Dealmaker in Paradise

A rumored Saudi Arabian plan to buy an atoll in the Maldives is unlikely to significantly alter the Indian Ocean security environment. The concern the plan has provoked, however, is a sign of how sensitive regional governments have become to any developments that appear to threaten the region’s fragile order.

Will India Truly Start “Acting East” in Andaman and Nicobar?

This September, while Indian prime minister Narendra Modi met with tech titans in Silicon Valley, his administration quietly unveiled a $1.5 billion development package for the isolated Andaman and Nicobar island chains, meant to turn the islands’ capital city, Port Blair, into a hub of the ship repair industry by developing port infrastructure. Less than […]

The Bangladesh/Myanmar Maritime Dispute: Lessons for Peaceful Resolution

The March 2012 decision of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in the long-standing Bangladesh/Myanmar maritime border dispute opened up new possibilities for peaceful resolution of such disputes in Asia. While the judgment itself broke important—if technical—legal ground, the two parties’ incentives for entering into litigation in the first place offer […]

Stirred but Not Shaken: Sri Lanka’s Rebalancing Act

Shortly after President Maithripala Sirisena’s surprise victory in Sri Lanka’s January Presidential election, the new leader suspended one of the largest Chinese-led infrastructure investments in the country—the $1.5 billion Colombo Port City—and caught the Chinese government off guard. Seemingly in denial, Chinese officials and the media echo chamber downplayed this move as a minor speed […]

Dragon Tracks: Emerging Chinese Access Points in the Indian Ocean Region

With six-plus-years of Chinese Gulf of Aden anti-piracy operations and China’s first submarine deployments to the Indian Ocean, considering possible support facilities for the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) isn’t just for those theorizing a “String of Pearls” anymore. The U.S. Department of Defense itself forecasts that within the […]