Indian Ocean and India

India – surrounded by Indian Ocean on three sides – geographical location of India makes Indian Ocean integral part of its foreign policy, security & trade decision.

  • At present, Indian Ocean carries about half of world’s container shipment.
  • Indian Ocean carries 90% of India’s trade by volume and 90% of oil imports
  • India is highly dependent upon ocean resources such as fishing and aquaculture.
  • India is also involved in deep sea mineral exploration in Central Indian Ocean with help from South Korea.
  • Indian Ocean gives India access to the South-Asia, South East Asia, Africa, West Asia and Oceania – important from the point of view of energy, economic trade and security

Indian Ocean and India

  • After the attack on Mumbai and increasing presence of China in Indian Ocean, Indian Ocean has become an integral part of India’s maritime policy
  • The Indian Navy played a pivotal role in containing piracy on the high seas and is positioning itself as the “net security provider” in the broader Indian Ocean region with capacity building & joint exercises

 


Challenges in IOR 

  • Maritime crime + Piracy + Security of choke points like Strait of Malacca & Sunda strait
  • Drug hauls and human trafficking in South and Southeast Asia is rising exponentially
  • Illegal migration & rise in refugee movement from Bangladesh & Myanmar resulted in a humanitarian crisis

 

Indian Ocean Rim Association 
  • International association of 21 Indian Ocean littoral states with India as a core member.
  • Aims at strengthening Maritime Cooperation for economic association, regional integration promote sustainable development and balanced regional growth

 

Way Ahead 
  • Littoral states should promote regional groupings like IORA which promote inclusive and sustainable regional development.
  • Initiatives such as SAGAR – Security and Growth for All in the Region – a good strategy to engage the regional countries and counter not only Chinese presence but also increase the economic integration and security.
  • Areas such as disaster management, technological advancement, blue economy, sustainable resource extraction, humanitarian assistance should also be explored
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