India's Maritime Strategy: Balancing Regional Ambitions and China 9780367028145, 9780429397653

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India's Maritime Strategy: Balancing Regional Ambitions and China
 9780367028145, 9780429397653

Table of contents :
Cover
Half Title
Series Page
Title Page
Copyright Page
Contents
1 India’s maritime environment
2 India’s foreign policy
3 India’s maritime strategy
4 Maritime security cooperation with South Asian States
5 Maritime security cooperation with West Asian States
6 Maritime security cooperation with East African states and Indian Ocean island countries
7 Maritime security cooperation with Southeast Asian states
8 Maritime security cooperation with other powers
9 Multilateral maritime security cooperation
10 India’s leadership in the Indian Ocean
Bibliography
Index

Citation preview

India’s Maritime Strategy

The first book by a former Indian naval intelligence officer on Sino-India relations, India’s Maritime Strategy provides a unique insight into the Indian Navy, tracing its post-independence growth and discussing its transformation and future in the twenty-first century. In the context of the rise of China’s maritime power in the Indian Ocean, this book provides a nuanced view of the extent and scope of India’s maritime reach and the effect of this on Sino-Indian competition. Challenging the view that by developing a favourable environment alone, India could seek to maintain its balance of power with China, it is argued that despite durable bilateral security ties with most regional states, India’s maritime aspirations to be the primary net security provider for the region are unsustainable in the long term. This book presents a comprehensive coverage of India’s bilateral maritime security engagements with all the Indian Ocean regional states, as well as the United States, France, the United Kingdom, and Russia. As such, it will be useful to students and scholars of Indian and South Asian politics, international relations, and maritime security. Shishir Upadhyaya is a former Indian naval officer with a background in operations and intelligence. He is an alumnus of the Defence Services Staff College and obtained his PhD in International and Security Studies from the University of Wollongong, Australia.

Politics in Asia Series

Regional environmental politics in Northeast Asia Conflict and Cooperation JeongWon Bourdais Park The International Politics of the Asia-Pacific Fourth and Revised Edition Michael Yahuda The Korean Paradox Domestic Political Divide and Foreign Policy in South Korea Edited by Marco Milani, Antonio Fiori and Matteo Dian The Ever-Changing Sino-Japanese Rivalry Philip Streich Risk Management Strategies of Japanese Companies in China Political Crisis and Multinational Firms Kristin Vekasi The Political Economy of Press Freedom The Paradox of Taiwan versus China Jaw-Nian Huang Inequality and Democratic Politics in East Asia Edited by Chong-Min Park and Eric M. Uslaner India’s Maritime Strategy Balancing Regional Ambitions and China Shishir Upadhyaya For the full list of titles in the series, visit: https://www.routledge.com/ Politics-in-Asia/book-series/PIA

India’s Maritime Strategy Balancing Regional Ambitions and China

Shishir Upadhyaya

First published 2020 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge 52 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2020 Shishir Upadhyaya The right of Shishir Upadhyaya to be identified as author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data A catalog record has been requested for this book ISBN: 978-0-367-02814-5 (hbk) ISBN: 978-0-429-39765-3 (ebk) Typeset in Times New Roman by codeMantra

Contents

1 India’s maritime environment 1 2 India’s foreign policy 31 3 India’s maritime strategy 49 4 Maritime security cooperation with South Asian States 80 5 Maritime security cooperation with West Asian States 96 6 Maritime security cooperation with East African states and Indian Ocean island countries 117 7 Maritime security cooperation with Southeast Asian states 142 8 Maritime security cooperation with other powers 164 9 Multilateral maritime security cooperation 195 10 India’s leadership in the Indian Ocean 209 Bibliography Index

215 227

1 India’s maritime environment

India’s maritime environment in the Indian Ocean region is a complex ­interplay of several factors, predominantly, the unique geography of the ­region with various choke points, an abundance of strategically important natural resources, and the proliferation of non-traditional security threats that require urgent attention. These issues are compounded by a lack of adequate maritime capacity amongst many of the regional states to manage their maritime affairs. Against this backdrop, the rise of Chinese influence in the region has been the most significant geopolitical development of the twenty-first century. As an emergent superpower, China is critically dependent upon its maritime trade and economic interests spread across the Indian Ocean region. Consequently, the past few years have seen a steady expansion of Chinese maritime power in the Indian Ocean with further enhancements expected in the near future under China’s ambitious maritime silk road (MSR) programme. This has far-reaching implications upon the overall India-China balance of power. The “blurring of traditional and non-traditional lines”1 in the maritime threat environment has given rise to India’s maritime strategy dilemma of having to cope with the entire range of security threats with the available resources of a developing economy. Consequently, India, with tacit support from the United States, has sought to leverage its maritime power to create an overall secure and favourable environment for itself in the Indian Ocean region by trying to take on the role of a “net security provider,” as specified in India’s current maritime strategy.2 This book seeks to assess India’s maritime strategy to critically examine its efficacy and sustainability in the context of the prevailing maritime security environment in the Indian Ocean. This examination includes an assessment of India’s capacity to be the “net security provider” for the region and addresses the question whether the extant maritime strategy can help India maintain its balance of power with respect to China. It also recommends complementary actions and alternative strategic options that India could adopt to fulfil its policy goals in the Indian Ocean. This chapter scans India’s maritime environment and presents the ­extant strategic threats and challenges as a basis for understanding India’s

2  India’s maritime environment maritime strategy. It begins with an examination of the geophysical attributes of the region such as the presence of choke points and the abundance of raw m ­ aterials in the region that have impacted the trade flow patterns and also influenced the security environment. It then looks at India’s relations with China and the Sino-Pakistan nexus that potentially poses the gravest security challenge to India in the coming years. Finally, it discusses the various non-traditional threats prevalent in the region, such as piracy, terrorism, climate change, and natural disasters.

Geographical attributes of the Indian Ocean region The Indian Ocean is the third largest ocean on Earth, covering 68.56 million square kilometres and spanning 10,000 kilometres from the southern tip of South Africa to Australia. The geographical position of the Indian Ocean and its strategic waterways provide the shortest and most economical lines of communication to the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. Although, in the long term, this could potentially change with the opening up of the Arctic routes, which could lead to re-routing of some shipping between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, bypassing the Indian Ocean. This would particularly impact shipping traffic to and from China and Japan. The political map of the Indian Ocean comprises 36 rim states (38 including the British and French territories in the Indian Ocean) and 20 hinterland states. For the purposes of this book, the rim states of the Indian Ocean have been categorised into the following sub-regions: • • • • •

South Asian states: Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. West Asian states: Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Yemen. East African states: Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Eretria, France, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, and Tanzania. Indian Ocean island countries: Mauritius and Seychelles. Southeast Asia and Australia: Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, ­Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Timor Leste.3

Salient features of the Indian Ocean littoral states are given in Table 1.1 From Table 1.1, the combined exclusive economic zones (EEZs) of all ­Indian Ocean regional states accounts for nearly half of the total area of the Indian Ocean. Australia, India, and Indonesia that possess the largest EEZs in the Indian Ocean region, account for over half of the Indian Ocean EEZ and interestingly their combined gross domestic product (GDP) also accounts half of the total GDP for the region. However, India by virtue of its central location, historical context, and overall capacity stands out as the region’s largest maritime power. India’s geostrategic advantage, coupled

Table 1.1  O  verview of Indian Ocean Region Rim Statesa Sl.

1.

2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. Total

Country

Australia

Bahrain Bangladesh Comoros Djibouti East Timor Egypt Eritrea India Indonesia Iran Iraq Israel Jordan Kenya Kuwait Madagascar Malaysia Maldives Mauritius Mozambique Myanmar Oman Pakistan Qatar Saudi Arabia Seychelles Singapore Somalia South Africa Sri Lanka Sudan Tanzania Thailand United Arab Emirates Yemen British Indian Ocean Territories (BIOT) French Territories

Population (Millions)

23.63

1.34 158.51 0.73 0.88 1.15 83.39 6.53 1267.40 252.81 78.47 34.77 7.82 7.50 45.55 3.48 23.57 30.19 0.35 1.25 26.47 53.71 3.92 185.13 2.27 29.37 0.93 5.52 10.81 53.14 21.45 38.76 50.76 67.22 9.45

2019 GDP (Billions Projected by IMF)b

Coastline (1,000 Kilometres)

EEZ (1,000 Square Kilometres)

1464.41

36.7

41.607 313.509 0.745 2.392 3.412 298.153 7.72 2957.72 1066.84 333.603 250.07 376.127 43.988 98.264 152.374 13.553 372.628 5.151 14.889 15.602 73.954 86.525 298.310 204.306 795.582 1.647 359.619 7.822 385.526 98.041 34.373 60.297 524.253 455.587

0.14 1.32 0.40 0.35 0.71 1.62 1.0 9.0 60.0 1.84 0.002 0.23 0.002 0.45 0.21 4.0 3.43 0.64 0.18 2.5 2.3 2.0 1.37 0.40 2.40 0.49 0.30 3.20 3.0 1.70 0.95 0.725 2.96 2.42

34.32

0.17 0.70

584.20 660.20

0.39 150.19

2593.2 32270.27

24.97 No indigenous population.



1.11 2614.3

– 11252.919

8,505.30 (excluding Antarctic territory) 5.10 76.80 228.40 6.20 770 173.50 75.80 2305.14 6159.03 155.7 0.70 23.30 0.70 118.0 12.0 1,292.0 475.60 959.10 1,183.0 562.0 509.50 561.70 318.50 24.0 186.0 729.70 0.30 782.80 1,016.70 517.40 91.60 223.20 324.70 59.30

a Central Intelligence Agency, “World Factbook,” December 2016, available at https://www.cia.gov/ library/publications/the-world-factbook/html. b International Monetary Fund, “World Economic Outlook (April 2019),” 23 April 2019, available at https://www.imf.org/external/datamapper/datasets/WEO.html.

4  India’s maritime environment with its naval capacity, allows it to project its maritime power over the ­entire Indian Ocean region, a key strategic limitation for both Australia and Indonesia. Significantly, Mauritius and the Seychelles that appear as small dots on the map of the vast region together have a combined EEZ area almost the size of India’s EEZ. Further, Djibouti with a coastline of 350 kilometres and an EEZ spanning just 6,200 square kilometres, by virtue of its location at the mouth of the Gulf of Aden, is emerging as a pivotal state in the maritime security of the Indian Ocean and a favoured location for basing of extra-regional navies. Yet, Sri Lanka which is also bestowed with a similar geostrategic advantage is relatively constrained in leveraging its maritime power by India, looming above. Clearly, the maritime geography of a state has a major influence on its future prospects. The Indian Ocean region is inhabited by about 2.6 billion people, representing over one-third of the world’s population in 2010,4 living on one-­ quarter of the world’s landmass, and generating over ten per cent of the global GDP.5 By 2030, this population will likely have added another 689 million people,6 and the Indian Ocean Rim could be poised to emerge as the world’s fastest-growing region in economic terms over the next decade, according to an assessment by the Center for International Development at Harvard University.7 A unique and distinguishing feature of the Indian Ocean is that it is covered by the Asian continent over its entire northern extent in the form of a “roof.” This makes it different from the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, which stretch from north to south without any intervening landmass. Entry to and exit from the Indian Ocean region is through strategically important choke points. Shipping traffic congregates at choke points forcing ships to ­navigate along fixed courses at relatively slower speeds; whilst this facilitates control of shipping, it also makes trade vulnerable. In an age of “just in time” manufacturing and distribution, security threats at choke points have widespread implications on the global supply chain and commodity pricing, particularly crude oil and gas, which are highly dependent on uninterrupted ­supplies. Choke points are also crucial for naval operations, such as submarine deployments, placement of mines, and even installation of seabed sensors to detect movements of warships and submarines. Therefore, states bordering various choke points have immense strategic potential and could play a key role in maritime security and overall regional stability. Obviously, for both India and China, fostering close relations with these states is ­crucial. The various choke points in the Indian Ocean are described in the following paragraphs. Suez Canal The Suez Canal is a manmade sea-level waterway cutting across the Isthmus of Suez in Egypt and connecting the Mediterranean Sea (Port Said) to the Red Sea (Port Suez). The canal is more than 193 kilometres long and

India’s maritime environment  5 has a maximum depth of 24 metres. Whilst the Suez Canal can accommodate partially loaded very large crude carriers (VLCCs) and ultra large crude ­carriers (ULCCs), the largest ships cleared for transit are termed as ­Suezmax (a typical Suezmax ship displaces about 160,000 tons with a beam of 50 metres and draught of 20 metres). Clearly, warships of all sizes can pass through the Suez Canal and the U.S. Navy (USN) carriers have occasionally transited through the Suez. Compared to the Cape of Good Hope, the Suez Canal is the shortest East-West route. The savings in transit time reduce as one proceeds eastwards of Suez. Thus, the distance between Rotterdam and Tokyo through the Suez Canal is 23 per cent shorter compared to the Cape of Good Hope route, whilst the distance from Rotterdam to Port Said is shorter by 86 per cent compared to the Cape route. A total number of 17,550 ships transited through the Suez Canal in 2017, an average of about 48 ships daily.8 Warship and submarine movements through the Suez Canal are uncommon since it would entail a positive giveaway of their positions. Strait of Bab el-Mandeb The Strait of Bab el-Mandeb (meaning “gate of grief” in Arabic) lies between the Saudi peninsula and Northwest Africa, flanked by Yemen on the Saudi side and Eritrea, Djibouti and Somalia on the African side. The strait is approximately 41 kilometres wide but divided into two channels by the Island of Perim (Yemen). The north coastline of Somalia forms the funnel, leading to the strait. The Bab el-Mandeb thus forms a strategic link between the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea via the Suez Canal to ­European ports. For this reason, Eritrea and Djibouti have emerged as favoured locations for foreign naval bases. Shipping in the strait has been targeted by Somali pirates from 2006 onwards (until around 2012) and later by Houthi rebel forces (backed by Iran) at Yemen in 2018. According to the U.S. ­Energy Information Administration (EIA), trade in crude oil and ­p etroleum products through the Bab el-Mandeb in recent years has increased steadily, rising from 2.7 million barrels per day in 20109 to almost 4.8 million barrels per day in 2016.10 Kuwait, the UAE, Iraq, and Iran export oil to Europe via this route, whilst Saudi Arabia mostly relies upon the Sumed pipeline and the Strait of Hormuz for oil exports to Europe.11 Strait of Hormuz The Strait of Hormuz lies within the overlapping territorial waters of Iran and Oman and connects the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf. The strait is about 39 kilometres wide at the narrowest point, though shipping traffic passes through a narrower traffic separation scheme (TSS) which consists of a 4-kilometre-wide channel each for inbound and outbound traffic, separated by a 4-kilometre-wide median.12 According to the EIA, about 18.5 million billion barrels of crude per day (roughly one-third of all seaborne

6  India’s maritime environment traded oil) were transported through the straits in 2016;13 more than 85 per cent of the oil was bound for Japan, India, South Korea, and China.14 Furthermore, Qatar exports about 3.7 billion cubic feet of liquefied natural gas (LNG), accounting for 30 per cent of the global LNG supply, annually through the strait.15 Given the strategic importance of the Strait of Hormuz in the supply of oil globally, jurisdictional issues over the governance of the Straits and the international regime for navigation under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), involving Iran and the United States, have created strategic complexities and uncertainties in the global oil markets. Neither the United States nor Iran is party to UNCLOS, and both disagree over the application of the treaty in the Strait of Hormuz.16 The United States claims the right of transit passage in the strait as prescribed under UNCLOS and being reflective of customary international law.17 Transit passage permits an unrestricted right to travel on the surface, under the water, or in over flight through international straits. Iran counters this claim by insisting that the provisions of UNCLOS may only be applicable to states that are party to it.18 The dispute is complicated by Iran’s own claim to 12-mile territorial seas, a key provision under UNCLOS. Iran argues that the 12-mile territorial seas are now part of customary law. Consequently, over the years, as tensions between Iran and the United States have escalated and diffused, so have the global oil prices “waxed and waned.” Iran has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz for several years in response to the U.S. calls for banning oil exports by Iran. In 2012, during a period of heightened tensions, the Iranian naval commander, Admiral ­Habibillah Sayari, is reported to have stated to a television channel that closing the Strait of Hormuz was as easy as “drinking a glass of water.”19 By 2015, following the successful conclusion of negotiations on the Iranian nuclear issue between Iran and the P5 + 1 (the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, China, France, and Germany) in Vienna,20 which led to the lifting of several Western sanctions, the risk of closure of the straits has declined. However, with the re-imposition of trade and financial sanctions by the U.S. administration in 2018 under President Trump, tensions have once again escalated, and in July 2018, an Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Commander once again threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz. The IRGC – widely regarded as the masters of unconventional maritime warfare – has carried out several exercises to practice blocking the Strait of Hormuz,21 and based on Iran’s extant maritime capability, it can be easily assumed that it has adequate and multiple capacities to block the Strait of Hormuz at will. However, just as the Iranians have conducted several exercises aimed at blocking the straits, the USN has also held various minesweeping exercises and practiced scenarios involving simulated blockings of the Strait of Hormuz.

India’s maritime environment  7 It is widely believed that whilst Iran could block the strait, it is unlikely to do so. In 2010, Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, was asked about Iranian threats to close the strait.22 He stated, “The analysis that I have seen certainly indicates that they have capabilities which could certainly hazard the Strait of Hormuz.” But, he added, “I believe that the ability to sustain that is not there.” Further, General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, in January 2012, said, “[Iran] has invested in capabilities that could, in fact, for a period of time block the Strait of Hormuz.”23 He also added, “We’ve invested in capabilities to ensure that if that happens, we can defeat that.” It may, therefore, be safe to assume that whilst Iran has the capacity to block the straits, it is unlikely to do so in the near future, mainly because blocking the strait is assessed to be unsustainable beyond a few days whilst the retaliation that such an act would invite from U.S. forces and the resultant debilitating impact it would have on the Iranian economy would be long term. As a result of the threat mongering by Iran, the UAE and Saudi Arabia have invested in several pipelines, which have significantly reduced the impact of a potential closure of the Strait of Hormuz and provided alternate routes for transporting oil. These pipelines are currently capable of supplying approximately 40 per cent of the total oil carried through the Strait of Hormuz, as given in Table 1.2. According to EIA, in 2016, India was the world’s third largest consumer and importer of oil after the United States and China, having displaced ­Japan the previous year. About 80 per cent of India’s domestic oil demand is met by imports and in 2012–13 India imported 182.5 million tonnes of crude, including 13.3 million tonnes from Iran.24 In recent years, India’s d ­ ependence on Iranian crude has reduced – as a result of international s­ anctions – and Iran has slipped three places to become India’s sixth largest supplier after Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Venezuela, Kuwait, and the UAE. However, for India, any disruption in the Strait of Hormuz poses significant challenges as it could also hamper India’s oil and gas imports not only from Iran but also from Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, and the UAE, which pass through the straits. Table 1.2  P  ipeline Routes Bypassing the Strait of Hormuza Pipeline

Capacity (Million Barrels Per Day)

Abqaiq-Yanbu Pipeline East-West Pipeline

0.29 2.5 (generally operating at 50 per cent capacity) 0.50 1.65 4.94

Tapline Iraq Petroleum Saudi Arabia (IPSA) Total capacity

a Komiss and Huntzinger, “The Economic Implications of Disruptions to Maritime Oil Chokepoints,” p. 18.

