Underlining that Mauritius is at the heart of India’s approach to the Indian Ocean region and approach to development partnerships, Prime Minister Narendra Modi branded India’s development partnership as one …Read More
Against the backdrop of the Indian Ocean turning into a theatre of geopolitical competition and increased Chinese forays into this strategic water body, the 21 littoral nations whose shores are washed by this strategically located resource-rich body will hold its first ever summit of leaders in the Indonesian capital Jakarta on March 7.
India, a preeminent Indian Ocean power, has high stakes in moulding the outcomes of the maiden summit of the Indian Ocean Rim Association. The first IORA summit is special as it also marks the 20th anniversary of the grouping of the Indian Ocean littoral states. Ideally, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has been trying to shape a strategic and cooperative vision of the Indian Ocean Region, should be participating in the summit, but the crucial elections in India’s largest state Uttar Pradesh has kept him away from this important gathering of leaders of the region. Vice-President Hamid Ansari, a veteran diplomat, is expected to unveil India’s agenda and priorities at the summit in Jakarta on March 7.
Blue will be the reigning colour at the IORA leaders’ discussions in Jakarta. If all goes well, the summit should come out with a joint plan for the development of the blue economy which entails sustainable development of ocean resources by avoiding debilitating resource competition. Prime Minister Modi is an ardent proponent of the blue economy.
The increasing strategic salience of the Indian Ocean can’t be overemphasised. China will be the elephant in the room when the leaders of IORA nations meet in Jakarta as most of them have some form of China anxiety.
The China challenge or the China threat emerged as a leitmotif in a high-profile international conference in New Delhi, with India being upfront about its political differences with Beijing and asking the latter to respect India’s sovereignty in the course of building the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
India, however, took care to eschew a negative adversarial construct of India-China relations, with Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar making it clear that in New Delhi’s assessment, the rise of India and China can be “mutually supportive.” Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on his part, outlined briefly a template of harmonious India-China relations, saying “respect and sensitivity for each other’s core interests” holds the key.
“China is very sensitive on matters concerning its sovereignty. We expect they will respect other people’s sovereignty,” said Mr Jaishankar at the second edition of Raisina Dialogue, co-organised by India’s Ministry of External Affairs and Observer Research Foundation.
The Indian Ocean region has acquired an added salience in India’s geo-strategic and foreign policy calculus under the Modi government. In this speech Indian Council on World Affairs on India and the Ocean Economy on July 12, Sujata Mehta, Secretary (West) in India’s external affairs ministry, maps the way ahead for India’s strategy for harnessing Blue Economy and calls for global cooperation to maintain IOR as a zone of peace and prosperity.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that every academic/quasi-academic/informative paper about the oceanic economy serves to reinforce the importance of the subject and every occasion such as this one is a reiteration that whether one takes a historical perspective, or a strategic view into the future, the importance of the oceanic dimension only increases. The interesting themes that have been discussed in this Seminar highlight the issues that are salient today and which reflect the different layers of our interests.
The Indian Ocean Region is witnessing an unprecedented flux in its security complexion. A flurry of recent events in the region, which has both regional and global implications, has created an additional dynamic in the region. In spite of strong warnings from India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, a Chinese submarine, Changzheng 2 was docked at Colombo, along with warship Chang Xing Dao. This incident has geopolitical implications and portends to China’s growing naval profile in the region.
After attending the G-20 summit of the world’s leading economies in Brisbane, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the Australian Parliament in Canberra where he stated that both the countries can play a more proactive role in maintaining maritime security. In the latest move towards bolstering maritime security, the government of India is set to commission the Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC), to be manned by the Indian Navy. IMAC aims to be a nodal point of information on the maritime domain awareness around India and will enable the integration of 40 Indian radars and satellites which would provide continuous feed of waters surrounding India.
On the multilateral front, one of the key initiatives launched by the present government to retain Indian influence in the IOR is ‘Project Mausam’.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in Australia for the G20 Summit in Brisbane, and will then travel to Canberra for an official bilateral visit. Modi’s visit, taking place nearly 30 years after the last Indian Prime Ministerial visit (Rajiv Gandhi in 1986), comes at a critical time for both countries – when strategic equations are being redrawn, creating new Asian security dynamics.
India and Australia are engaged today in a variety of areas. They have growing defense ties in the form of consultations and multilateral exercises, as well as a broader security and strategic relationship that covers nuclear non-proliferation and energy security, both in coal and civil nuclear, and is likely to expand to solar and wind. The congruence of interests and ideas is indeed growing. However, it is important that India-Australia relations are not entirely viewed through the bilateral prism. Instead, the relationship needs to be based on regional security considerations about which Canberra and New Delhi share similar views.
Upturned, as the Indian Ocean strategic community across the world tend to do in the context of an emerging India, the map of the nation and its southern Sri Lankan …Read More