James R. Holmes

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

    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.

    May 2012

    A Founding Era for Combined Maritime Security?

    In a nutshell the article posits that American naval power, and thus the United States' ability to police the seas, will continue to decline, and that Washington is attempting to compensate by fashioning a new paradigm of multinational maritime security. With no likely candidate for a global navy in the offing the challenge is to create one or more multinational guarantors of free navigation. I attempt to gaze into the future, discerning the likely dynamics of this coalition-building project.

    May 2011

    Tackling Somali Piracy Ashore: Maritime Security and Geopolitics in the Indian Ocean

    As high-profile incidents of piracy become more common off Somalia, strategists have taken to urging the US government to send expeditionary forces ashore. The article uses history and Clausewitzian theory to estimate the nature of the threat and the likely efficacy of a land campaign. Even successful operations would entail costs exceeding the value of the political stakes. For this reason alone, going ashore is inadvisable.

    September 2010

    India's 'Monroe Doctrine' and Asia's Maritime Future

    Many scholars assume that the European model of Realpolitik will prevail in Asia as the dual rise of China and India reorders regional politics. Others predict that Asia's China-centric tradition of hierarchy will reassert itself. But Indians look as much to 19th century US history as to any European or Asian model. Indeed, successive prime ministers have explicitly cited the Monroe Doctrine to justify intervention in hotspots around the Indian periphery. The Monroe Doctrine, however, underwent several phases during the USA's rise to world power.

    November 2008

    India and the Proliferation Security Initiative: A US Perspective

    The article considers why New Delhi has shied away from full participation in the US-led Proliferation Security Initiative despite compelling national interests in improving Indian maritime forces and cooperating with the United States at sea. Some factors examined are polarized domestic politics, Indians' ambivalence about non-proliferation arrangements that formerly targeted them, and New Delhi's desire for regional primacy. Until Indian leaders come to believe that the benefits of PSI participation outweigh its drawbacks, they will continue to hold the initiative at arm's length.

    March 2007