8  India’s maritime environment Straits of Malacca and Singapore The Straits of Malacca and Singapore are a narrow, 805 kilometres long waterway linking the Andaman Sea and the Indian Ocean to the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean, thereby connecting the economies of India, China, Japan, and South Korea. An average of more than 80,000 ships carrying one-quarter of the entire world’s traded goods and oil transit the straits each year, making it the world’s busiest shipping channel.25 Nearly 80 per cent of China’s energy imports and 90 per cent of Japan’s oil imports transit the straits.26 Around 26 tankers, including three fully laden tankers, pass through the straits daily. However, given the shallow depths of 23 metres prevalent in the region, ships up to 200,000 dead weight tonnage (DWT) only are allowed to navigate through the straits. The only alternate pipeline route to the Straits are two parallel oil and gas pipelines between Kyaukphyu, Myanmar, and Yunan Province in China recently commissioned by China.27 This oil pipeline is capable of carrying 440,000 barrels per day, roughly equal to the amount carried by two VLCCs.28 Historically, the straits have been a hub for maritime piracy and armed attacks on ships. This may be largely attributed to the geography of the coastline along the narrow strait which lends itself suitable for sneak attacks on passing ships. Thus, the pirates can launch surprise attacks on opportune targets and disappear into the cover of numerous small islands, creeks, and coves. During the eighteenth century, piracy in the region had increased, spurred by the arrival of colonial powers engaged in spice and opium trade between British India and China. Subsequently, in 1830, the British and Dutch naval forces joined hands to combat piracy in the region. By 1870, piracy in the straits had almost disappeared. Piracy re-emerged in the region towards the end of the twentieth century when the Asian financial crisis of 1997 resulted in widespread unemployment, poverty, and slow economic growth.29 By 2004, the number of armed attacks on ships in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore had reached a record high of 157 recorded incidents.30 Piracy has since been brought under control due to the joint efforts of the littoral states, including Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and Thailand. However, concerns of maritime safety and security remain, thus requiring the constant surveillance efforts of all the littoral navies. Lombok Strait The Lombok Strait lies between the islands of Lombok and Bali in Indonesia connecting the Java Sea to the Indian Ocean. This strait is much wider, with a minimum width of 19 kilometres and deep, with depths greater than 150 metres. It is also less congested than the Strait of Malacca.31 It is, therefore, the preferred route for fully laden tankers displacing more than 230,000 DWT. The strait is about 60 kilometres long and lies entirely within the Indonesian archipelago. The Lombok and the Sunda Straits seem to be

India’s maritime environment  9 the preferred route for People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy units, particularly submarines, to enter the Indian Ocean region evading early detection which could be more likely in the Strait of Malacca. Sunda Strait The Sunda Strait lies between the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra connecting the Java Sea to the Indian Ocean along a northeast – southwest axis. It is 81 kilometres long and its narrowest width is 24 kilometres. Whilst the strait is deep at the western end, the depths fall to about 20 metres at the eastern end. Ships with draughts in excess of 18 metres (corresponding to approximately 100,000 DWT) do not transit the strait. The strait is also known to be difficult to navigate due to sand banks, strong tidal currents, and manmade obstructions.32 Makassar Strait The Makassar Strait is about 966 kilometres long and 18 kilometres wide and lies between the Indonesian islands of Borneo and Sulawesi. It connects the Celebes Sea to the north and the Java Sea to the south. Both the Lombok and Makassar Straits are used by deep draught ships not cleared to navigate through the Strait of Malacca.33 Clearly, Indonesia, by virtue of its geographic locations straddling three strategic choke points, covering potential routes for PLA Navy ships and submarines to enter the Indian Ocean, is a very important country for India. Cape of Good Hope Traditionally, the route via the Cape of Good Hope was used by ships that were larger than the Suezmax. However, in recent years, this shipping route past South Africa had gained prominence due to the resurgence of piracy in the Gulf of Aden and an increase in toll charges levied by the Suez ­Canal authority. Whilst the Cape of Good Hope is not a choke point in the conventional sense as it is not restricted by availability of navigable waters, unfavourable currents require the ships to transit close to land.34 Six Degree and Nine Degree Channels The Six Degree Channel, also known as the Great Channel, is the channel south of Indira Point on Great Nicobar Island (India’s southernmost territory) and north of Aceh in Indonesia. The Great Channel is wide and easy to navigate and used by ships entering or leaving the Strait of Malacca. The Nine Degree Channel is the channel between the Lakshadweep Islands of Kalpeni and Suheli Par, and Maliku Atoll. It forms the most direct route for ships sailing from the Persian Gulf to East Asia. In 2010, at the height of

10  India’s maritime environment Somali piracy, ships had faced attacks from bands of Somali pirates operating in the region, which has since been under constant surveillance by both the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard. Both the Six Degree and the Nine Degree Channels lie largely within Indian waters and provide India with a unique geographic advantage in monitoring the majority of the shipping traffic transiting the Indian Ocean.

Strategic resources in the Indian Ocean region and trade flow patterns The Indian Ocean region has significant deposits of strategic materials that are vital to the world’s economy. Critical resources include bauxite, chromite, coal, copper, diamonds, gold, iron ore, natural gas, nickel, oil, phosphates, tin, titanium, tungsten, uranium, and zinc.35 The countries in the region are also the largest producers of rubber, spices, tea, and jute.36 Details of major sources of various raw materials and commodities are presented in Table 1.3. A unique feature of the Indian Ocean regional trade is the fact that trade between Indian Ocean littoral states constitutes only 20 per cent of the total Table 1.3  S  ources of Raw Materials and Commodities in the Indian Ocean Regiona Country

Resources

Australia

Iron ore, coal, bauxite, alumina, grain, uranium, refined petroleum products, LNG. Refined petroleum products. Refined petroleum products. Crude oil, phosphates. Iron ore, coal, bauxite, alumina, refined petroleum products. Coal, crude oil, refined petroleum products, LNG. Iron ore, crude oil, refined petroleum products. Crude oil. Phosphates. Crude oil, refined petroleum products. Bauxite, alumina, wood. Bauxite, alumina, palm oil, crude oil, refined petroleum products, LNG. Crude oil, LNG. Refined petroleum products. Crude oil, LNG, refined petroleum products. Crude oil, refined petroleum products. Refined petroleum products. Phosphates. Iron ore, coal, grain, phosphates, refined petroleum products. Refined petroleum products. LNG, crude oil, refined petroleum products. LNG, crude oil.

Bahrain Djibouti Egypt India Indonesia Iran Iraq Jordan Kuwait Madagascar Malaysia Oman Pakistan Qatar Saudi Arabia Singapore Sri Lanka South Africa Tanzania The UAE Yemen

a Pandya, Herbert-Burns and Kobayashi, Maritime Commerce and Security, pp. 10–16.

India’s maritime environment  11 volume, whilst the remaining 80 per cent is transported outside the region.37 This explains the strategic interests of extra-regional states in the region and the presence of their navies in the Indian Ocean. The above trade pattern is reversed in the Pacific and the Atlantic where extra-regional naval ­presence is uncommon. However, according to a UN Conference on Trade and ­Development (UNCTAD) report, recent trends indicate growing intra-­ region trade.38 According to the report, global maritime trade has traditionally been dominated by three economic centres: North America, Europe, and Asia. Together, these three areas imported 88 per cent of the seven billion tons of cargo transported by sea in 2005.39 However, the UNCTAD ­report forecasts that this pattern is expected to change as Africa emerges as a major source for natural resources and as their consumption levels increase in tandem with improved income levels. China has already overtaken the United States as Africa’s largest trading partner. In 2011, U.S.-Africa trade was $123 billion whilst China-Africa trade stood at $133 billion.40 Further, according to a Lloyd’s Register study report, the maritime trading patterns by 2030 will change from being Western centric to Sino centric.41 In recent years, there has been much speculation around the feasibility of new trade routes via the Arctic, primarily including the North Sea Route (NSR) and the Northwest Passage (NWP). The opening up of the new routes could potentially connect Japan and China with the Atlantic region, transiting outside the Indian Ocean as demonstrated by the voyage of the MV Yong Sheng from the Chinese shipping company COSCO, in September 2013, from Dalian to Rotterdam. However, according to a study by IHS Markit, the commercial exploitation of these routes is unlikely to be a reality for some time due to the lack of adequate polar-capable ships and the costs involved.42 In 2014, it was estimated that only about 765 container ships were classified as ice capable (out a global fleet of 5,502 container ships) with a total capacity for about 1.2 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs),43 whilst the remaining fleet of 4,258 vessels accounted for about 15.9 million TEUs.44 The above study also stated that ship operators were in no hurry to improve their numbers of ice capable ships as only 7 of 479 container vessels on order globally were ice capable and even those 7 ships were mostly small classes with none possessing over 1,000 TEU capacity. In addition to the lack of suitable vessels, the viability of the polar route is also constrained by factors such as lack of adequate ice breakers and safety concerns. Evidently, the Indian Ocean shipping lanes will continue to remain the primary trade routes in the future.

India’s maritime security challenges – China and the Sino-Pakistan nexus India faces a wide range of strategic maritime threats. The rise of China and its growing influence in the Indian Ocean region, which could potentially alter the extant Sino-Indian balance of power presents the greatest challenge

12  India’s maritime environment for India. The dynamics of maritime influence exerted by India and China have generated widespread interest and speculation, and it is widely predicted that as both states increasingly engage with the maritime arena in the Indian Ocean, there are chances of clashes of interest, which could lead to a conflict.45 Initial efforts by India under Prime Minister Nehru to build close ­relations with China failed as relations soured over Tibet and unresolved boundary disputes. This culminated in a brief border war in 1962 that has since left both sides deeply suspicious of each other. India claims that China is in illegal occupation of about 38,000 square kilometres of its territory in the State of Jammu & Kashmir and that in 1963 it has further acquired 5,180 square kilometres in the Shaksgam Valley of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) illegally from Pakistan and further claims about 2,000 square kilometres in the states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.46 Moreover, China’s stated position is that “reunification” of Chinese territories is a ­sacred duty of the PLA. Despite several rounds of boundary talks, there is no resolution in sight for India, even though China, which shares 22,000 kilometres of land border with 14 states, has resolved its border disputes with all except India and Bhutan. It is pertinent to note that China’s land boundary settled with Myanmar runs along the same McMahon Line separating India and China, which it refuses to recognise with respect to India and Bhutan.47 With a view to maintain peace along the disputed land border, India and China signed the Border Peace and Tranquility Agreement in 1993, followed by an agreement on confidence-building measures in the military field signed in 1996. However, reportedly, the PLA has intruded repeatedly into Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh and has raised objections to Indian road construction projects in these areas. These periodic border transgressions, including the recent stand-off at the India-Bhutan-China tri-junction at Doklam, Bhutan, ending on 28 August 2017,48 have been widely reported and debated in the Indian press and have been discussed at length in the Indian Parliament as well.49 In addition to keeping India off balance across their land borders, China has made Pakistan the cornerstone of its strategy and has sought to strengthen Pakistan militarily by providing both conventional and nuclear weapons.50 According to Raja Mohan, “the scale and scope of strategic ­cooperation between China and Pakistan is itself unprecedented in the annals of nuclear history.”51 Pakistan has also been referred to as “China’s Israel” – that is, no matter what Pakistan chooses to do, China will back it.52 For instance, India’s efforts – backed by the United States, France, and the United Kingdom – to designate Masood Azhar, leader of the ­Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM), as a global terrorist have been consistently vetoed by China at the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee. Pakistan and China are unnatural allies, but have a de facto alliance proclaimed by none other than the then Chinese President Hu Jintao, in November 2006, during a visit to Pakistan, as “higher than

India’s maritime environment  13 the Himalayas, deeper than the Indian Ocean and sweeter than honey.”53 The close relations between China and Pakistan are largely framed in the context of their mutual hostility with India. Further, for Pakistan, China is also a reliable alternative to the United States in providing military assistance and support for its nuclear programme. China’s defence and nuclear cooperation with Pakistan has seriously blunted India’s military edge over a much smaller neighbour and Pakistan has used its nuclear capability as an “umbrella” to wage cross-border terrorism against India. In April 2015, the Chinese President Xi Jinping announced a $46 billion investment package aimed at augmenting the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). This plan far exceeds not only total U.S. aid to Pakistan since 2002 but also Pakistan’s paltry foreign direct investment figures.54 CPEC is a key element of China’s ambitious belt and road initiative (BRI) and seeks to develop the Chinese-constructed Port Gwadar as an alternate energy supply route via pipelines all the way to China, bypassing vulnerable choke points in the Indian Ocean. It also includes upgrading of the Karakoram Highway linking China with Pakistan. Gwadar is a potential Chinese naval base – in the popularly known “string of pearls” – though the local insurgency in the Pakistan province of Baluchistan has hampered progress in this area and Baluchistan separatists have repeatedly attacked Chinese workers. Significantly, Pakistan has raised a “special security division” comprising 15,000 troops and a naval “Task Force 88” based in Baluchistan, solely to provide security for Chinese personnel and assets.55 Whilst India enjoys overall conventional military superiority with respect to Pakistan, it is highly probable that in the case of a Indo-Pakistan conflict, China – a vastly superior military power – may support Pakistan militarily and open a second front with India along the disputed border.56 To deal with such a scenario, according to Arun Prakash, “India needs to nurture the ‘maritime card’ to checkmate both China and Pakistan.”57 India’s centrality in the Indian Ocean bestows upon it immense geostrategic heft with respect to China, and given the relative parity of forces along the Sino-Indian land border, India’s maritime strategy seeks to leverage its geographic advantage to maintain an overall balance of power with China. China’s strategic interests and vulnerabilities in the Indian Ocean region As the world’s second largest economy and export country, China is well aware that its continued growth is closely linked to its ability to secure its sea lines of communication (SLOC) for supply of raw materials such as ­energy and mineral resources, expand its maritime trade, and maintain its access to new markets globally. In 2017, China’s trade crossed $4.28 ­trillion58 amassing an annual trade surplus of $421 billion, making it the second largest trade surplus economy in the world behind the United States.59 China is the world’s largest importer of petroleum products, and over 80 per cent of

14  India’s maritime environment China’s oil imports transit the Strait of Malacca,60 a vulnerable choke point, representing China’s so-called “Malacca Dilemma,” first highlighted in 2003 by the then Chinese President Hu Jintao. China receives about half of its oil from Africa and the other half from Middle East, transiting through the Strait of Hormuz, another exposed choke point in the Indian Ocean region.61 China has sought to mitigate its “Malacca Dilemma” by diversifying its oil import sources and establishing a network of pipelines via Myanmar, Pakistan, Russia, and the Central Asian republics to bypass the strait, with limited success.62 Further, unlike most large trading nations, including the United States that have preferred to use the more commercially efficient system of foreign-chartered ships over state-owned ships to carry their trade, China has sought to increase its national merchant shipping fleet to carry its own cargo.63 According to the 2018 UNCTAD report on maritime trade, China ranks third after Greece and Japan in the list of top five ship-­owning countries that control more than half of the global shipping tonnage.64 ­Chinese projections suggest that by 2030, China would surpass Greece and Japan to have the world’s biggest merchant fleet by DWT and account for 15 per cent of the world’s shipping volume.65 China is on its way to become the world’s largest tanker owner state by owner nationality in order to achieve its goal of ensuring that 85 per cent of its crude oil imports are carried by Chinese-controlled ships.66 In its quest for new markets and investment destinations, China has also expanded its overseas footprint in Central Asia, the Indian Ocean, Africa, and the Middle East to Europe. In 2014, China’s foreign investments exceeded $116 billion,67 a manifold increase over the less than $3 billion a decade ago.68 These investments are now bound to increase as the execution of various projects under the BRI unfolds. In addition to these investments, China has over five million workers employed overseas, including in several trouble spots such as South Sudan, Yemen, and Pakistan.69 In 2011, when a civil war broke out in Libya, the PLA Navy was employed to evacuate 35,800 Chinese workers and, more recently, in April 2015, the PLA Navy evacuated over 900 people from Yemen, including Chinese nationals and several foreigners.70 As a result of China’s engagements with the Indian Ocean states, it is now susceptible to the entire range of non-traditional threats prevalent in the region. This had been highlighted in the 2015 white paper on China’s military strategy, which identified the following threats to national security: “international and regional turmoil, terrorism, piracy, serious natural ­disasters and epidemics, and the security of overseas interests concerning energy and resources, strategic SLOCs, as well as institutions, personnel and assets abroad.”71 From a strategic perspective, China’s source of economic strength, its burgeoning trade, large merchant fleet, and investments in the Indian Ocean region are also its greatest vulnerability, potentially liable for disruption by India and the United States. India’s commanding position

India’s maritime environment  15 atop China’s trade routes presents a formidable challenge for China, virtually across the entire ocean and particularly at the various choke points. Manifestly, China’s maritime geography – not unalike Russia – restricts its ability to project maritime power. The key focus for China has, therefore, been to alleviate its strategic vulnerability and geographic limitations, and it clearly seeking to expand its maritime power in the Indian Ocean region by establishing regional naval bases. The key factors that foretell a largescale Chinese expansion in the Indian Ocean region in the coming years, potentially undermining India’s geostrategic advantages, are discussed in the following section. China’s maritime strategy China’s defence white paper of 2015, the ninth in a series of such policy documents promulgated since 1998, was the first one to deal explicitly with China’s military strategy. Its salient features were an increased focus on China’s maritime domain, identified as a “critical security domain,” and its protection by the “preparation for military struggle,” an obvious reference to the ongoing tensions in the South China Sea.72 Whilst underscoring the importance of the maritime domain over land, the white paper advocated development of …a modern maritime military force structure commensurate with its national security and development interests, safeguard its national sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, protect the security of strategic SLOCs and overseas interests, and participate in international maritime cooperation, so as to provide strategic support for building itself into a maritime power.73 The white paper called for an assertive posture in China’s near-seas and discusses the possibility of greater PLA Navy presence in the distant oceanic spaces, quiet obviously the Indian Ocean. It called for PLA Navy actions to supplement “offshore waters defence” with “open seas protection” through naval presence and patrols in blue waters. It also stated that China needs to develop naval-related systems to support extended reach and presence, along with air capabilities, to support the “strategic requirement of building air-space capabilities and conducting offensive and defensive operations.”74 The paper highlighted an increased scope for participation by China’s armed forces in international disaster rescue and humanitarian assistance.75 From an Indian perspective, the new Chinese military strategy has been a cause for concern as it clearly points towards a long-term and robust ­m ilitary posture in the Indian Ocean region for protection of China’s strategic SLOCs, personnel and overseas assets, and also an increased tempo of naval diplomatic missions. These earlier pronouncements seen in the light of recent developments, such as the establishment of a PLA Navy logistics

