Maritime Security

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  • Maritime Security in the Indian Ocean: A Changing Kaleidoscope

    The Indian Ocean Region (IOR), though considered an important maritime region, has not yet been accorded the due importance of a geo-strategic entity. One attributable reason is the ‘sandwiching’ of the IOR between two ‘hotspots’—the South China sea and the Persian Gulf that divert the attention of nations from this area. While there are commonalities like ‘Freedom of Navigation’, the divergences—caused by varying strategic interests even while addressing common security issues such as piracy—have resulted in a sectoral view of the maritime security paradigm in the IOR.

    October 2013

    India’s Maritime Diplomacy in Southeast Asia: An Assessment of the INS Sudarshini Expedition

    INS Sudarshini, India’s Sail Training Ship (STS), was sent on a commemorative expedition to the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries for six months along the monsoon trade winds route to trace India’s civilisational and cultural affinities and rejuvenate trade and maritime linkages with its neighbours in the East. The voyage was part of the commemoration of the successful completion of two decades of India’s Look East Policy, 20 years of dialogue relations with ASEAN, and 10 years of India–ASEAN summit-level partnership.

    September 2013

    Indian Airpower Afloat

    The Indian navy has long aspired for a true blue water capability and the aircraft carrier project is a critical part of safeguarding India’s maritime interest that includes providing security along the sea lanes of communication.

    September 02, 2013

    Sailing through the Northern Sea Route: Opportunities and Challenges

    Because of global warming, the thinning ice in the Arctic is opening up the region for navigation for a few months in the summer season. The Arctic littoral countries (Canada, Norway, Denmark [Greenland], Russia and the United States), shipping companies and several other stakeholders (the EU and Asian countries such as China, Japan, Singapore and South Korea) are closely tracking shipping related developments in the Arctic and developing strategies to exploit the Northern Sea Route (NSR).

    July 2013

    Effective Underwater Weapon Systems and the Indian Ocean Region

    The Indian Ocean Region (IOR) has profound strategic relevance not only for the nations in the region but also for other countries.1 The bulk of the world’s merchant fleets transit through one of the busiest sea lanes in the world, via the Malacca Straits. Also, the presence of major petroleum exports originating from the Gulf, encourage the major powers of the world to have a strategic presence in the IOR.

    July 2013

    The Arrest of Argentine Warship ‘ARA Libertad’: Revisiting International Law Governing Warships, Sovereign Immunity, and Naval Diplomatic Roles

    The ARA Libertad Case (Argentina v. Ghana) is the first instance where the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), Hamburg, Germany considered the issue of the release of a warship which was detained in a foreign port contrary to the principles of sovereign immunity of warships. The Argentinian warship was detained based on a commercial case filed by an American hedge fund against Argentina in the Ghanaian Court.

    July 2013

    From Protection of Shipping to Protection of Citizens and National Economies: Current Changes in Maritime Security

    This article analyses the alteration of the referent object for maritime security from protection of shipping and port facilities to protection of citizens and national economies. It presents a tentative answer on the extent and consequences of this alteration applied by states in a global perspective, and focuses on validating four explanatory factors on why the alteration has occurred. The time period of study is between 1991 and 2013.

    July 2013

    Vipin asked: What could be the implications of Gwadar Port being handed over to a Chinese company?

    Ashok Kumar Behuria replies: China is seeking to enhance its maritime presence in the Indian Ocean with the ostensible aim of securing the transportation of energy resources from the Gulf region. Its interest in ports in the South Asian region - Sri Lanka, Maldives and Pakistan - is part of this strategy. However, analysts the world over argue that its strategic interests go beyond this. Its strategic nexus with Pakistan over the last more than five decades gives a special connotation to its interests in Gwadar. China is aiming at connecting Gwadar with its restive province of Xinjiang through the Karakoram Highway. It intends to convert the highway into a strategic corridor (with railway lines and oil and gas pipelines) and use it for transporting energy from the Gulf region as well as resources from Pakistan.

    However, the Sino-Pak plan to use Gwadar for strategic purposes has not taken off primarily because of the prevailing instability and uncertainty in Balochistan. Therefore, as long as Pakistan does not address the concerns of the Baloch people, it is highly unlikely that Gawadar can ever realise its full potential. Due to this reason, the Singaporean company which had won the tender to manage the Gwadar Port decided to leave, forcing Pakistan to invite China to manage it. Because of its strategic interests alone— since it does not make business sense at all at the moment— China decided to accept the offer. Chinese behaviour, thus, needs to be monitored closely to understand its intentions in the coming days.

    China’s ‘String of pearls’ in Space

    A ‘pearl’ could be viewed as a sphere of influence seeded, secured and maintained through the use of economic, geopolitical, diplomatic or military means. The ‘string of pearls’ is about China’s unambiguous maritime strategy that investments in increasing its sea power. This is essentially a multi-pronged strategy that challenges dominant US interests in the Indian Ocean and sends a clear message to India that the Indian Ocean is not India’s ocean by increasing the dependence of the littoral states in the region on China.

    March 21, 2013

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