of diamonds’ strategy in the Indian Ocean Region not been as successful compared to China's 'string of pearls’ strategy?

    Abhay Kumar Singh replies: At the core of this question lies conceptual confusion between key phrases used to describe strategic policies pronounced or promulgated by the government and lexicons used by strategic experts and commentators in interpreting official policies.

    Time to Leverage the Strategic Potential of Andaman & Nicobar Islands

    A focused development plan for the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which provide India with a commanding geostrategic presence in the Bay of Bengal and access to South and Southeast Asia, could greatly enhance the country’s geopolitical leverage in the Indian Ocean Region.

    June 26, 2020

    Indraneel Bhardwaj asked: As an aspiring ‘net security provider’ in the IOR, is India suitably equipped for undertaking MOOTW in the IOR?

    Roby Thomas replies: India and the Indian Navy have emerged as the first port of call and a dependable partner for the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) littoral navies to address their maritime security needs.

    Indian Ocean Perspectives: From Sea Power to Ocean Prosperity

    Long before the Atlantic and the Pacific became theatres for commerce and conflict, the Indian Ocean was home to considerable commercial and cultural intercourse. Most recent literature has, however, focused on maritime security and sea power while greater attention ought to be paid to economic development around the Indian Ocean. India’s plans for the development of the ‘Blue Economy’ augurs well for the region.

    September 2019

    Geopolitics of Western Indian Ocean: Unravelling China’s Multi-dimensional Presence

    The Western Indian Ocean (WIO) is now attaining centrestage in the geopolitics of the Indian Ocean. Apart from France and the US, China holds significant interests in the WIO. China’s interests with the WIO states could be divided in four categories: dual-use infrastructure building, politico-diplomatic focus, connectivity-access and military activities. All four are interconnected and facilitate China’s desire to project power. For China, activities in the WIO serve the purpose of ensuring energy supplies, maintaining economic growth and securing military interests.

    September 2019

    India’s Domestic Debate over China’s Growing Strategic Presence in the Indian Ocean

    This article seeks to capture the domestic debate in India over China’s activities in the Indian Ocean. It engages the critical geopolitical articulation around formal, practical and popular geopolitics, and provides a narrow perspective on the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). It begins with a look at how India and China perceive the IOR, which is crucial to understand how the Indian Ocean is framed in the public consciousness in India.

    January-March 2019

    Sanchit Matta asked: What is the geo-strategic potential of the Great Channel? How can it curtail the benefits of the Malacca Strait?

    Abhay Kumar Singh replies: The Great Channel in the Indian Ocean separates Great Nicobar Island of India and Aceh Province of Indonesia. The Great Channel is located at six degrees north of equator and is popularly referred to as the ‘Six Degree Channel’. The width of the Great Channel is 163 Km (88 nautical miles) between Indira Point in Great Nicobar and Rondo Island of Indonesia’s Aceh Province. A deep and clear channel, it is suitable for navigation by large merchant vessels.

    Parth Sharma asked: Is China's debt diplomacy a conscious effort to acquire strategic footprint in the Indian Ocean?

    Sarabjeet Singh Parmar replies: China’s overtures to nations in the form of easy loans, some of which have turned into debt traps, can be viewed as a geo-economic strategy to achieve both economic and non-economic goals. This approach and methodology also helps in furthering its Belt and Road Initiative or BRI project, which can be called Xi Jinping’s “Prized Project”.

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