16  India’s maritime environment facility in Djibouti, speak of a coherent national strategy by China to firmly establish a permanent military presence in the Indian Ocean. Modernisation of the PLA Navy According to a U.S. Congressional study report, since the late 1980s to early 1990s, when China’s naval modernisation appears to have commenced, China has made rapid progress in phasing out older and obsolescent platforms and replacing them with modern and more capable platforms.76 The PLA Navy modernisation has been characterised as a three-step process: the first, laying of a “solid foundation” by 2010, followed by making “major progress” by 2020 and finally being able to win “informationalised wars” by the mid-twenty-first century.77 Evidently, this progress has continued on track, and since 2013, the PLA Navy has been commissioning 12–18 ships each year adding 80 ships and submarines to their inventory between 2013 and 2018.78 Overall, China has commissioned more naval ships than any other country in world in the past 100 years, excluding the period of the world war.79 According to the U.S. Congressional report, salient PLA Navy modernisation programmes include anti-ship ballistic missiles (ASBMs), anti-ship cruise missiles, submarines, aircraft carriers, surface combatants, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and state-of-the-art command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems. The key programmes are described in the following paragraphs. Anti-Ship Ballistic Missiles (ASBMs): China has been developing for several years an ASBM known as the DF-21D, a theatre range ballistic missile with a manoeuvrable re-entry vehicle (MaRV) for targeting ships, particularly aircraft carriers, at sea. The DF-21D, dubbed as a “carrier killer” and widely acknowledged as a “game changer,” is estimated to have a range of 810 nm80 (1,500 kilometres) and known to have been deployed by the Second Artillery Force since 2010.81 Reportedly, the missile components of the ­DF-21D have been proven through multiple tests, although China’s ability to use the missile against a moving target operating in the open ocean remains unproven.82 China is also reportedly developing a sophisticated C4ISR ­system, including land-based over-the-horizon surface wave backscatter ­radars that would provide targeting information for the DF-21D. The USN has raised serious concerns about the employment of the DF-21D, estimated beyond even the capability of its SM-2+ level anti-missile interceptors.83 Submarines: The PLA Navy submarine force of the 1980s has been ­replaced in recent years by a modern inventory of submarines capable of regional anti-surface warfare missions near major SLOCs.84 In the mid1990s, China acquired 12 Russian Kilo-class conventional submarines and has since added four new classes of indigenously built submarines: namely, the Jin-class (SSBN or ballistic missile capable nuclear submarine), Shangclass (SSN or nuclear attack submarine), Yuan-class (conventional), and

India’s maritime environment  17 Song-class (conventional). The Jin-class SSBNs are capable of carrying the JL-2 submarine-launched ballistic nuclear missile with a range of 7,400 kilometres.85 By 2020, the PLA Navy is predicted to have a force of about 63 diesel and 11 nuclear submarines.86 Aircraft Carriers and Carrier-Based Aircraft: In September 2012, Liaoning, the former uncompleted Ukrainian (Soviet) carrier Varyag, was commissioned into the PLA Navy as a platform that would help the service transition into a carrier-capable navy. The Liaoning is a 60,000 ton skijump conventional carrier, bigger than the carrier currently operated by the ­Indian Navy and those currently under construction in India. The Liaoning is fitted out with a full suite of weapons and combat systems and is capable of accommodating an air wing of 30 or more aircraft, including J-15 ­fighters, and a mix of anti-submarine/airborne early warning/search and rescue (SAR) helicopters.87 The Liaoning is widely regarded as the PLA Navy’s “starter” carrier to train personnel in carrier operations for manning carriers of the future.88 A second carrier, Type 001A, was launched in April 2017. It is similar to the Liaoning and uses the same STOBAR (Short Take-off But Arrested Recovery) system, but it is slightly larger and has a few notable enhancements.89 The Type 001A displaces about 70,000 tons; it is fitted with an advanced radar and is capable of carrying up to eight additional aircraft. It is ­currently undergoing sea trials and is expected to be commissioned in 2020.90 A third carrier is believed to be under construction at Shanghai. This carrier is expected to be fitted with a CATOBAR (Catapult Assisted Takeoff But Arrested Recovery) similar to the USN’s Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) fitted on the latest Gerald R Ford-class carriers.91 Surface Combatants: Since the 1990s, when China first procured four Sovremenny-class destroyers from Russia, it has inducted ten new classes of indigenously built destroyers and frigates into service. By 2020, the PLA Navy is expected to have nearly 150 major surface combatants.92 These include several large amphibious ships, such as the Type 071 and Type 081.93 It is assessed that in addition to defending and asserting China’s claim in the South China sea, the amphibious ships could be used for diplomatic missions, including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) operations and port visits in the Indian Ocean. In trying to keep pace with the PLA Navy, the growth of the Indian Navy has surged since 2010, and the Indian Navy seems to be on track to become a 200-ship navy by 2027 as planned.94 However, currently, the Indian Navy is less than half the size of the PLA Navy. For instance, by 2020, the PLA Navy will operate 73 attack submarines, whilst the Indian Navy would have just 17 such craft in their inventory. Furthermore, by 2020, the PLA Navy would field 30 guided missile destroyers and over 92 frigates and corvettes, whilst the Indian Navy’s inventory would be limited to just 8 destroyers and about 32 frigates and corvettes.95 However, numbers alone don’t tell the complete story, and despite PLA Navy’s superiority in numbers of platforms, logistical constraints imposed by

18  India’s maritime environment geography and considering the inescapable requirement for concurrent deployment of the PLA Navy in the Western Pacific, China will find it hard to neutralise the extant advantage enjoyed by the India in fielding a higher concentration of naval forces in the Indian Ocean region. Evidently, China is acutely conscious of this limitation, and the establishment of a PLA naval base at Djibouti is clearly aimed at overcoming such operational constraints for the PLA Navy. The belt and road initiative In 2013, the Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the proposal for a Silk Road Economic Belt over land connecting western China to Europe across the Eurasian continent and a MSR stretching from the Western Pacific across the Indian Ocean up to the Mediterranean. Together, the two proposals have now come to be known as the BRI. The BRI seeks to build and augment the maritime infrastructure along the sea routes in the Indo-Pacific region to improve maritime trade in the region and boost regional economies.96 China had invited India along with other states to participate in the new venture. Although India has objected to China’s Silk Road proposal, as it passes through POK, disputed by India, its external affairs minister, Sushma Swaraj, during her visit to Beijing in 2015, stated that whilst India would not give a blanket endorsement to the MSR project, it would support the project where the synergies of the two countries meet.97 The BRI spans at least 68 countries with an announced investment as high as $8 trillion for a vast network of transportation, energy, and telecommunications infrastructure linking Europe, Africa, and Asia.98 The BRI infrastructure when completed will encompass a population of 4.4 billion people with a collective GDP of $21 trillion (one-third of global wealth) and connect every participating country to three continents, linking the world’s top emerging markets.99 The BRI will be funded by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), another Chinese initiative that has attracted support from 57 countries including India.100 When the silk route vision is fulfilled then, as noted by an analyst, “all roads will quite literally lead to Beijing.”101 A National Bureau of Asian Research special report notes that “in many ways, the belt and road initiative looks very much like an effort to replicate on a region-wide scale China’s development model of the past 30 years that led to such spectacular economic results.”102 India and some others, including the United States, do not consider the BRI as benign. In this regard, the former U.S. Secretary of Defence James N. Mattis stated: I think in a globalized world, there are many belts and many roads, and no one nation should put itself into a position of dictating ‘One Belt, One Road…the ‘One Belt, One Road’ also goes through disputed territory, and I think that in itself shows the vulnerability of trying to establish that sort of a dictate.103

India’s maritime environment  19 For the BRI critics, the project is more about “strategic ambitions than commercial logic”104 or an “insidious plot” by China for world domination where China strikes opaque deals and inflates the value of projects, leaving poorer countries in a “debt trap.”105 Regardless of the actual motivation for the BRI, it is clear that the scope and scale of the project could bestow China with powerful long-term strategic influence in the Indian Ocean ­region, which India would need to suitably balance. PLA Navy deployments in the Indian Ocean The PLA Navy was deployed in the Indian Ocean operationally for the first time in modern history in early January 2009, when two destroyers and a replenishment ship arrived at the Gulf of Aden on anti-piracy patrols.106 The PLA Navy has since maintained similar force levels, rotated every four months, a feat unmatched by any other navy except the USN.107 These deployments have provided the PLA Navy a chance to operate with other navies of the world and build up operational experience in a multinational environment. Since 2009, the PLA Navy ships have been deployed on several other occasions in the Indian Ocean. In 2010, the PLA Navy deployed its hospital ship Peace Ark on an 88-day humanitarian aid trip covering Djibouti, Kenya, Tanzania, the Seychelles, and Bangladesh.108 This mission was followed by another deployment to assist with the rehabilitation efforts following Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in early November 2013. In 2011, PLA Navy ships were deployed for the evacuation of Chinese citizens from Libya. Some years later, in 2015, the PLA Navy was once again deployed, this time to rescue its civilian workers from Yemen. In March 2014, following the disappearance of the Malaysian Airlines flight MH 370 in the southern Indian Ocean, killing 217 Chinese nationals, the PLA Navy was deployed in the region on an SAR operation. Incidentally, it was a Chinese commercial bulk carrier, the Tai Shun Hai, that was the first ship to reach the area where the plane was believed to have crashed. Subsequent search efforts by the PLA Navy expanded to 18 ships at one point in time, including two Type 071 Landing Platform Docks (LPDs), a Type 052C destroyer, a Type 903 replenishment ship, and a Type 925 submarine support ship.109 A few months later in 2014, China was once again involved in the multinational efforts to locate Air Asia Flight QZ8501 in the Java Sea. The most significant deployment of the PLA Navy in recent times was the visit of a Song-class conventional submarine along with submarine support ship Changxing Dao, which docked at the Chinese-run Colombo International Container Terminal (CICT) in Sri Lanka in late 2014, en-route to the Gulf of Aden for anti-piracy operations.110 It later emerged that the PLA Navy had also deployed a nuclear submarine in the Indian Ocean on ­anti-piracy patrols – a rather strange measure since nuclear submarines are unsuited for such operations – taking due care to inform all relevant

20  India’s maritime environment countries including India and the United States in advance.111 The hosting of a Chinese submarine by Sri Lanka under the Rajapaksa government clearly did not go down well in India. The idea of China gaining privileged access to Sri Lankan ports as a matter of routine unnerved New Delhi, and India, supported by the United States, as suggested by some, possibly orchestrated the fall of the Rajapaksa government in the 2015 national elections.112 The initial deployment of a Chinese submarine in the Indian Ocean in 2014 was perhaps an effort to “test the waters” and has since been followed by at least seven more deployments until end 2018, though none at Sri Lanka.113 Periodic submarine deployments by the PLA Navy allow gathering of valuable bathymetric data in the Indian Ocean essential for future tactical deployments in the region. Detection and tracking of PLA Navy submarines in the India Ocean raises serious concerns for India. The problem is further compounded since China has offered eight Yuan-class submarines to Pakistan and the presence of Chinese submarines deployed by Pakistan Navy in the region will lead to further confusion in identification by Indian naval units. It is likely that the above PLA Navy deployments could soon be followed by the entry of their carrier task force in the Indian Ocean. A carrier task force could support a number of tasks, including functioning as a command platform for HADR missions, supporting maritime security tasks, or providing trade protection along the SLOCs. The presence of a Chinese carrier, a conspicuous symbol of Chinese maritime power, in the Indian Ocean will significantly raise the profile of the PLA Navy in the region. Chinese naval base(s) in the Indian Ocean region Whilst the availability of new and modern platforms in the PLA Navy has emboldened the Chinese to undertake distant naval operations in the Indian Ocean since 2009, such deployments would have revealed weaknesses in logistical support and also highlighted PLA Navy’s handicap vis-à-vis the Indian Navy. Clearly, for these reasons, China has established a naval base at Djibouti. The strategic location of Djibouti on the Horn of Arica makes it the preferred naval base for many extra-regional navies, including the United States, France, and Japan. Reportedly, China under a bilateral arrangement with Djibouti has been permitted lease of a 200-acres facility for 50 years.114 The upcoming facility is heavily fortified and can accommodate a brigade strength force and several helicopters and also has advanced communications and radar facilities.115 It is likely that this facility could serve as the model for other potential Chinese bases in the Indian Ocean region. The various maritime commercial facilities being developed by China under the BRI are dual-use facilities – or places rather than bases – and serve as a risk-free way of establishing naval presence in a region of interest. Thus, regional ports at Bagamayo in Tanzania; Massawa in Eritrea; ­Karachi and Gwadar in Pakistan; Port Victoria in the Seychelles; Colombo,

India’s maritime environment  21 Hambantota, and Trincomalee in Sri Lanka; the Maldives; Chittagong in Bangladesh; and Sittwe in Myanmar,116 where Chinese firms are engaged in various projects could also be prospective Chinese naval bases. Whilst current concerns about terrorism in Pakistan are likely to discourage the PLA Navy from basing there, given China’s “all weather” friendship with Pakistan, there is no doubt that Gwadar, Karachi, or Jiwani would probably emerge as preferred PLA Navy bases when the situation is practicable or the timing is ripe. The likelihood of multiple Chinese naval bases in the Indian Ocean over the next few years seems inevitable, given that Japan and the West’s three major naval powers, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States, are all in the process of increasing their basing presence in the Gulf.117 ­Admiral Arun Prakash, former Indian naval chief, worryingly predicted some years ago: As China pursues its vision of great-power status, India must reconcile itself to not just seeing a nuclear-armed navy in surrounding waters, but also to the establishment of bases in the Indian Ocean.118 The number of Chinese bases or places that could emerge may perhaps be irrelevant at this stage as even one suitable location could be a potential “game changer” for China in the Indian Ocean. After all, at the peak of the Cold War, the Soviet Navy was operating out of just an anchorage off Socotra Island in the Indian Ocean. Implications of growing Chinese maritime power in the Indian Ocean for India Based on the above assessment of China’s maritime activities in the Indian Ocean, it would be fair to assume that by around 2020, the PLA Navy would have graduated to a permanent presence with one or more carrier-based groups and/or amphibious groups deployed in the region for SLOC protection and other missions. The implications of an expanded and permanent PLA Navy presence in the Indian Ocean for India are enormous, potentially shifting the overall balance of power in China’s favour. Hypothetically, a PLA Navy base(s) in Pakistan could greatly offset ­China’s vulnerability in the Straits of Malacca and impose a Hormuz ­dilemma upon India, which imports nearly half of its oil from the Persian Gulf. A PLA Navy carrier group and numerous surface action groups comprising destroyers operating from a base in Pakistan or the western part of the Indian Ocean could potentially overwhelm any opposition from the ­Indian Navy, rendering Indian trade vulnerable. Furthermore, Chinese submarines could dominate key choke points in the region to establish a sea denial regime against India. However, such a contingency which involves an all-out conflict seems highly unlikely in the near future. In any case, India

22  India’s maritime environment would need to rely on the support of the United States and other powers to tackle this remote, albeit plausible conflict scenario in the future. A more realistic scenario is the availability of a larger number of PLA Navy units, particularly amphibious ships, that could potentially be deployed out of Djibouti on diplomatic and constabulary roles, including HADR missions. For instance, basing of just a few of the over 60 PLA Navy amphibious ships, including many LPDs, at Djibouti or its Type 920 ­Anwei-class hospital ship, Daishandao, also known as the Peace Ark, could help China to provide large-scale assistance to regional states. Pertinently, China is one of the few countries in the world with the ability to provide advanced medical care and emergency rescue capabilities on the high seas, a capability conspicuously lacking with the Indian Navy. Overall, this once brought to the fore has major implications for India, even in peacetime, since it will inevitably lead to greater involvement of the PLA Navy in various security issues of the region, hitherto largely overseen by the Indian Navy. In the long term, this could dilute India’s role as the primary “net security provider” for the region. It is obvious that China could seek to leverage its maritime power to participate in regional security operations to build friendly ties with regional states. Over time, China could be expected to take on larger security responsibilities and provide sustained support in crisis situations, gradually restricting, if not displacing India, from its position as the primary net security provider. Whilst it could be argued that India has already successfully established a network of close security relationships with most regional states, it is viewed that most of India’s security relations – which can be traced back to the 1980s and the end of the Cold War era – were established in a period when India was the sole credible maritime power in the region, tacitly supported by the United States. India’s relations with certain countries, such as Mauritius, the Seychelles, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives, have since evolved into robust security partnerships. It is unlikely that these states would choose to side with China in the future. However, the proclivity of other Indian Ocean states to avoid favouring either India or China can best be judged to be one of political ambivalence. It is these states in which China’s influence could translate into long-term security partnerships, particularly once China has established itself as a dependable provider of security and therein lies the challenge for India to retain its strategic primacy in the region.

