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.
China’s actions since the South China Sea arbitration ruling show that India needs to take a stronger line if it wants to achieve its objectives. Given the importance of the principles at stake, it would be in India’s best interests to take a more forward-looking and forward-leaning approach to the South China Sea dispute.
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 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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
India’s smaller maritime neighbors are paying close attention as New Delhi consolidates the country’s ambitions in the Indian Ocean. While bolstering its own naval and maritime capabilities, India has actively taken steps to cement partnerships with most of these smaller neighbors in recent years and continues to do so under the Narendra Modi administration. On […]
Since the middle of May, four vessels of the Indian Navy’s Eastern Fleet, including some of its most advanced indigenous ships, have plied the waters of Southeast Asia and Australia, conducting exercises with partners and making port calls in Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and Australia. Some, not least the Indian government, have held up […]
On a March 2015 trip to Seychelles and Mauritius, Narendra Modi outlined a bold framework that overturned the political approach that India had taken towards the Indian Ocean for half a century. Beginning in the late 1960s, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi asked all major powers to withdraw from the Indian Ocean out of concern for […]