Non-traditional maritime security threats to India India, by virtue of its location at the centre of the Indian Ocean, a 7,516-­k ilometre coastline and 1,197 islands, is exposed to the entire range of non-traditional threats and challenges prevalent in the Indian Ocean region. Further, as a large trading nation with maritime trade constituting over 90 per cent of the total national trade by volume and 70 per cent by value, a sizeable shipping fleet, numerous major ports, and offshore oil and gas

India’s maritime environment  23 installations, India is critically dependent on maintenance of “good order” in the Indian Ocean region. Pertinently, India has vital industrial and economic activity located within 200 kilometres of its coastline, including petroleum refineries and nuclear power stations.119 India’s vulnerability to the non-traditional threats, including natural calamities in the Indian Ocean region, has been exposed time and again. The coastal regions of the Indian peninsula and islands are predominantly exposed to natural disasters, as witnessed during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that took the lives of over 10,000 Indians, including over 5,500 in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands alone.120 India’s east coast in particular is exposed to recurring tropical cyclones, which account for a large number of deaths each year and also result in severe damage to infrastructure leading to loss of livelihood of people, thus periodically reversing national developmental efforts. Broadly, it is assessed that almost one-third of the country’s total population is vulnerable to cyclone-related hazards.121 It is expected that climate change and its resultant sea-level rises will significantly increase the vulnerability of I­ ndia’s coastal population. Maritime terrorism is another key challenge for India. In November 2008, a group of terrorists from the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), an Islamic militant organisation, infiltrated Mumbai by sea, holding India’s business capital under siege for three days and killing over 160 people. Since then, terrorist groups in the India Ocean region have repeatedly demonstrated their ability to carry out further maritime terror attacks, such as the attack on the ­Japanese tanker M-Star transiting the Strait of Hormuz in 2010 and the 2014 attempted hijacking of PNS Zulfiqar in Pakistan, both executed by Al-Qaeda. In 2016, a plan by a group of terrorists including former a Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) operative to attack the iconic marine bay sands complex in Singapore was foiled just in time by Indonesian authorities.122 Most recently in October 2018, it was reported that LeT cadres were preparing for a Samudri Jihad (Seaborne Jihad) to strike Indian ships and coastal facilities.123 These developments indicate that maritime terrorism is a “clear and present danger” in the Indian Ocean region and thus India needs to prepare accordingly. India has also been adversely affected by piracy in the Indian Ocean. During the period of Somali piracy from 2005 until 2012 when piracy off Somalia was widespread and largely unchecked, India, as one of the largest manpower providers to the global shipping industry, was severely impacted, with several Indian crews facing the brunt of attacks. According to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), in March 2010, when Somali piracy had peaked, of the 175 crew members held hostage by Somali pirates, 95 were Indians.124 Since 2012, largely as a result of private security, implementation of best management practices (BMP 4), continued naval patrolling and counter-piracy efforts on land, piracy in the Indian Ocean has almost ceased.125 However, a leading private security company cautioned that the threats to the maritime industry were far from eradicated,126 and in a grim

24  India’s maritime environment reminder of the dangers, suddenly in March 2017 (after a gap of five years), Somali pirates hijacked two vessels and some others were attacked in the following weeks.127 Sporadic attacks on ships have also been reported in Southeast Asia. Historically, it has been seen that piracy has erupted in the Indian Ocean in areas close to choke points and regions marked by political instability as in the case of Somalia. Therefore, whilst piracy may have declined significantly in some regions, it could re-emerge once again elsewhere. Moreover, as demonstrated by Somali pirates, the proliferation of commercial-off-theshelf technologies such as GPS and portable radios, a small boat manned by pirates is capable of carrying out long-range attacks on unarmed merchant ships. Thus, in the twenty-first century, the high seas are no longer desolate regions but akin to lonely stretches of highway on land where highway robbers prowl. This is a significant development that has changed forever the way mariners now look at the high seas and thus India needs to maintain a close watch on piracy in region. In addition to the above threats, India need to guard against illegal fishing, maritime transnational crimes such as illegal human migration, and trafficking by sea, which are prevalent in various part of the region. Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing is an issue of global concern; however, it is widely prevalent in the Indian Ocean, adversely impacting the sustainability of fish stocks and thus food security. Illegal fishing is a relatively recent phenomenon perpetuated by overfishing in the EEZs of developed countries and is now common for large fishing vessels from developed countries to operate in deeper waters of the high seas and poach elsewhere in the EEZs of developing countries. According to the Global Ocean Commission, the global catch has increased from 18 million tonnes in 1950 to nearly 94 million tonnes in 1994, whilst the global fishing fleet’s overall engine power grew 10-fold over the period.128 With the catch now falling due to declining stocks, fishing vessels use twice as much energy to catch a tonne of fish as 60 years ago. Too many vessels are competing for increasingly exploited stocks, increasing the imperative to fish illegally. Illegal fishing has several implications; it puts the local fishermen at a disadvantage, depletes fish stocks, destroys marine habitats, and weakens the fishing communities economically. This could potentially impact maritime security as seen in Somalia, where illegal fishing in the Somali EEZ led to depleted fish stocks, driving the local fishermen to desperation and eventually to piracy in the early twenty-first century. In India, illegal fishing has been reported around the Andaman Islands where exotic marine species such as sea cucumbers are known to be highly valued in Chinese markets,129 and in the Bay of Bengal where the formation of “dead zones” extending about 60,000 square kilometres indicates that the region’s ecosystems have been adversely disrupted due to various factors including IUU.130 It is pertinent to note that nearly 61 per cent of Indian fishermen live below the poverty line.131 Evidently, illegal fishing has not been accorded due importance in India; perhaps, other security threats that require an urgent response seem to dominate the maritime

India’s maritime environment  25 security agenda over environmental issues. Clearly, a comprehensive approach to maritime security in the Indian Ocean demands far greater focus on IUU fishing than is currently accorded. Human trafficking and illegal migration, although limited to certain parts of the region, have emerged as another key challenge with wider ramifications. Illegal migration in the Indian Ocean region has largely been precipitated by the widespread economic disparity amongst the regional states coupled with political instability and violence in parts. The geographic proximity between littoral states and the practical difficulties of surveillance and patrolling along maritime borders seems to have facilitated illegal migrations by sea. Australia, due to its proximity to Indonesia, received until recently a large number of illegal migrants each year by sea. According to an Australian government report, between 2012 and 2013, a total of 18,119 asylum seekers arrived by sea, including people from Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.132 In 2015, over 7,000 “boat people” attempted to flee Myanmar and Bangladesh across the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea.133 A large number of boats were apprehended trying to land the migrants in Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. In January 2019, a boat carrying more than 100 suspected Indian illegal migrants was reported missing from India’s southern state of Kerala. A search was launched by the Indian Navy and Coast Guard and it was reported that the boat could be heading for New Zealand under direction from a gang of human smugglers.134 These trends indicate that the regional navies and coast guards, hitherto involved in dealing with other security issues or providing HADR operations, now also have to prepare to deal with these new “manmade” crises.135

Conclusion The twenty-first-century environment in the Indian Ocean is dynamic and presents several challenges for India. India is faced with serious challenges from its adversarial neighbours, China and Pakistan. As an emergent superpower, China has critical strategic interests in the Indian Ocean. However, India’s geostrategic advantage in the region is perceived as a crucial strategic vulnerability by the Chinese, and thus China has sought to expand its maritime power into the Indian Ocean. The rise of Chinese maritime power and influence in the region and the Sino-Pakistan nexus could potentially pose a serious risk India’s geostrategic advantage and clearly India can no longer take for granted the strategic benefits of its location. Further, it is clear that the unique geophysical attributes of the Indian Ocean, coupled with a high volume of maritime trade, have several implications for regional security. India, by virtue of its location, is fully exposed to the entire range of non-traditional maritime threats and challenges in the Indian Ocean. The vulnerability of the India’s highly populated coastal regions to natural calamities and other security threats including terrorism have been recurrently exposed in recent years. These challenges are also potential change multipliers, which could throw up complex challenges in

26  India’s maritime environment the future, far beyond the capacity of any single state to tackle. Therein lies the challenge for India’s maritime strategy to meet the entire spectrum of threats in the Indian Ocean with the limited resources of a developing economy.

Notes 1 Government of India, Ensuring Secure Seas: Indian Maritime Security Strategy, Indian Navy Naval Strategic Publication 1.2, Integrated Headquarters of the Ministry of Defence (Navy), New Delhi, October 2015, p. 3. 2 Ibid., p. 8. 3 Indian Ocean Naval Symposium, “About IONS,” 10 November 2016, available at http://ions.gov.in/about_ions.html. 4 Ibid. 5 Amit A. Pandya, Rupert Herbert-Burns and Junko Kobayashi, Maritime Commerce and Security: The Indian Ocean, Henry L. Stimson Centre Study Report, Washington DC, February 2011, p. 7. 6 Michel David and Russell Sticklor, eds., Indian Ocean Rising: Maritime Security and Policy Challenges, Stimson, Washington DC, p. 11. 7 “Stability Key in Indian Ocean,” Nikkei Asian Review, 29 November 2015. 8 Suez Canal Authority, “Navigation Statistics,” August 2017, available at http:// www.suezcanal.gov.eg/English/Navigation/Pages/NavigationStatistics.aspx. html. 9 U.S. Energy Information Administration, “Oil Trade off Yemen Coast Grew by 20% to 4.7 Million Barrels Per Day in 2014,” 23 April 2015, available at http:// www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=20932.html. 10 “Why Protecting Bab Al-Mandeb is a Global Responsibility,” Arab News, 26 July 2018. 11 Ibid. 12 UK Hydrographic Office, Admiralty Sailing Directions NP63 Persian Gulf Pilot, London, 2015, pp. 45–63. 13 “EXPLAINED: Strait of Hormuz – The World’s Most Important Oil Artery,” The Energy World, 6 July 2018. 14 U.S. Energy Information Administration, “The Strait of Hormuz is the World’s Most Important Oil Transit Chokepoint,” 4 January 2012, available at http:// www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=4430.html. 15 “What’s at Stake If Trading at Strait of Hormuz is Disrupted?” Al Jazeera, 5 July 2018. 16 James Kraska, “Legal Vortex in the Strait of Hormuz,” Virginia Journal of ­International Law, Vol. 54, No. 2, Spring 2014, p. 323. 17 Ibid. 18 Ibid. 19 Maj Gen (Retd) R.K. Arora, “Will Iran Block the Life Line,” Indian Military Review, Vol. 3, No. 2, February 2012, p. 4. 20 United Nations, “UN Applauds ‘Historic’ Deal on Iranian Nuclear Programme,” 14 July 2015, available at http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.­a sp? NewsID=51409.html. 21 Jeremy Binnie, “Gulf Guerrillas,” IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, 6 February 2014, p. 34. 22 William Komiss and LaVar Huntzinger, “The Economic Implications of ­Disruptions to Maritime Oil Chokepoints,” Centre for Naval Analysis Study Report, Washington DC, March 2011, p. 15.

India’s maritime environment  27 23 “Iran Able to Block Strait of Hormuz – General Dempsey Tells” Bloomberg, 1 August 2012. 24 “Indian Oil to Cut Iranian Oil Imports by 23%: Veerappa Moily,” The Mint, 6 August 2013. 25 “Malacca and S’pore Straits Traffic Hits New High in 2016, VLCCs Fastest Growing Segment,” Seatrade Maritime News, 13 February 2017, available at http:// www.seatrade-maritime.com/news/asia/malacca-and-s-pore-strait-traffichits-new-high-in-2016-vlccs-fastest-growing-segment.html. 26 Chen Shaofeng, “China’s Self-Extrication from the ‘Malacca Dilemma’ and Implications,” International Journal of China Studies, Vol. 1, No. 1, January 2010, pp. 1–24. 27 U.S. Energy Information Administration, “Natural Gas Pipeline System – Southeast Region,” June 2015, available at www.eia.gov/pub/oil_gas/natural_ gas/analysis_publications/ngpipeline/southeast.html. 28 Ibid. 29 Jennifer C. Bulkeley, “Regional Cooperation on Maritime Piracy: A Prelude to Greater Multilateralism in Asia?” Journal of Public and International Affairs, Vol. 14, Spring 2003, p. 58. 30 International Maritime Bureau, Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships for the Period 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2015, 2016, London, p. 7. 31 UK Hydrographic Office, Admiralty Sailing Directions NP36 Indonesia Pilot Vol 1, London, 2017, p. 187. 32 Ibid. 33 Ibid. 34 Government of India, Freedom to Use the Seas; India’s Maritime Military Strategy, Integrated Headquarters of the Ministry of Defence (Navy), New Delhi, 2007, p. 28. 35 Pandya, Herbert-Burns, and Kobayashi, Maritime Commerce and Security: The Indian Ocean, pp. 10–16. 36 Government of India, Freedom to Use the Seas, p. 41. 37 Government of India, Indian Maritime Doctrine, Integrated Headquarters of the Ministry of Defence (Navy), New Delhi, 2007, p. 58. 38 UN Conference on Trade and Development, Review of Maritime Transport, ­Geneva, 2013, p. 5. 39 Ibid., p. 349. 40 Ibid., p. 9. 41 Lloyd’s Register’s Strategic Research Group, QinetiQ and the University of Strathclyde, Marine Trends 2030, Glasgow, 2013, pp. 14–17. 42 Gary Li, “Arctic North Sea Route Study,” IHS Markit, London, 2014. 43 The 20-foot TEU is an inexact unit of cargo capacity often used to describe the capacity of container ships and container terminals. 44 Li, “Arctic North Sea Route Study.” 45 C. Raja Mohan, Samudra Manthan – Sino-Indian Rivalry in the Indo-Pacific, Brookings University Press, Washington DC, 2012, pp. 3–5. 46 Ministry of External Affairs, Sino-India Relations Including Doklam, Border Situation and Cooperation in International Organizations, 16th Lok Sabha Committee of External Affairs 2017–18, September 2018, p. 30. 47 Ewan W. Anderson, “Global Geopolitical Flashpoints: An Atlas of Conflict,” Routledge, New York, 2013, p. 69. 48 Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs, “Press Statement on Doklam disengagement understanding,” 28 August 2017, available at http://mea.gov.in/ press-releases.htm?dtl/28893/press+statement+on+doklam+disengagement+ understanding.html.

28  India’s maritime environment 49 “China ‘breached, encroached’ territory in Doklam: Govt tells opposition parties,” Hindustan Times, 14 July 2017. 50 Arun Prakash, India’s Maritime Growth: Rationale and Objectives, Varuna Vak, National Maritime Foundation Policy Paper No. 1, New Delhi, July 2011, p. 20. 51 Mohan, Samudra Manthan, p. 22. 52 Geoffrey Kemp, Asia: East Moves West, HH Sheikh Naseer al-Mohammad al-Sabah Research Working Paper, No. 6, Durham, February 2013, p. 9. 53 Mohan Malik, China and India: Great Power Rivals, First Forum Press, Boulder, 2011, p. 165. 54 Louis Ritzinger, “The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor,” National Bureau of Asian Research Commentary, 5 August 2015. 55 Filippo Boni, “Protecting the Belt and Road Initiative: China’s Cooperation with Pakistan to Secure CPEC,” Asia Policy, Vol. 14, No. 2, April 2019, p. 7. 56 Prakash, India’s Maritime Growth, p. 23. 57 Ibid. 58 “China’s Foreign Trade Up 14.2 pct in 2017,” Xinhuanet, 16 November 2018. 59 Based on WTO database accessed from www.statistica.com on 16 November 2018. 60 U.S. Energy Information Administration, “International Energy Data and ­Analysis – China,” March 2016, available at http://www.eia.gov/beta/international/ analysis.cfm?iso=CHN.html. 61 Euan Graham, “Maritime Security and Threats to Energy Transportation in Southeast Asia,” RUSI Journal, Vol. 160, No. 2, April/May 2015, p. 20. 62 Vivan Sharan and Nicole Thiher, Oil Supply Routes in the Asia Pacific: China’s Strategic Calculations, Observer Research Foundation Occasional Paper No. 24, New Delhi, September 2011, pp. 3–8. 63 James R. Holmes and Toshi Yoshihara, Chinese Naval Strategy in the 21st Century: The Turn to Mahan, Routledge, New York, 2008, p. 15. 64 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Review of Maritime Transport 2015, p. x. 65 Rear Admiral Michael McDevitt, USN (retired), Becoming a Great “Maritime Power”: A Chinese Dream, Centre for Naval Analyses, Washington DC, June 2016, p. 10. 66 Ibid. 67 “Strategic Geography 2015, Strategic Survey, Routledge, London, Vol. 115, No. 1, September 2015, p. iv. 68 David Tweed, “Five Million Reasons Why China Could Go to War,” Bloomberg Business, 16 June 2015. 69 Ibid. 70 Viajy Sakhuja, “The Expanding Maritime Geography of the Chinese Navy,” National Maritime Foundation Commentary, 15 May 2015. 71 People’s Republic of China, China’s Military Strategy, The Information Office of the State Council, Beijing, May 2015, p. 1. 72 “Analysis: Parsing China’s Latest Defence White Paper,” Jane’s Defence Weekly, 28 May 2015. 73 People’s Republic of China, China’s Military Strategy, The Information Office of the State Council, Beijing, May 2015, p. 4. 74 Ibid. 75 People’s Republic of China, China’s Military Strategy, pp. 2–4. 76 Ronald O’Rourke, China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy ­Capabilities – Background and Issues for Congress, Congressional Research Service Report, Washington DC, 1 June 2015, pp. 2–3. 77 U.S. Navy, The PLAN Navy: Naval Capabilities and Missions for the 21st ­Century, Office of Naval Intelligence, Washington DC, 2015, p. 15.

India’s maritime environment  29 78 “We Can Match China in the Indian Ocean Region, Says Navy Chief Sunil Lanba,” India Today, 17 November 2018. 79 Ibid. 80 Rourke, China Naval Modernization, p. 80. 81 “China,” IHS Jane’s World Navies 2014–2015, p. 34. 82 Andrew Erickson, Chinese Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile (ASBM) Development: Drivers, Trajectories and Strategic Implications, The Jamestown Foundation, Washington DC, May 2013, pp. 4–6. 83 Ibid. 84 Rourke, China Naval Modernization, p. 8. 85 Ibid., p. 8. 86 U.S. Navy, The PLAN Navy, pp. 18–19. 87 Ibid., p. 17. 88 Ibid., p. 23. 89 “What Do We Know (So Far) About China’s Second Aircraft Carrier?” China Power, 16 November 2018, available at https://chinapower.csis.org/ china-aircraft-carrier-type-001a/html. 90 Ibid. 91 “Image Emerges Showing Possible Design of China’s Third Aircraft Carrier,” IHS Janes Defence Weekly, 21 June 2018. 92 Rourke, China Naval Modernization, pp. 36–38. 93 Ibid. 94 “Indian Navy Aiming at 200-Ship Fleet by 2027,” The Economic Times, 14 July 2018. 95 James R. Holmes, “Who Will Win the Great China-India Naval War of 2020?” Foreign Policy, 7 August 2017. 96 Abhijit Singh,” China’s Maritime Silk Route: Implications for India,” Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses Commentary, 28 July 2014. 97 “Narendra Modi changed India’s ‘attitude’ towards Maritime Silk Road: ­Chinese daily,” The Economic Times, 4 July 2016. 98 John Hurley, Scott Morris, and Gailyn Portelance, Examining the Debt Implications of the Belt and Road Initiative from a Policy Perspective, Center for Global Development Policy Paper No. 121, March 2018, p. 1. 99 Nadège Rolland, “China’s Silk Road,” The National Bureau of Asian Research Commentary, 12 February 2015, p. 1. 100 Christopher Len, “China’s 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative, Energy Security and SLOC Access,” Maritime Affairs, Vol. 11, No. 1, 2015, p. 8. 101 Ibid. 102 Erica Downs, Mikkal E. Herberg, Michael Kugelman, Christopher Len, and Kaho Yu, Asia’s Energy Security and China’s Belt and Road Initiative, NBR Special Report No. 68, Washington DC, November 2017, p. V. 103 “Many Belts and Many Roads,” CSIS, 11 October 2017, available at https:// reconnectingasia.csis.org/analysis/entries/many-belts-and-many-roads/html. 104 Ibid. 105 Stephen China, “BRI Debt Trap: An Unintended Consequence?” The ASEAN Post, 9 October 2018. 106 “China,” IHS Jane’s World Navies 2014–2015, p. 35. 107 Ibid. 108 Eddie Walsh, “The China Factor,” The Diplomat, 4 June 2011. 109 “China,” IHS Jane’s World Navies 2014–2015, p. 38. 110 Vijay Sakhuja, “Chinese Submarines in Sri Lanka Unnerve India: Next Stop ­Pakistan?” China Brief, Vol. 15, No. 11, 29 May 2015, The Jamestown Foundation. 111 Ibid. 112 “Former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa Blames India for His Election Defeat,” DNA Newspaper, 13 March 2015.

30  India’s maritime environment 113 “Decoding Chinese Submarine ‘Sightings’ in South Asia, Eroding New Delhi’s Strategic Primacy,” The Economic Times, 15 November 2018. 114 Col. Vinayak Bhat, “China’s Mega Fortress in Djibouti Could Be Model for its Bases in Pakistan,” The Print, 27 September 2017. 115 Ibid. 116 Andrew S. Erickson and Gabriel Collins, “Dragon Tracks: Emerging Chinese Access Points in the Indian Ocean Region,” AMTI Brief, 18 June 2015. 117 Shishir Upadhyaya, “Projecting Power…and politics? Carriers in the Indian Ocean,” IHS Janes Navy International, 11 February 2015. 118 Arun Prakash, “The Rationale and Implications of India’s Growing Maritime Power,” in Michael Kugelman, ed., India’s Contemporary Security Challenges, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington DC, 2011, p. 85. 119 Government of India, Indian Maritime Doctrine, Integrated Headquarters of the Ministry of Defence (Navy), New Delhi, 2016, p. 38. 120 “Tsunami Death Toll,” CNN.com, 22 February 2005. 121 “Cyclones & their Impact in India,” 19 November 2018, available at https:// ncrmp.gov.in/cyclones-their-impact-in-india.html. 122 “Plot to Attack Marina Bay with Rocket from Batam Foiled,” The Straits Times, 6 August 2016. 123 Abhijit Singh, “After 26/11, A Half Transformation,” The Times of India, 20 November 2018. 124 Based on details obtained directly from IMB analysts at London. 125 “EUNAVFOR Commander: Piracy Suppressed,” Maritime Security Review, 9 July 2015. 126 “Global Threats to Maritime Industry Are Far From Eradicated,” Homeland Security Today, 22 September 2015. 127 International Maritime Bureau, Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships – ­Report for the Period 1 January to 31 March 2017, London, 2017, pp. 19–20. 128 “Mission Ocean-Drivers of Decline,” available at https://missionocean.me/ drivers-of-decline/html, 23 November 2018. 129 Government of India, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Committee Constituted to Holistically Address the Issue of Poaching in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, September 2011, pp. 9–11. 130 Ibid. 131 Amitav Ghosh and Aaron Savio Lobo, “Bay of Bengal: Depleted Fish Stocks and Huge Dead Zone Signal Tipping Point,” The Guardian, 31 January 2017. 132 Commonwealth of Australia, Asylum Trends 2012–13, Department of Immigration and Border Protection, Canberra, 2013, p. 24. 133 Vijay Sakhuja,” How Asia’s ‘Boat People’ Exposed Maritime Weaknesses,” Asian Review, 1 July 2015. 134 “Missing Boat Carrying 100–200 Indians Could Be On Way to New Zealand: Police,” India Today, 21 January 2019. 135 Ibid.

2 India’s foreign policy

To deal with the wide range of strategic maritime threats facing India, the challenge before the national leadership is to craft a coherent yet adaptable national strategy synergising the various instruments of national power: diplomatic, informational, military, and economic. The effectiveness of a national strategy is dependent not only on the overall capabilities of the state, but equally on a nuanced understanding of the various instruments of national power by the country’s leadership and its skilful application in times of crisis. In the case of India, whilst the broad use of force, as ­w itnessed in the various wars in the sub-continent, is well understood, its subtle application in various forms to achieve other strategic ends, such as coercion or deterrence or compellence; and the ability to coordinate the efforts of various constituent institutions, such as the relevant ministries and government departments, and the three armed forces, through a robust process to ensure success, is yet to reach the level of sophistication expected from ­expected from the world’s biggest democracy and a nuclear weapon state with one of the largest and most modern armed forces. This is particularly telling in the maritime domain. According to Uday Bhaskar, a leading ­Indian security analyst writing on the Indian experience of the use of the navy as an instrument of foreign policy: The political apex of the nascent post-colonial state [India] had a limited understanding of the application of military power for advancing foreign policy objectives… Even in terms of its primary role as an instrument of military power, the potential of the Indian Navy was not appreciated until as late as the early 1970s.1 Bhaskar adds that India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru (1947–64) “who set the template for the use of the armed forces in the pursuit of ­national objectives, exuded the liberal disdain for the use of force.”2 Clearly, Nehru had “an uneasy relationship with the top military brass and saw the institution of the fauj (military) in its colonial hue.”3 Furthermore, the ­Indian political leadership of the time lacked an understanding of maritime power or “sea blindness,” a term commonly used to describe this malady.

32  India’s foreign policy This has been largely attributed to the fact that the Indian capital and the seat of political power, New Delhi, is located furthest from sea than any capital city in the world, and historically, most foreign invasions into India came from across the land boundaries in the north. As a result of this unclear thinking, the application of maritime power by India to promote national interests, particularly in the early years post-independence, was generally wanting. Although India has made significant progress in this regard since the 1970s, a lot more needs to be accomplished. This chapter traces the evolution of India’s foreign policy since independence, highlighting key milestones with references to engagements with its neighbours in the sub-continent, the ­Indian Ocean region, and relations with superpowers. It also discusses how past experiences have influenced current strategic thinking and foreign relations.

India’s foreign policy: initial years India was one of the first colonies to gain freedom, following a largely non-violent struggle influenced by Mahatma Gandhi. Indian political leaders of the period thus felt that they had a moral responsibility to create a just international order. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister, envisioned a role for India where it would take the lead in eliminating colonialism, economic exploitation, and discrimination from international relations.4 Consequently, India’s initial foreign policy was founded on these idealistic and lofty principles, which have now come to be widely known as the Nehruvian doctrine. However, in recent times, there seems to be a growing realisation that India’s freedom struggle was not entirely “non-violent” and Nehru’s philosophy is increasingly being challenged in India. According to Brahma Chellaney, a leading India geostrategist, India has long embellished or distorted how it won independence…This myth [non-violent struggle] has been deeply instilled in the minds of Indians since their school days.5 Chellaney avers that the India’s independence was a fallout of the protracted World War II which greatly weakened the ability of the British to rule ­India, because of which even colonies that had no grassroot struggle against the British also won independence. He also argues that a parallel violent struggle waged by the Indian National Army (INA) under Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, though militarily unsuccessful, was also an important factor that compelled the British to free India. Chellaney contends that …India’s pernicious founding myth gave rise to a pacifist country that believed it could get peace merely by seeking peace, instead of building the capability to defend peace.6

India’s foreign policy  33 Indeed, India’s current security challenges can be traced back to the initial pacifist tendencies that seem to have influenced its foreign and defence policies. Chellaney further adds: Had the post-1947 India been proactive and forward-looking in securing its frontiers, it could have averted both the Kashmir and Himalayan border problems. China was in deep turmoil until October 1949, and India had ample time and space to assert control over the Himalayan borders.7 An examination of India’s foreign policy for the Indian Ocean region and efforts to project maritime power in its maritime neighbourhood, covered in subsequent chapters, supports the above contention. Evidently, as a result of pacifist influences on India’s foreign policy, efforts to employ maritime power as an instrument of state power have also been largely unpersuasive and New Delhi seems to have dithered in projecting India’s maritime power onto the entire Indian Ocean region, hesitating to even leverage its own island territories for the purpose. This is further explained in subsequent chapters. The early years of India’s post-independence period coincided with the emergence of the Cold War between the Western democracies and the East European Communist states led by the Soviet Union. Rather than getting involved in the ideological battle, Nehru believed India would be better off abstaining from Cold War politics and remaining committed to fostering peaceful relations with all countries alike. This approach evolved into the doctrine of “non-alignment” and subsequently became the cornerstone for India’s foreign policy.8 This idea also led to the formation of the NonAligned Movement, which gained huge popularity amongst Third World nations. In 1949, after the creation of NATO, there were similar treaties involving the Western powers, notably CENTO9, SEATO,10 and ANZUS.11 The United States initially invited India to join these alliances.12 India, however, ­refused the offer in pursuit of its goal of remaining non-aligned and thus the United States invited Pakistan to join instead. In 1954, Pakistan signed a defence cooperation agreement with the United States and participated in the SEATO. Later in 1955, Pakistan also joined the CENTO. Subsequently, Pakistan leveraged its links with the United States and the United Kingdom to stake a claim over the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir and disrupt India’s relations with the Western democracies.13 Nehru was totally opposed to signing any security treaty with foreign powers. According to Thomas Schelling in Arms and Influence,14 Nehru was condescending of Thailand and Pakistan for joining Western treaties, as he believed that in a real emergency, the Western powers’ commitment to defend India would be “as strong with a treaty as without it.”15 This thinking dictates India’s foreign policy even today, and India is opposed to formal defence agreements with other larger powers.

34  India’s foreign policy During the late 1950s, Pakistan also went on to develop close strategic links with China, which have continued ever since. The United States viewed India’s non-alignment policy as detrimental to its own strategy for restructuring the world order in the post–World War II period. Consequently, the late 1950s saw India’s defence aid from the United Kingdom and the United States decline and India turned to the Soviet Union and its East European allies by 1955 to meet its defence requirements.16 In 1961, after 14 years of negotiations with the Portuguese over their occupation of Goa failed, India invaded Goa and freed it from Portuguese rule. Nehru, whilst referring to the American Monroe doctrine, justified India’s actions as follows: …the Portuguese retention of Goa is a continuing interference with the political system established in India today. I shall go a step further and say that any interference by any other power would also be an interference with the political system of India today…it may be that we are weak and cannot prevent that political interference. But the fact is that any interference in any way with India is a thing that India cannot tolerate, and which, subject to her strength she will oppose. This is the broad doctrine that I lay down.17 Later prime ministers, including Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, invoked this doctrine to justify India’s subsequent diplomatic and military interventions in Sri Lanka, Nepal, and the Maldives. India’s version of the Monroe doctrine has been criticised by its neighbours who perceive it as an act of hegemony. In 1988, the Pakistan foreign minister, referring to Indian doctrine, stated that it was unacceptable to India’s neighbours as it violated the basic principles of the charter of the United Nations, the non-aligned movement, and the doctrine of peaceful co-existence.18 Apparently, the United States has not accepted the Indian version of the Monroe doctrine over Pakistan, though they have tacitly accepted it elsewhere in South Asia, including in Sri Lanka, the Maldives, and Nepal.19 Wars with China and Pakistan: In 1962, after Sino-Indian border talks failed, China invaded India in 1962, inflicting a humiliating defeat and ­occupying large parts of its territory. This was a watershed moment for ­India and a major setback for Nehru, an idealist and an admirer of China, which he believed was the “other great Asian civilisation” that together with ­India would lead the post-imperial Asian resurgence.20 India’s defeat at the hands of China in the 1962 war took a heavy toll on Nehru’s health and he passed away soon thereafter in 1964. The 1962 debacle made a deep impact on ­Indian foreign policy, shifting it away from idealism towards realism.21 During this period, the strategic environment around India was tense and hostile, with the creation of Sino-Pakistan strategic ties and antagonistic relations with the United Kingdom and the United States. Taking advantage of this situation, Pakistan invaded India in 1965 in the Rann of Kutch.

India’s foreign policy  35 Pakistani forces deployed American military hardware including Paton tanks during the war.22 Pakistan grossly underestimated the Indian military response, however, and ultimately faced a decisive defeat. The Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri is credited for having displayed great tact and political acumen in the handling of this war and the signing of the Tashkent Agreement that ended the conflict. Unfortunately, Shastri passed away within hours of signing the agreement and the mantle of leadership passed to Indira Gandhi, who directed India’s foreign policy for the next 15 years. In the late 1960s, when the Cold War was at its peak, China had become a confirmed nuclear weapon state, exploding its first nuclear device in 1964. Close Sino-Pakistan relations thus posed a major threat to India. Indira Gandhi focused upon upgrading India’s defence capacity and establishing friendly relations with immediate neighbours Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives.23 During this period, India’s relations with the United States remained somewhat cold, aggravated by India’s difference of opinion with respect to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which it perceived as being discriminatory and also because of India’s opposition to American military actions in Vietnam. Pertinently in the mid-1960s, the United States had also started using the island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, a part of the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), to support their naval operations in the region. According to former Indian Foreign Secretary J.N. Dixit, during this period the Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was able to establish a friendly and personal rapport with the then American President Lyndon Johnson, which somewhat moderated otherwise antagonistic relations.24 In comparison to the United States, India’s relations with the Soviet U ­ nion expanded and Indo-Soviet cooperation in the fields of defence and technology developed rapidly from 1966 to 1970. The Indian Air Force was the first of the three services to commence acquisitions from the Soviet ­Union with the signing of an agreement for manufacture of MiG-21 fi ­ ghters in India. In September 1965, an agreement was signed for acquisition of four Foxtrot-class submarines, a submarine depot ship, five Petya-class anti-­submarine corvettes, two landing ships, and five patrol boats for the Indian Navy.25 India’s relations with the Southeast Asian countries in the 1960s did not receive the attention they deserved. Indonesia, which was a member of the non-aligned movement, had turned pro-West, whilst some of the other states, including the Philippines and Thailand, had become a part of the U.S.-led military alliance system. During the 1965 war with Pakistan, Indonesia tacitly supported Pakistan and undertook certain naval measures to distract India. In the course of the war, it was reported that an increasing number of unidentified ships and submarines were sighted off the ­Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which compelled the Indian Navy to divert some ships in the Andaman Sea.26 Consequently, between 1965 and 1967, when the ­Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was being created, India turned down an opportunity for full membership on the basis that India

36  India’s foreign policy could not be involved with a group that was part of the larger American game.27 According to J.N. Dixit, it took more than 23 years to revive contacts with ASEAN and become dialogue partner in 1991–92.28 Fostering close ties with the Islamic countries of the Middle East was an important priority for India in view of its own large indigenous Muslim population and also to secure India’s energy imports from the region. Whilst India had longstanding historical relations with the Arabs, the creation of a Muslim state, Pakistan, confused major Gulf states, which felt that partition implied an “automatic” transfer of allegiance to Pakistan.29 By the late 1960s, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had ensured a strong relationship with Iran and Afghanistan as well as strong economic ties with Gulf states. However, subsequent inept attempts by India for membership of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)30 were unsuccessful and India was excluded from the organisation.31 Significantly, after 50 years, India was invited to attend an OIC session in March 2019 as a “Guest of Honour” in the UAE; a sign of India’s rising global political stature and recognition of its cultural and historical legacy.32 The Indo-Pakistan War of 1971: The 1971 war was a major landmark event in the history of independent India with far-reaching and long-term ramifications for its foreign policy. Political agitation in East Pakistan, perpetuated due to the authoritarian rule of the West Pakistan-dominated government under military rule, led to tensions in Indo-Pakistan relations. Pakistan blamed India for fermenting discontent amongst the people of East Pakistan. The national elections of 1970 in Pakistan, which led to a major victory for the Awami League under the East Pakistan leader Mujibur Rehman, was not accepted by the military-led government under General Yahya Khan. After negotiations for a political settlement failed, Mujibur Rehman launched a movement for the “liberation” of East Pakistan. Yahya Khan commenced a military crackdown in East Pakistan, which led to a huge influx of refugees into India. During this period, India supported the liberation movement as it considered the two wings of Pakistan, separated by thousands of miles of Indian territory, a geographical and political incongruity.33 India’s efforts to develop international support for the liberation of Bangladesh were unsuccessful, with the U.S. government firmly against it. The U.N. General Assembly also passed a resolution against the idea of an independent Bangladesh in October 1971. Meanwhile, in August 1971, India signed a Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation with the Soviet Union.34 Article IX of the Treaty provided for mutual defence cooperation between the parties in case of threats to their sovereignty, stating In the event of either Party being subjected to an attack or a threat thereof, the High Contracting Parties shall immediately enter into mutual consultations in order to remove such threat and to take appropriate effective measures to ensure peace and the security of their countries.35

India’s foreign policy  37 The above development seems to have further exasperated the United States on India’s real intentions. Eventually, the events on the ground culminated in a war, with Pakistan launching a pre-emptive strike on Indian Air Force bases along the northwestern border. The war lasted 13 days and ended with a crushing defeat for Pakistan, which surrendered at Dhaka on 16 December 1971. India captured 93,000 Pakistani troops and large tracts of territory in Punjab and Sindh. The United States protested against Indian military action and even sponsored resolutions in the U.N. Security Council against India. However, these were vetoed by the Soviet Union. In a show of support to Pakistan, the United States also tried to rattle India by deploying their aircraft carrier, USS Enterprise, into the Bay of Bengal. Though this caused some anxiety in India, the counter posturing by the Soviet Union helped to defuse the tension for India. The key lessons for India from the war of 1971 were, firstly, that the United Nations did not support India on the merits of its case and, secondly, the international community responded to the crisis in accordance with their own perceived interests in the situation.36

India and the Indian Ocean For several millennia, the states of the Indian Ocean rim were bound ­together by trade, religion, culture, and shared traditions, helped by the seasonal monsoon winds.37 India played a central role, thus uniquely giving the ocean its name. This is significant because there is no notable evidence to suggest that the Indian Ocean was ever known by any other name. The arrival of the European powers heralded by Vasco Da Gama’s landing at Calicut in South India in 1498 was a seminal event, and the colonial rule epoch that ran for the next five centuries fractured the cohesive nature of the region. In the twenty-first century, the region appears to be re-­inventing itself as a distinct geographical identity with India once again playing a ­c entral role. More than 60 years ago, G.M. Panikkar, widely regarded as one of ­India’s first and foremost maritime thinkers, argued that “since India’s future was dependent on the Indian Ocean, then the Indian Ocean must therefore remain truly Indian.”38 This appears to have greatly influenced India’s approach towards the Indian Ocean during the following decades ­post-­independence, by which time India had acquired significant naval c­ apacity, and in the late 1960s, India tried to assert its regional leadership by opposing the presence of extra-regional powers. Around 1967, in the wake of the withdrawal of the Royal Navy from East of Suez and the entry of Soviet warships into the Indian Ocean for the first time in 1968, closely followed by the leasing of the island of Diego Garcia by the British to the United States in 1970 for use as an Indian Ocean naval base, India actively started opposing the presence of extra-regional powers in the Indian Ocean.39 In December 1971, India engineered the passage of a U.N. General ­Assembly resolution for declaring the Indian Ocean as a Zone of Peace and

38  India’s foreign policy “halting further escalation and expansion of military presence in the Indian Ocean.”40 At roughly the same time, in November 1971, ASEAN adopted a declaration, making Southeast Asia a “Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality, free from any form or manner of interference by outside Powers.”41 Manifestly, both proposals sought to keep the region clear of superpower rivalry, though some states such as Australia actually viewed American presence in the region as beneficial.42 The U.N. General Assembly set up a 44-member ad hoc committee to examine the proposals for declaring the Indian Ocean as a Zone of Peace and its implementation. China initially supported India’s position; however, as noted by a leading Chinese journal, by 1989, China grew apprehensive of India’s strengthening position in the Indian Ocean, which it perceived to be far in excess of its defence requirements and part of a larger plan to establish India as a “global military power.”43 Considering the opposition to the proposals by the United States, the United Kingdom, and France, the U.N. committee failed to reach any consensus, and the end of the Cold War in 1990 effectively ended the concept. However, India seems to remain firm on keeping the region free from foreign powers, and during the 2014 Galle Dialogue in Sri Lanka, the Indian national security adviser, evoking the U.N. General Assembly resolution of 1971 for declaring the Indian Ocean as a Zone of Peace, called upon the “great powers not to allow escalation and expansion of military presence in the Indian Ocean.”44 India’s relations with neighbouring states In May 1974, India successfully conducted its first underground nuclear explosion in Pokhran in the state of Rajasthan. Subsequently, India rejected the NPT on grounds that it was discriminatory. The Pokhran nuclear tests invited widespread international criticism, and a series of sanctions were imposed upon India with an adverse impact on India’s economy and technological development.45 These developments, coupled with the imposition of “Emergency” imposed by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, from 1975 to 1977, saw India become isolated internationally. Meanwhile, India’s relations with the neighbouring states of Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka during the late 1970s turned difficult, with the small South Asian states viewing India as an uncompromising dominant regional state.46 Against this backdrop, the President of Bangladesh General Zia-ur-Rehman proposed the creation of a South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) consisting of India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, the Maldives, and Sri Lanka. India reluctantly joined this regional group in 1985. Subsequently, from 1991, India’s relations with all the SAARC countries except Pakistan started to improve, albeit marginally, helped by the “Gujral Doctrine” which was based on unilateral goodwill and generosity with all neighbours.47 From 1980 onwards, India started asserting a broad security role in the Indian Ocean and initiated close security ties with the littoral states,

India’s foreign policy  39 including Mauritius, Madagascar, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, and the Seychelles.48 In 1982, India attempted to intervene in Mauritius, in support of then Prime Minister Anerood Jugnauth (an Indian-origin British-educated barrister) who was under threat of a coup by his deputy, Paul Berenger, the finance minister of French descent. Evidently, the Hindu political leaders feared that Paul Berenger would overthrow the Hindu prime minister to establish a dictatorship favouring the Franco-Mauritian minority.49 This raised concerns in New Delhi about the possibility of Mauritius, with over 70 per cent of its population of Indian origin, slipping out of India’s sphere of influence. Consequently, in response to a call for support – in case of an imminent coup – from Jugnauth, the Indian Prime Minister Indira G ­ andhi ordered the deployment of an Indian expeditionary force of two army battalions to Mauritius. The Indian Navy, in an operation codenamed Lal Dora, was standing by for further orders when the planned intervention was called off, apparently due to operational concerns expressed by the Indian Army.50 Meanwhile in Mauritius, news of India’s support to Jugnauth had spread, and in the fresh elections that were called in 1983, Jugnauth managed to strengthen his position and win the elections with tacit support from India, defeating Berenger. From 1984 onwards, India became increasingly involved in the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka between the indigenous Sinhalese majority population and the minority Indian-origin Tamils represented by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The conflict in Sri Lanka resulted in a huge influx of Tamil refugees into the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, drawing a wave of public sympathy for the Tamil refugees and support from the ethnic Tamil regional parties. During this period, the Sri Lankan government was also engaged in discussions with the United States, Pakistan, and Israel over a possible military role in Sri Lanka. India’s strategic interests in Sri Lanka were largely driven by a desire to keep foreign powers out of the region and also seek democratic rights for the large Tamil minority. Following several months of hectic diplomatic discussions between New Delhi and Colombo, Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Sri Lankan President Jayawardene signed the Indo-Sri Lanka peace accord in July 1987. India also insisted that Sri Lanka make a commitment to prevent any foreign military power from using its ports and facilities. In return, India provided the Indian Peacekeeping Force (IPKF) in Sri Lanka to oversee a peaceful referendum for the merger of the northern and eastern provinces in Sri Lanka. However, the IPKF was largely unsuccessful in its mission and failed to prevent the LTTE and the Sri Lankan forces from engaging in a bloody war.51 The failure of the IPKF to effectively defeat the Tamil separatist group, LTTE, was viewed as a failure of India’s foreign policy and much criticised as an attempt to impose Indian hegemony in South Asia.52 In 1986, India covertly intervened in the Seychelles to prevent a coup against the Seychelles President Albert Rene. In June 1986, when news of an impending coup was received in India, an Indian naval ship was dispatched

40  India’s foreign policy to enter the Seychelles in a show of force.53 Evidently, the ­presence of the Indian naval ship averted the coup.54 India also played an active role in ­November 1988 in a swift and successful tri-services joint operation ­codenamed Operation Cactus, overturning a coup by a group of more than 80 mercenaries from a Sri Lankan Tamil insurgent group, the People’s ­Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE), against the Maldivian President Abdul Gayoom.55 In hindsight, during the 1980s, India could have leveraged its military intervention and political sway over the smaller Indian Ocean island states to establish a naval presence in some of island states. However, evidently, as a result of initial pacifist influences in the foreign policy, such options were not even considered, and India chose to exercise benign leadership over ­coercive diplomacy. This experience seen in the context of current Sino-­ Indian competition in the Indian Ocean region suggests that India squandered significant maritime influence in the past. With the end of the Cold War in 1990, the balance of power shifted dramatically, completely altering the international environment. India also had to alter its foreign policy along the new reference points of the post–Cold War era. The immediate challenge for India was to prepare for the looming drift in economic and defence cooperation with the Soviet Union.56 ­Under the leadership of Narasimha Rao, India initiated intense interaction with existing and emerging centres of influence, the United States, Western E ­ urope, Japan, and the ASEAN states. These interactions were in addition to those with Russia and China, with whom India already had well-­established close relations. Relations with Southeast Asia: India has had deep civilisational linkages with Southeast Asian states spanning over a millennium. These relations were disrupted only after the arrival of the Europeans in the region in 1498.57 Following India’s independence, there were attempts by the Indian government to participate in the decolonisation process in Southeast Asia, starting with Indonesia and Myanmar, later Malaysia and Vietnam.58 However, as mentioned earlier in this chapter, the evolving Cold War dynamics and India’s stand of non-alignment ensured that relations between India and the Southeast Asian region remained “patchy.”59 Following the end of the Cold War, India found itself marginalised in both political and economic terms, and on the verge of financial collapse.60 During this period, the ASEAN states had created an economic marvel by opening up to each other, to Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and China, setting aside historical baggage, thus leading to an economic transformation in the region.61 In 1992, Prime Minister Rao announced India’s revamped policy for ­engagement with its Eastern neighbours as the Look East policy. Initially, the key drivers for India’s Look East policy were economics and strategic engagement with ASEAN.62 As immediate neighbours and successful model economies, it was but natural for India to look towards Southeast Asia for economic interactions.63 To quote the late J.N. Dixit, who was foreign secretary during the initial phase of India’s Look East policy: “The

India’s foreign policy  41 economic involvement of important industrialized countries of the West and Japan with ASEAN countries makes it a catalyst through which India can have access to investment and technologies.”64 India’s initial experience with ASEAN countries showed that it was an important and growing area for Indian investment, joint ventures, and trade promotion. The security aspect of India’s relationship with the region gained focus only after India’s nuclear tests in 1998.65 Whilst the ASEAN states were officially critical of India’s nuclear tests, some of them drew comfort from the fact that India could potentially balance China, the other Asian nuclear power.66 Moreover, following India’s announcement of the Look East policy, the Southeast Asian countries, encouraged by India’s economic reforms, also took note of the vast market potential on offer. This is evident from their readiness to offer India the status of full dialogue partner with ASEAN.67 Consequently, India’s relations with the ASEAN states grew manifold since the early 1990s and by 2002, India was elevated to the status of an ASEAN summit partner, at par with China, Japan, and South Korea. In 2009, India signed a free trade agreement (FTA) with ASEAN. This led to an immediate jump in India’s trade with the region. The pre-FTA India-ASEAN trade amounting to $41.8 billion in 2009 rose to $55.4 billion in 2010 post-FTA.68 By 2013, the total trade had expanded to $75 billion. Currently, nearly half of India’s trade transits the Strait of Malacca and the Singapore Strait,69 both regions vulnerable to armed attacks on ships including potential terrorist attacks. Consequently, the protection of trade and economic interests is a key driver for India’s maritime cooperation initiatives with the regional states. Presently, India is regarded as a full-fledged strategic partner in the region with 26 dialogue mechanisms. India now interacts with the grouping in most of its activities, including trade and investment, security and defence, countering piracy and armed robbery against ships, science and technology, environment, education, and culture and tourism.70 The end of the Cold War and the common geopolitical experiences also seem to have engendered a sense of common identity amongst all the ­Indian Ocean states. This appears to have “rekindled an awareness of the ­c enturies-old littoral economic, social and cultural community that exists all along the shores of the Indian Ocean.”71 Thus, the post–Cold War period saw the formation of the first pan-Indian Ocean organisation known as the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC), in March 1997. This is discussed in detail later in this book. Recent developments In 2014, the BJP-led government under the leadership of Narendra Modi swept into power with a clear majority. Prime Minister Modi is the first ever prime minister to be born in independent India and widely regarded as a pragmatic leader and a man of action, with economics being central to his thinking.72 Modi was the first to invite leaders from neighbouring states

42  India’s foreign policy for his swearing-in and the first to host a U.S. president (Obama) for the Republic Day parade. A second meeting between Modi and Obama within a span of four months was unprecedented and a reflection of the growing importance of India as a strategic partner to the United States. The joint U.S.-India statement issued following Obama’s visit underscored India’s role as “indispensable” in maintaining peace and stability across the Indo-­ Pacific.73 Modi believes that a strategic partnership with the United Sates is critical for transforming India’s economy and international standing.74 ­Salient bilateral agreements signed between India and the United States ­include civil nuclear cooperation, climate change, and defence cooperation. The foremost priority of Modi’s government was to re-energise India’s ­foreign policy by moving from rhetoric to action. For instance, the Look East policy has now been renamed as the “Act East” policy. National vision for maritime cooperation A national vision of India becoming the “net provider of security” in the Indian Ocean region was initially announced by the Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, in 2013, whilst laying the foundation stone of India’s National Defence University at Gurgaon, near New Delhi. He stated, Our defence cooperation has grown and today we have unprecedented access to high technology, capital and partnerships. We have also sought to assume our responsibility for stability in the Indian Ocean Region. We are well positioned, therefore, to become a net provider of security in our immediate region and beyond.75 Following on from the above announcement, in March 2015, Prime Minister Modi, during his three island nations trip to Mauritius, Seychelles, and Sri Lanka, whilst commissioning the Indian made offshore patrol vessel MCGS Barracuda in Mauritius, announced India’s maritime strategic vision or direction for the Indian Ocean region.76 He stated, We seek a future for Indian Ocean that lives up to the name of SAGAR [a Hindi word meaning Ocean] — Security and Growth for All in the Region…Our goal is to seek a climate of trust and transparency; respect for international maritime rules and norms by all countries; sensitivity to each other’s interests; peaceful resolution of maritime security issues; and increase in maritime cooperation.77 Modi further outlined a five-point policy framework as follows: •

India will do everything to secure its mainland and island territories and other maritime interests also ensure security, safety and, stability across the Indian Ocean for all regional states.

India’s foreign policy  43 • • •



India will seek to enhance economic and security cooperation with all friendly littoral states and its maritime neighbours. India will foster collective action and cooperation to promote peace and security in the region. India will promote overall development of the blue economy thorough greater collaboration in trade, tourism and investment, infrastructure development, marine science and technology, sustainable fisheries, and protection of the marine environment. India recognises that whilst the Indian Ocean littoral states have the primary responsibility for peace, stability, and prosperity in the ­Indian Ocean, it also acknowledges that extra-regional powers too have ­interests in the region. India will seek to engage with them through the mechanism of dialogue, visits, exercises, capacity building, and ­economic partnership.78

This five-point framework expands on the earlier declaration by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, by adding an economic dimension to security through the promotion of a blue economy that seeks to enhance economic cooperation between India and the Indian Ocean regional states. This framework could be regarded as the first clear articulation of India’s national objectives to guide the national maritime strategy for the Indian Navy. Whilst the Indian Navy could be credited for having introduced several bold initiatives to foster maritime cooperation in the Indian Ocean region much before the government articulated its vision, a concerted whole-of-government focus to promote relations with several Indian Ocean states had been lacking. Evidently, the Indian political leaders of the twentieth century demonstrated a continentalist mindset. As a result of this anomaly in the Indian polity, diplomatically, this led to a general neglect of the Indian Ocean region for over 25 years.79 Significantly, the visit of Prime Minister Modi to the three Indian Ocean island states in March 2015 was the first visit by an Indian prime minister to the Seychelles in 34 years and to Sri Lanka in 28 years.80 This visit has, therefore, been hailed by the media as “the beginning of the end of [India’s] self-inflicted strategic myopia” in the Indian Ocean region.81 In June 2018, whilst delivering his keynote address at the Shangri La Dialogue, Prime Minister Modi championed India’s worldview and defined India’s maritime vision for the Indo-Pacific region. He stated that India seeks a strong multipolar rules-based global order, a declaration that he has often repeated at other fora, such as the BRICS, G20, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Modi then affirmed India’s vision for the Indo-Pacific as a “free, open, and inclusive” region, not “directed against any country,” with “Southeast Asia at its center,” and a space that requires a “common rules-based order” that respects “sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as equality of all nations.”82 He highlighted India’s strategic interests and economic and defence engagements with the Indo-Pacific states underscoring the point that India’s relations were based on mutual trust and

44  India’s foreign policy inclusivity (founded on rich historical and cultural ties) and “­ absolute commitment to international law.” In contrast to the above position, China’s vision for engagement with the Indian Ocean region states appears divergent. As a large economic power, China via its belt and road initiative (BRI) has adopted a mercantilist ­approach to engage with the regional states putting itself at the centre of a network of trade and economic linkages. Thus, the main challenge for ­India’s foreign policy would be to promote the country’s position in the region in the face of increasing Chinese economic influence. Project Mausum is one such Indian initiative launched in June 2014, aimed at re-establishing India’s ancient maritime routes with its ancient trade partners within the Indian Ocean.83 Whilst the aim of Project Mausum is to link the historic coastal sites of the region and reinvigorate the historic and cultural linkages that bound India to the Indian Ocean,84 the five-point framework announced by Modi seeks to foster close security ties with the Indian Ocean littoral states to maintain a favourable environment. In an attempt to counter growing Chinese economic influence in the region, India has also sought to enhance its strategic and economic engagements with key regional states with support from Japan and the United States. However, given the large disparity in the GDPs of India and China, the current scale of India’s economic engagements is woefully short of ­Chinese investments. It is, therefore, envisaged that the Sino-India contestation in the Indian Ocean region will hinge on the accommodation by regional countries of China’s economic heft or, alternatively, the development of a viable strategic partnership with India, Japan, and the United States to provide substitute partnership options for the region. As a status quo power, the broad objectives of India’s foreign policy have been to work towards a stable multipolar rules-based world order and a peaceful neighbourhood to ensure overall economic development, territorial integrity, and allow India to retain its strategic autonomy to take decisions without the pressure of foreign influence.85 These objectives have remained the guiding principles for all subsequent governments in the post– Cold War period since 1990 with no major changes. The Modi government has sought to revitalise India’s bilateral relations with the United States, Japan, ­Australia, and the EU with a view to improve economic prospects for the country and promote defence cooperation. In the Indian Ocean, specifically, the government is actively seeking to assert India’s position as the net security provider for the smaller littoral states, and consequently, the Indian Navy is expected to play a crucial role in the success of India’s foreign policy.

Conclusion This chapter has traced the evolution of India’s foreign policy post-­ independence up until the present period. In the past seven decades of India’s existence as an independent nation-state, its foreign policy has undergone

India’s foreign policy  45 minor changes. Whilst it is no longer guided by idealism, the guiding principles from the initial Nehruvian philosophy, the key tenets of non-alignment, and retention of strategic autonomy in the Indian Ocean region continue to shape India’s foreign policy. However, in a changing world order and a fast-evolving regional environment, the new government under Prime Minister Modi is faced with the difficult challenge of retaining strategic autonomy for India or the so-called Indian Ocean “Monroe doctrine,” in the face of growing Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean. As Chinese maritime power increasingly follows its increasing economic clout across the region, China could potentially undermine India’s bid for regional leadership. Cleary, ­India will need to shed any lingering pacifist allusions and add greater force to its diplomatic efforts to counter-balance China in the Indian Ocean.

Notes 1 C. Uday Bhaskar, “The Navy as an Instrument of Foreign Policy: The Indian Experience,” in Harsh V. Pant, ed., The Rise of the Indian Navy: Internal Vulnerabilities, External Challenges, Ashgate, Surrey, 2012, pp. 39–42. 2 Bhaskar, “The Navy as an Instrument of Foreign Policy,” p. 42. 3 Ibid. 4 Ibid., p. 342. 5 Brahma Chellaney, “The Non-Violence Myth: India’s Founding Story Bestows Upon it A Quixotic National Philosophy and Enduring Costs,” The Times of India, 4 February 2019. 6 Ibid. 7 Ibid. 8 J.N. Dixit, India’s Foreign Policy: 1947–2003, Picus Books, New Delhi, 2003, p. 19. 9 The Central Treaty Organization (CENTO). Originally known as the Middle East Treaty Organization (METO), it was formed in 1955 by Iran, Iraq, ­Pakistan, Turkey, and the United Kingdom through the Baghdad Pact. It was dissolved in 1979. 10 The Southeast Asia Treaty Organisation (SEATO) came into force in September 1954, formed by the United States, France, Great Britain, New Zealand, ­Australia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Pakistan, with the primary aim of preventing spread of communism in Southeast Asia. SEATO was disbanded in 1977. 11 The Security Treaty between Australia, New Zealand, and the United States or ANZUS came into force in April 1952 to cooperate in military matters in the Pacific region. In 1985, the United States suspended its security guarantee to New Zealand under ANZUS over a dispute over U.S. Navy nuclear ship visits. 12 Vice Admiral G.M. Hiranandini, Transition to Triumph: Indian Navy 1965–1975, Director Personnel Services, Integrated Headquarters of the Ministry of Defence (Navy), New Delhi, 2005, p. 14. 13 Dixit, India’s Foreign Policy, p. 35. 14 Thomas C. Schelling, Arms and Influence, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1966, p. 53. 15 Ibid. 16 Ibid., p. 49. 17 Government of India, Jawaharlal Nehru’s Speeches Vol. 3(1953–57), Ministry of Information & Broadcasting Publications Division, New Delhi, June 1967, p. 380. 18 David Brewster, India’s Ocean: The Story of India’s Bid for Regional Leadership, Routledge, London, 2014, p. 27.

46  India’s foreign policy 19 Ibid. 20 Shashi Tharoor, Pax Indica: India and the World of the 21st Century, Penguin Books, New Delhi, 2012, p. 131. 21 Dixit, India’s Foreign Policy, p. 80. 22 Ibid., p. 82. 23 Dixit, India’s Foreign Policy, p. 80. 24 Ibid. 25 Hiranandini, Transition to Triumph, pp. 9–16. 26 Ibid., p. 17. 27 Dixit, India’s Foreign Policy, p. 93. 28 Ibid. 29 Tharoor, Pax Indica, p. 168. 30 The Organisation of Islamic States (OIC) was founded in 1969 to collectively represent the Muslim world. 31 Ibid., p. 94. 32 “India Invited as Guest of Honour for 1st Time Ever by Oic; Delhi’s Big Pitch in Islamic World,” The Economic Times, 23 February 2019. 33 Dixit, India’s Foreign Policy, p. 103. 34 Raghavendra Mishra, “Revisiting the 1971 USS Enterprise Incident: Rhetoric, Reality and Pointers for the Contemporary Era,” Journal of Defence Studies, Vol. 9, No. 2, April–June 2015, pp. 49–80. 35 Government of India, Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation Between the Government of India and the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, 9 August 1971, available at http://mea.gov.in/bilateral-documents.­ htm?dtl/5139/Treaty+of+.html. 36 Ibid., p. 109. 37 Robert D. Kaplan, Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power, Random House, New York, 2011, pp. 1–3. 38 Dennis Rumley, Timothy Doyle and Sanjay Chaturvedi, “Securing the Indian Ocean? Competing Regional Security Constructions”, Journal of the Indian Ocean Region, Vol. 8, No. 1, June 2012, p. 11. 39 John W. Garver, Protracted Contest: Sino-Indian Rivalry in the Twentieth Century, University of Washington Press, Washington, DC, December 2011, p. 277. 40 Ibid. 41 “1971 Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality Declaration,” Adopted by the ­Foreign Ministers at the Special ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 27 November 1971, available at http://www.aseansec.org/1215. html. 42 Leighton Luke, “United in Disunity/ Pan-regional Organisation in the Indian Ocean Region,” Future Directions International, Strategic Analysis Paper, 30 April 2010, p. 6. 43 Min Zhu, “Yindu de junli he zhanliie mubiao” (India’s military strength and strategic objectives), Shije Zinshi (World Knowledge), No.9, May 1989, cited in Garver, Protracted Contest, p. 279. 44 “Indian Ocean has to Remain a Zone of Peace: Ajit Doval,” The Hindu, 1 ­December 2014. 45 Dixit, India’s Foreign Policy, pp. 117–118. 46 Ibid., pp. 120–121. 47 Ibid., pp. 222–227. 48 D. Brewster and R. Rai, “Flowers Are Blooming: The Story of the India Navy’s Secret Operation in the Seychelles,” The Naval Review, Vol. 99, No.1, 2011, pp. 58–62. 49 Brewster, India’s Ocean, p. 71.

India’s foreign policy  47 50 Ibid., p. 73. 51 M.R. Narayan Swamy, India-Sri Lanka Accord: Does It Still Flicker? Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies Issue Brief No. 50, New Delhi, August 2007, p. 3. 52 Dixit, India’s Foreign Policy, p. 159. 53 Brewster and Rai, “Flowers are Blooming,” p. 61. 54 Ibid. 55 General V.P. Malik, Operation Cactus: Drama in the Maldives, Harper Collins, New Delhi, 2013, pp. 10–22. 56 Brewster and Rai, “Flowers are Blooming,” pp. 58–62. 57 Vasco Do Gama landed at Calicut in India in May 1498. 58 Ranjit Gupta, “India’s Look East Policy,” in Atish Sinha and Madhup Mohta, eds., Indian Foreign Policy, Academic Foundation, New Delhi, 2007, p. 354. 59 Ibid. 60 Gupta, “India’s Look East Policy,” p. 358. 61 Ibid. 62 Ibid., pp. 357–359. 63 Baladas Ghoshal, China’s Perception of ‘Look East Policy’ and Its Implications, Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses Monograph Series, No. 26, New Delhi, October 2013, pp. 26. 64 J.N. Dixit, Indian Foreign Policy and its Neighbours, Gyan Publishing House, New Delhi, 2001, p. 340. 65 Ghoshal, China’s Perception of ‘Look East Policy’, pp. 28–30. 66 Ibid. 67 Ibid. 68 Government of India, Annual Report 2014–15, Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi, 2015, p. vii. 69 Ibid. 70 Avatar Singh Bhasin, India’s Foreign Relations: 2012 Documents, Geetika ­P ublishers, New Delhi, 2013, p. xi. 71 Indian Ocean Rim Association, “Background,” May 2016, available at http:// www.iora.net/about-us/background.aspx.html. 72 Prakash Nanda, Indian Foreign Policy under Modi, Australia India Institute ­Occasional Papers, Melbourne, 2014, p. 11. 73 Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs, “US-India Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia Pacific and the Indian Ocean Region,” 25 January 2015, available at: http://mea.gov.in/incoming-visit-detail.htm?24728/USIndia+Joint+ Strategic+Vision+for+the+AsiaPacific+and+Indian+Ocean+Region.html. 74 C. Raja Mohan, “Modi Discarding Political Scepticism about America is about to Pay Off,” The Indian Express, 19 March 2015. 75 “India Well Positioned to Become a Net Provider of Security: Manmohan Singh,” The Hindu, 23 May 2013. 76 Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs, “Prime Minister’s Remarks at the Commissioning of Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) Barracuda in Mauritius,” March 2015, available at http://mea.gov.in/outoging-visit-detail.htm?24912/Prime +Ministers+Remarks+at+the+Commissioning+of+Offshore+­Patrol+Vessel +OPV+Barracuda+in+Mauritius+March+12+2015.html. 77 “Mr. Modi’s Ocean View,” The Hindu, 17 March 2015. 78 Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs, “Prime Minister’s Remarks at the Commissioning of Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) Barracuda in Mauritius,” March 2015, available at http://mea.gov.in/outoging-visit-detail.htm?24912/Prime +­Ministers+Remarks+at+the+Commissioning+of+Offshore+Patrol+Vessel+OPV +Barracuda+in+Mauritius+March+12+2015.html.

48  India’s foreign policy 79 Brahma Chellaney, “India Needs to Build Sufficient Naval Prowess in Indian Ocean,” The Hindustan Times, 12 March 2015. 80 Ibid. 81 C. Uday Bhaskar, “Modi’s Indian Ocean Diplomacy,” South Asia Monitor, 17 March 2015. 82 Alyssa Ayres, “A Few Thoughts on Narendra Modi’s Shangri-La Dialogue Speech,” Council on Foreign Relations, 1 June 2018, available at https://www.cfr. org/blog/few-thoughts-narendra-modis-shangri-la-dialogue-speech.html. 83 “Linking Silk Road to Mausam Project may Benefit India, China: Report,” The Economic Times, 26 March 2015. 84 “Mausam to Link 10 Gujarat Sites to Indian Ocean World,” The Times of India, 24 July 2014. 85 Nanda, Indian Foreign Policy under Modi, p. 7.

3 India’s maritime strategy

Genesis of the Indian Navy This chapter provides an account of the growth of the Indian Navy since 1947, including an examination of the government’s experience in the ­employment of maritime power as an instrument of state policy. This is followed by a study of the evolution of India’s maritime strategy in the twenty-first c­ entury. Next, it discusses the context for maritime security cooperation by navies and examines the concept of leveraging maritime cooperation as a strategy to meet emerging maritime security threats. It also examines the various types and levels of maritime cooperation, and the drivers and impediments in using it as a strategy. In the end, it provides a framework for analysis and assessment of the various levels of cooperation that could be used to determine levels of bilateral security relations between states. Prior to gaining independence, the maritime defence of India was a key responsibility of the Royal Navy. Accordingly, the British maintained a fleet at Trincomalee in Ceylon, a fleet at Singapore, and a squadron at Bahrain. The Royal Indian Navy (RIN), comprising mainly five sloops and a few minor vessels based at Bombay, was primarily responsible for the coastal defence of India.1 The RIN in August 1947, at the time of independence, comprised of four sloops, two frigates, and over a motley collection of about 25 smaller craft including 12 coastal minesweepers, a survey ship, and other boats and launches.2 Post-independence, the initial outline plan for the development of the navy approved by the government in 1947 recommended a force level of two aircraft carriers, eight destroyers, four submarines, and other small vessels to be built or acquired in ten years. The plan envisaged the following roles for the navy: safeguard Indian shipping, ensure that supplies could reach and leave by sea in all circumstances, prevent an enemy landing on India’s shores, and support the army in seaborne operations.3 It was expected that Britain would assist India in achieving the intended force levels. However, the lack of support from the Admiralty, except in areas of personnel training, led to a scaling down of requirements. Subsequently, India’s non-aligned foreign policy and the fact that, in 1956, Pakistan had joined both SEATO and CENTO, resulted in substantial naval assistance flowing

50  India’s maritime strategy to Pakistan from the United States. Consequently, in order to maintain parity with the Pakistan Navy, the Indian Navy shelved its plans for submarine acquisition and focused on building up its inventory of ships.4 The navy thus postponed the decommissioning of its old ships, ­ordered eight new frigates from Britain, and also purchased the Royal Navy’s a­ ircraft ­carrier, HMS Hercules (commissioned as INS Vikrant) in 1956.5 Soviet assistance Following the 1962 Chinese attack on India and the resulting debacle, an extensive review of India’s defence preparedness was carried out. The ­expansion and modernisation of the armed forces was accorded priority, and the navy was presented with an opportunity to formulate its requirements anew. The fresh requirements of the three services were included in a five-year “Defence Plan 1964–69” and India sought assistance for its acquisition plans from the United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union. Whilst the Americans and the British did not envisage any threat to India from the Chinese navy, the Soviets were willing to meet the navy’s requirements. ­According to a former Chief of the Indian Navy, Admiral Chatterji, … Moscow’s geo-strategic analysis of Southeast Asia welcomed a ­powerful Indian Navy that would associate and cooperate with the ­Soviet Navy to contain China in the region. Whatever may be the ­reasons for the Soviet Union’s prompt and positive responses to Indian Naval requirements; it was certainly very helpful and timely in making up the various deficiencies in the Indian Fleet.6 By 1965, the navy realised that its requirements for ships and submarines could only be met by the Soviet Union. Thus, Britain’s inability to support India after the 1962 war with China effectively turned India to the Soviet Union. However, as a result of India’s non-aligned policy during the Cold War, India was successful in retaining its naval connections with Britain. In 1964, India in collaboration with Britain commenced joint construction of Leander-class frigates in Mazagon Docks in Bombay.7 During this period, the Indian Navy was also able to benefit from training assistance provided by the Royal Navy, access allied naval tactical publications, and until 1964, even participate in the annual Joint Exercise at Trincomalee (JET) with the British Far East Fleet and other Commonwealth navies, including those of Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Ceylon, and Malaya.8 The period from 1969 to 1971 saw rapid development of Indo-Soviet ­naval ties. During this period, the Indian Navy received four Foxtrot-class ­submarines, a submarine depot ship, and eight newly developed missile boats from the Soviet Union.9 The missile boats were successfully employed by the Indian Navy in an audacious attack on Karachi during the 1971 war with Pakistan.10 The Soviet veto action the United States, coupled with materiel

India’s maritime strategy  51 support during the war, firmly established Indo-Soviet friendship and paved the way for larger strategic acquisitions from the Soviet Union. The period from 1976 to 1983 saw the induction of Soviet-guided missile destroyers, ­anti-submarine corvettes, minesweepers, maritime reconnaissance/­antisubmarine warfare aircraft, and anti-submarine warfare helicopters.11 In addition to the Soviet acquisitions, India continued to induct hardware and technology from the West. The Indian Navy received its second aircraft carrier, HMS Hermes (commissioned as INS Viraat), from the Royal Navy in 1987. The period from 1976 to 1990 also saw rapid advancements in indigenous shipbuilding capacity as well as naval research and development. These developments led to bold and innovative improvisations of both Soviet and Western origin systems onboard Indian manufactured hulls. During this period, the Indian Navy participated in two significant naval operations. These included Operation Pawan from 1987 to 1990 to provide ­support to the IPKF in Sri Lanka, and Operation Cactus in 1989, successfully thwarting an attempt to overthrow the Maldivian President Gayoom. As a result of these developments, the Indian Navy gained international recognition as an emerging power and, in April 1989, the cover of Time ­magazine carried a picture of the indigenously built frigate INS Godavari, captioned “Superpower India.”12 Notwithstanding the successes of this ­period, the naval acquisitions proceeded without a clear strategy, and the Indian Navy of the 1980s was a motley collection of naval platforms, weapons, and sensors from multiple sources. Admiral Arun Prakash, ­former Chief of the Indian Navy, recollects In the mid 1980s, I recall reading with great indignation, a statement by the editor of Jane’s Fighting Ships in one of his yearbooks, which said something to this effect… the Indian Navy is probably one of the few major navies which first acquire hardware and then thinks about how to use it.13 Developments in the post–Cold War period Following the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Indian Navy was beset with problems such as supplies of spares and munitions to maintain its large inventory of Soviet-origin platforms, weapons and sensors. The 1990s were a difficult period as it also coincided with a downturn in India’s economy. However, by the mid-1990s, following the signing of both the 20-year Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation and the Bilateral Defence Cooperation Agreement with Russia, India was successful in restructuring its defence imports from Russia, as well as Ukraine, where several critical former Soviet manufacturing industries were located.14 The key lessons of this period for India were to diversify its procurement from alternate sources and also focus on building indigenous defence industrial capability.

52  India’s maritime strategy The end of the Cold War led to a recalibration of India’s foreign policy, followed by the announcement of the Look East policy. Accordingly, from 1991, the Indian Navy focused on engagements with Southeast Asian and other Indian Ocean navies and also commenced bilateral naval exercises with the U.S. Navy, the Royal Navy, the Royal Australian Navy, and the French Navy. In 1995, India held the first multinational naval exercise, ­Milan, at Port Blair, hosted exclusively for Southeast Asian navies.15 One of the aims of these exercises was to quell the apprehensions about India’s aspirations for power amongst regional littoral states fuelled by the rapid expansion programmes of the 1980s.16 Since the late 1990s to the present, the Indian Navy has expanded considerably, consistent with India’s rising economic and political profile.17 During this period, the naval share of the defence budget also increased from a meagre 11.5 per cent in 1991–92 to 19 per cent in 2012–13.18 Several important acquisitions were made during this period. Presently, under the 2018–19 defence budget, the naval share is 15 per cent.19 From 1995 to 2010, important inductions into the Indian Navy included three indigenously built Delhi-class destroyers, three Bhrahmaputra-class frigates, seven Kora / Khukri-class corvettes, four Magar-class Landing Ships (LSTs), and one Aditya-class tanker. Key acquisitions from Russia during this period included two additional Kilo-class submarines and three Talwar-class frigates whilst one landing ship (LPD), INS Jalahswa (formerly USN Trenton), was acquired from the U.S. Navy under a “hot transfer”.20 In 2010, about 40 new ships and submarines were on order.21 By 2016, a majority of the planned inductions of major combatants were completed barring a few platforms, including one aircraft carrier which is likely to be commissioned by 2020. Another leap in acquisitions is currently underway with additional 40 ships and submarines under construction, all in Indian shipyards, a testimony to India’s indigenisation efforts to move from being a “buyer’s navy” to a “builder’s navy.”22 As part of India’s nuclear weapon policy to develop a “triad” of land-, sea-, and air-based nuclear delivery systems, the Indian Navy inducted its first indigenously built nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN), the Arihant, in 2009, commissioned in 2013. It later also inducted on lease from Russia the Chakra-class nuclear submarine (SSN) in 2012.23 A replacement submarine for the Chakra has been contracted from 2025 onwards.24 Two additional SSBNs and six SSNs were approved for acquisition by the government in 2015.25 Presently, India has about 132 ships, including includes around 50 major combatants (including one aircraft carrier), 220 aircraft, and 15 submarines. However, according to the latest maritime capability perspective plan, the navy is aiming to become a 200-ship force by 2027, including three carrier task forces, 500 aircraft, and 24 submarines including six nuclear submarines.26 Largest Naval Base in Indian Ocean: In September 2015, the Indian Navy commissioned a new Indian naval air station, INS Vajrakosh, at Karwar. The air station, together with a 2013 commissioned naval establishment INS

India’s maritime strategy  53 Kadamba, completes the setting up of the largest naval base east of Suez, spread over 1,000 acres.27 Karwar will be the home of the Western Fleet, comprising aircraft carriers, submarines, and major surface combatants. This is a key strategic development that seems to have escaped the attention of most commentators. The base was conceived in 1985 to cater for the future growth of the navy and to relocate the fleet outside the range of Pakistani fighters, a requirement now redundant with the introduction of mid-air refuelers. Whilst the new base serves to provide the navy with ample room to operate freely, away from the congested harbour in Mumbai, strategically it makes little difference to support India’s maritime balance of power vis-à-vis China in the Indian Ocean.

Evolution of India’s maritime doctrine and strategy The application of maritime power as an instrument of national policy stems from a nuanced understanding of its various facets by the political class. As discussed in the previous chapter, India’s political leadership, long afflicted by the malady of sea blindness, seemed unacquainted with maritime power. However, a part of the blame for a general neglect of India’s maritime status in the twentieth century can also be apportioned to the navy, for during this period, it did little to educate or inform the public and policy makers about the significance and employment of maritime power. For example, in 1990, during the First Gulf War, India evacuated over 176,000 Indian nationals from the region in over 500 flights by India’s national carrier, Air India, an operation that surpassed even the Berlin Airlift and is remembered by Indians as the biggest ever air evacuation in history, and that this came shortly before a severe balance of payments crisis.28 The navy could well have been deployed to conduct the evacuation as they did many years later in 2006 during the Israel Hezbollah conflict in Lebanon when ships from the Western Fleet, in an operation codenamed Sukoon, successfully evacuated almost 2,000 civilians, mostly Indians, but also Sri Lankans, ­Nepalese, Greeks, and Lebanese.29 More recently, in April 2015, the Indian Navy evacuated hundreds of India workers and foreigners from Yemen under an operation codenamed Rahaat.30 Evidently in 1990, the civilian bureaucrats in the Ministry of Defence were oblivious that naval power could be employed for such crises nor did the navy advise them on this. Beginning from 1995, following the success of the first multinational naval exercise Milan conducted by the Indian Navy at Port Blair, there was a growing realisation of the significance of sea power amongst Indian policy makers. Subsequent naval operations including Operation Sagittarius in 2002, in which Indian Navy ships escorted high-value U.S. Navy ships through the Strait of Malacca following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and Indian naval security patrols off Mozambique during the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) summit in 2003, helped drive home the point that the Indian Navy could play an instrumental role in furthering India’s national interests

54  India’s maritime strategy in the region. Another significant development in this period was the recapture of the hijacked Japanese ship, Alondra Rainbow, in a joint operation involving the Indian Navy and Coast Guard in 1999. This maritime incident alone helped in the resumption of diplomatic relations between India and Japan, which had reached their lowest ebb in 1998 after India’s Pokhran II nuclear tests. All these developments helped to significantly raise the profile of the navy.31 Around 2003–4, much needed institutional changes within the navy such as the setting up of dedicated directorates for Foreign Cooperation as well as Strategy and Concepts, helped to promote international naval cooperation and craft a maritime doctrine and strategy for the Indian Navy.32 In 2004, a formal Indian Naval Doctrine was published, followed by the publication in 2007 of an unclassified version of the Indian naval strategy, The Freedom to Use the Seas: India’s Maritime Military Strategy. A revised and updated version of the Indian Naval Doctrine was published in August 2009. The main aim of the document, according to the then Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Sureesh Mehta, was to provide “greater clarity and understanding on various facets of maritime military power, to our own people in particular and the world community, at large.”33 The setting up of a maritime think tank, the National Maritime Foundation,34 in New Delhi in 2005 with support from the Indian Navy, was another step forward. The Foundation has since helped “maritime evangelists” to garner public support for the navy and favourably influence government policy. The Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 saw active participation by the I­ ndian Navy in providing humanitarian aid and support to Sri Lanka, the ­Maldives, and Indonesia within hours of the calamity. Subsequently, in 2006, as noted earlier, the Indian Navy helped in the evacuation of about 2,000 people from war-torn Lebanon. These operations and several key initiatives by the Indian Navy, including the continuing deployment of Indian naval ships on anti-piracy patrols off Somalia since 2007, bolstered India’s image in the Indian Ocean region as a significant maritime power capable of ensuring maritime safety and security in the region. In recent years, the Indian Navy has sought to consolidate its activities under a wide-ranging maritime cooperation programme with various Indian Ocean littoral states, as well as regular bilateral naval exercises in the Indian Ocean with Australia, France, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.35 Indian maritime doctrine The first attempt by the Indian Navy to formally promulgate a strategy was made in 1988 when a document titled “A Maritime Strategy for India” was published.36 After a period of 16 years with no further maritime strategic level thinking released into the public domain, the Indian Navy promulgated the Indian Maritime Doctrine in 2004. This edition served as the apex doctrine of maritime power for a period of five years. Subsequent

India’s maritime strategy  55 transformations within the navy necessitated a review of the doctrine and a revised edition incorporating the benefits of hindsight and critique was released in 2009.37 The Indian Maritime Doctrine of 2009 served as the Indian Navy’s capstone document providing the foundation for the navy’s operating, planning, organisational, and training philosophies. The doctrine is regarded as syncretic in its approach, incorporating various strands of traditional or continentalist, British, Soviet, and Monrovian schools of thought.38 In 2009, when the maritime doctrine was released, it was widely regarded as an “aspirational” doctrine rather than something that the Indian Navy could seek to achieve within its existing capability.39 Whilst this may have been true in 2009, based on the rapid growth of the Indian Navy since then, including the induction of a new aircraft carrier, a nuclear ballistic missile submarine, state-of-the-art maritime reconnaissance aircraft, and several major combatants, it is evident that the extant force levels of the Indian Navy now enable it to fulfil the entire spectrum of operations envisaged in the 2009 Indian Maritime Doctrine. In February 2016, an updated version of Indian Maritime Doctrine was released, incorporating minor changes and updates to bring it into line with the latest version of the maritime strategy document. Interestingly, the Indian Maritime Doctrine begins with a historical preview of India’s rich maritime traditions dating back over 4,000 years until the arrival of the European powers in the late fifteenth century. It goes on to describe the relative decline in India’s maritime power during the colonial period following a shift in focus to land fighting which consequently resulted in the domination of India’s trade by European powers and finally its sovereignty. These lessons of history seem to have been lost on the country’s leadership who, beset by “sea blindness,” continued to focus on a continental strategy. The new maritime doctrine seeks to drive home an important lesson from history, noting thus: The lessons of ignoring the ability to control the seas around India are thus embedded in the colonisation of India and three centuries of European, mostly British, rule. Post independence, India has attempted to regain her maritime moorings. With its rapidly increasing dependence on the seas for her economic and social well-being, it is also laying adequate emphasis on developing commensurate maritime-military power. The process may well be regarded as ‘Work in Progress’.40 The doctrine explains the conceptual framework for the employment of maritime power and describes the linkages between national aims and interests and between national security objectives and policy, which justify the use of maritime power. It also defines the spectrum of conflict, concepts, and principles of war from an Indian perspective, including a discussion on the legal aspects of warfare. It then goes on to provide an overview of India’s maritime environment and interests, and the strategic imperatives

56  India’s maritime strategy that shape the employment of maritime power. The doctrine discusses the various factors that shape the geostrategic significance of the Indian Ocean region, such as location of various choke points that control the entry and exit into the Indian Ocean, presence of raw materials and resources in the region, and resultant trade patterns, highlighting the importance of India’s geographic position atop the international shipping lanes. It provides an environmental scan of the Indian Ocean region, underscoring emerging non-traditional threats and challenges such as terrorism, piracy, and transnational crimes. Based on India’s varied maritime interests such as trade, shipping, ports, offshore exploration, mining, investments, and diaspora, the maritime doctrine defines the primary areas of interest to include the entire Indian Ocean region, whilst secondary areas include the West Pacific, West Africa, the Mediterranean Sea, and other areas of specifically based on considerations of the Indian diaspora.41 Pertinently, the 2009 doctrine did not include the Western Pacific Ocean region and other parts such as the West coast of Africa. The enlargement of the areas of interest since 2016 is a seminal development and indicative of an expansion of India’s maritime power beyond the Indian Ocean region. The Indian Maritime Doctrine includes a discussion on the application of maritime power providing a comprehensive insight into the various functions of the navy listed under military, diplomatic, constabulary, and benign roles, clearly derived from the trinity of naval roles propounded by Ken Booth in his seminal book entitled Navies and Foreign Policy, published during the Cold War.42 Booth’s trinity has been adapted into the doctrine of a number of navies and therefore continues to remain relevant even in the twenty-first century. The employment of the navy has been further structured under four headings: roles, objectives, missions, and tasks, encompassing the entire spectrum of activities that the navy could be called upon to execute. The various objectives, missions, and tasks indicated under each role are presented in Table 3.1. Each of the tasks listed in the table are linked to a specific strategy, described in the Indian maritime strategy document and reproduced herein. India’s maritime security strategy In October 2015, the Indian Navy released India’s revised maritime strategy: Ensuring Secure Seas: Indian Maritime Security Strategy.43 This document supersedes the 2007 maritime strategy: Freedom to Use the Seas-Indian Maritime Military Strategy. Read in conjunction with the maritime doctrine along with Joint Doctrine –Indian Armed Forces,44 the maritime strategy provides the framework for employment of the Indian Navy. The maritime strategy of 2007 was revised, evidently to align it with the national maritime vision of the government for India announced in 2015 to ensure “Security And Growth for All in the Region” by emerging as the net security provider for the Indian Ocean region. The revision was also

Table 3.1  Indian Navy: Roles, Objectives, Missions, and Tasksa Objectives Military Role • Deterrence against war or intervention. • Decisive military victory in case of war • Security of India’s territorial integrity, citizens and offshore assets from seaborne threat • Influence affairs on land • Safeguard India’s mercantile marine and maritime trade • Safeguard India’s national interests and maritime security

Diplomatic Role • Strengthen political relations and goodwill. • Strengthen defence relations with friendly states. • Portray credible defence posture and capability. • Influence affairs on land. • Strengthen maritime security in Indian Ocean region. • Promote regional and global stability. Constabulary Role • Coastal defence. • Security of EEZ. • Good order at sea.

Benign Role • Promote civil safety and security. • Project national soft power.

a

Missions

Tasks

• Nuclear second-strike. • Maritime domain awareness. • Sea control. • Sea denial. • Blockade. • Power projection. • Expeditionary operations. • Compellence. • Destruction. • SLOC interdiction. • SLOC protection. • Special operations. • Protection of offshore assets. • Seaward defence. • Naval coordination and guidance to shipping operations.

• • • • • • • • • • •

• Constructive maritime engagement. • Maritime assistance and support. • Presence. • Peace support operations.

• • • •

Surveillance. Maritime strike. Anti-submarine operations. Anti-surface operations. Anti-air operations. Amphibious operations. Information operations. Electronic warfare. Special operations. Mine warfare. Visit board search and seizure operations. • Harbour defence.



Overseas deployments. Flag showing/port visits. Hosting of warship visits. Technical and logistics assistance. Foreign training. Coordinated patrols. Bilateral/multilateral exercises. Non-combatant evacuation. Peace enforcement, peacemaking, peacekeeping, and peace building. Activities under IONS.

• Counter terrorism. • Counter-threats from non-state actors.

• • • • •

Counter infiltration. Patrol. Anti-piracy. Anti-poaching. Anti-trafficking.

• Humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR). • Aid to civil authorities. • Hydrography. • Search and rescue (SAR).

• Provision of relief material and supplies. • Medical assistance. • Diving assistance. • Hydrographic assistance.

• • • • •

Indian Maritime Doctrine, 2016, pp. 110–120.

58  India’s maritime strategy necessitated by changes in the type and intensity of maritime threats that required a holistic “approach to maritime security” and also to include the additional mandate for the Indian Navy, to provide for coastal and offshore maritime security as a result of the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai in 2008.45 However, in essence, many of the broad enunciations of the 2007 strategy have been retained in the revised strategy. According to the document, the aim of India’s maritime strategy is “to safeguard national maritime interests at all times.”46 The maritime security objectives flowing from that aim are to: • • • • •

Deter conflict and coercion against India. Conduct maritime military operations in a manner that enables early termination of conflict on terms favourable to India. Shape a favourable and positive maritime environment, for enhancing net security in India’s areas of maritime interest. Protect Indian coastal and offshore assets against attacks and threats emanating from or at sea. Develop requisite maritime force levels and maintain the capability for meeting India’s maritime security requirements.47

In order to meet each of the above objectives, the 2015 maritime strategy describes five broad constituent strategies: for deterrence, conflict, shaping a favourable environment, coastal security, and maritime force and capability development.48 The strategy for deterrence mandates the Indian Navy to provide deterrence at the nuclear and convention levels by “strengthening the credibility of its military capability, readiness posture and communication of intent.”49 In order to fulfil these objectives, the strategy advocates a force that is “balanced, flexible, versatile, threat-based and capability-driven, with supporting organisational structures, prepared to undertake and sustain maritime operations across the entire spectrum.”50 The strategy for conflict describes the strategy “to conduct maritime military operations in a manner that enables early termination of conflict on terms favourable to India,” in collaboration with the other services and relevant agencies. It states that although the strategy for conflict is largely in the classified domain, it is shaped in relation to the “doctrinal concepts of maritime power and operational art, viz. operational principles, enablers and actions.”51 A strategy to shape a favourable and positive environment seeks to ­enhance net security in India’s areas of maritime interest. The term “net security” is defined in the following manner: … the state of actual security available in an area, upon balancing ­prevailing threats, inherent risks and rising challenges in a maritime environment, against the ability to monitor, contain and counter all of these.52

India’s maritime strategy  59 By a logical extension of the above definition, as the intended “net security provider,” India seeks to augment the maritime capacity of regional states by “filling in” gaps rather than acting as a regional “policeman.” The key actions envisaged in order to maintain net maritime security include a wide range of maritime engagements such as frequent ship deployments, combined naval exercises, large-scale training support, and assistance in various disasters/crises. For instance, in 2018, the Indian Navy undertook 113 port calls and participated in 21 combined naval exercises.53 Clearly, the Indian maritime strategy demands a high tempo of naval operations that would need to be sustained in the long term. This raises a question on its sustainability in the long term. Following the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attacks of 2008, an added responsibility for coastal and offshore defence was entrusted to the Indian Navy. Currently, the Indian Navy is assisted by the Indian Coast Guard (ICG), State Marine Police, and other agencies for the coastal defence of India. Whilst the strategy for this new responsibility of the Indian Navy has led to a large-scale internal re-organisation, it also calls for greater engagement with India’s maritime neighbours. In the end, the maritime strategy document presents the strategy for maritime force and capability development. In order to develop the Indian Navy as a combat-ready, technology-driven and networked force, the strategy advocates an all-round balanced naval force with a focus on indigenisation and self-reliance. Each of the five strategies are linked to specific roles, objectives, missions, and tasks listed in the maritime doctrine. For instance, the strategy for deterrence includes a wide spectrum of tasks ranging from peacetime port visits and hosting of foreign naval ships in India to all-out conflict or warfare. Each task is linked to multiple objectives. For example, ships visits are linked to the strategy for deterrence as also the strategy for shaping a favourable and positive maritime environment. Ship visits (particularly by indigenously built ships) not only help to project India’s industrial and technological capacity but also portray the navy as a well-equipped and professional force; a subtle but powerful message to friends and potential foes alike. Overall, the Indian maritime strategy advocates a modern, robust, and balanced navy, capable of operating across the entire spectrum of naval operations from peacetime to total war. However, the main focus is on deterring conflict thorough a high degree of readiness, constant surveillance in and around the areas of interest, and above all, the maintenance of a favourable environment in the Indian Ocean region through a wide range of maritime cooperation activities. The new strategy retains the essence of the earlier strategic document promulgated in 2007. But Ensuring Secure Seas provides greater clarity on “what” missions the Indian Navy will undertake and “how” this will be achieved to ensure India’s maritime security, detailing missions and tasks across the military, diplomatic and constabulary roles of the navy, an important improvement over the 2007 document.

60  India’s maritime strategy References to India’s hoary maritime history – that gave the Indian Ocean its name – in the various maritime doctrinal and strategic documents clearly indicate that India is highly conscious of its rich maritime legacy and therefore keen to re-establish its former status. Evidently, extant strategic thinking seems to advocate a determined attempt for leadership in the Indian Ocean in the twenty-first century, by taking over complete responsibility for regional security. In this context, achieving a “favourable environment” in the Indian Ocean as enunciated in the maritime strategy document tacitly implies ensuring that all regional states accept India’s leadership in the ­Indian Ocean. Thus, India’s ambition to be the region’s net security provider is aimed at building trust and confidence amongst the regional states about maritime security and perhaps even to develop long-term dependency upon Indian protection. By strengthening its leadership role in the Indian Ocean, India also seeks to counterbalance a fast growing and increasingly assertive China. Thus, India’s relations with the Indian Ocean states will be a key factor in the tussle for influence in the India Ocean and here the Indian Navy is expected to play an instrumental role. Importantly, even though the United States remains the underwriter of security in the broader Indo-­ Pacific region, it sees the vastly expanded Indian Navy as a potential ally in maintaining security in the Indian Ocean region, more narrowly.

Maritime security cooperation Maritime security cooperation is a novelty of the post–Cold War period and reflective of the changing maritime security of the time. This phenomenon is evidenced from the transformations in naval doctrines and force structures, not just in India but across the Indo-Pacific region, particularly amongst the Southeast Asian navies which embarked on their modernisation programmes in the mid-1990s. There is clearly an increased focus on naval diplomatic and constabulary missions. Accordingly, regional naval transformations are focused on the induction of multi-role platforms such as various classes of amphibious ships suited for littoral operations such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) operations. Concurrent developments that point towards increased focus on non-­ military tasks and policing in the Indian Ocean region also include the establishment a new coast guard service in 2005 in Malaysia (the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency or MMEA) and the ongoing large-scale upgradation of the ICG and the Indonesian maritime security board or Bakamla. Furthermore, a marked propensity amongst the regional maritime forces for participation in multilateral maritime cooperation for a, such as the Western Pacific Naval Symposium (WPNS), the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), and the Heads of Asian Coast Guard Agencies Meeting (HACGAM), is also evident. It thus appears that given the shared perceptions of the common maritime threats prevalent in the region, and the evolving consensus amongst states to synergise and coordinate their

India’s maritime strategy  61 maritime resources to meet the emerging challenges, regional navies are willing, more than ever before, to engage in multilateral maritime cooperation. This is in contrast to the system of formal military alliances of the Cold War era, a period when the navies were largely focused on their traditional warfighting role. In September 2005, U.S. Navy Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Mike Mullen, provided a catch phrase to maritime security cooperation when he formally announced the “1,000-ship Navy” concept for all like-minded states at the 17th International Seapower Symposium at the U.S. Naval War College.54 Whilst the “1,000-ship Navy” concept did not gain global acceptance (the term has since been renamed as the “Global Maritime Partnership” initiative) as it suggested an American-led global naval initiative with other navies being subordinate to the effort, it did focus the attention of navies in the Indian Ocean to maritime security cooperation. Initially, Admiral Mullen envisaged the concept as a vision for the U.S. Navy in the twenty-first century.55 This was, evidently, an outcome of the post–Cold War thinking on the subject and an “urgent” attempt to address the emerging security challenges, including the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2011 (9/11) and the failed attack by pirates on the American cruise liner Seabourn Spirit off the coast of Somalia.56 Admiral Mullen referred to the Somali pirate attack as the crossing of a “tipping point” in global maritime security.57 In hindsight, Admiral Mullen was proved right as this event was actually followed by a wave of piracy attacks in the Indian Ocean.58 The 1,000-ship Navy, or Global Maritime Partnership initiative, was also seen as part of a deliberate strategy by the Americans to goad navies into maritime security cooperation.59 For instance, in 2004, the U.S. ­Pacific Command proposed a Regional Maritime Security Initiative (RMSI) in order to promote regional cooperation and improve maritime security in East Asia and the Pacific region, especially in the straits of Malacca and Singapore. Although Singapore was in favour of the RMSI, it was opposed by Malaysia and Indonesia as they perceived it as an attempt by the United States to patrol the Strait of Malacca to protect its own interests.60 However, this did spur Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore to launch a trilateral coordinated patrols initiative, known as Malsindo, to combat piracy and armed attacks on ships in the Strait of Malacca in July 2004.61 The Straits states were initially criticised for being overly sensitive to sovereignty, and many analysts forecast that the Malsindo patrols would fail. However, the trilateral coordinated patrols have since expanded to include Thailand and also introduced aerial patrols, dubbed Eyes in the Sky, and were successful in virtually putting a stop to armed attacks on ships in the region by mid-2006.62 The Malsindo patrols continue to this day and have evolved into a model mechanism for regional maritime security cooperation. Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy has helped to augment regional naval capacities and managed to sustain its presence in the region for long durations each year through the conduct of bilateral annual naval exercises such as the

62  India’s maritime strategy Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise series. This has helped to allay fears of regional dominance in the minds of the littoral states, and overall, it has been a win-win situation for both the United States and the regional countries. In recent years, maritime security cooperation has continued to evolve and improve. One of the best examples of maritime security cooperation on a global scale as envisaged in the U.S. Global Maritime Partnership initiative is the ongoing multinational anti-piracy patrols in the Indian Ocean. Almost all the major navies of the world have been engaged in anti-piracy operations for the past several years, operating under an informal or loose coalition, including the U.S. Navy and others partners operating under the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), the European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR), the Standing NATO Maritime Groups (SNMG), and several others such as China’s PLA Navy, the Indian Navy, and the Russian Navy operating independently. Even though several navies patrol independently, all ships are provided common intelligence inputs by the Shared Awareness and Deconfliction (SHADE) mechanism and ship patrol areas are mutually coordinated to avoid duplication of effort.63 Types of maritime security cooperation It is a truism that close defence cooperation is not only a key element of any strategic partnership but also the bedrock of any formal security alliance between two or more states. Maritime security cooperation is a form of defence cooperation. It thus follows that the entire gamut of activities under maritime security cooperation could be important building blocks for a country’s future security alliance. Maritime security cooperation could be broadly divided into multilateral cooperation and bilateral/sub-regional cooperation, the latter being a more exclusive type of cooperation than the former. Multilateral cooperation involving several states, unlike bilateral cooperation, generally does not demand a deep political compatibility amongst the members or a common or shared worldview. For instance, Greece and ­Turkey are mutually hostile states, but members of the North ­Atlantic Treaty ­Organisation (NATO) alliance. Similarly, the multilateral response to non-traditional maritime security threats in the Indian Ocean had brought together diverse partners, including China, India, Pakistan, the United States, and Russia, operating as an international coalition of warships engaged in anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden, albeit in disparate groups. Multilateral cooperation may help to reduce or share costs, spread risks, and pertinently demonstrate legitimacy to the effort.64 Bilateral, trilateral, or sub-regional cooperation generally involving neighbouring states calls for deeper levels of political commitment for a common cause, as also a greater degree of interoperability amongst the forces. The Malsindo coordinated patrols in Southeast Asia, including

India’s maritime strategy  63 Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand, are an example of successful sub-regional cooperation. The bilateral coordinated patrols by the Indian Navy with the Indonesian, Malaysian, Thai, and Myanmar navies are another example of bilateral cooperation. Bilateral security cooperation is significant initial step as it demonstrates mutual trust between the states and shared security interests. It is opined that with time successful bilateral cooperation could evolve into security partnerships or even alliances. For instance, India’s membership in the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) Plus Eight in 2010 could be greatly attributed to the success of India’s bilateral maritime security cooperation with Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia – all key players in the ASEAN grouping. Levels of maritime security cooperation The level of maritime security cooperation that could be established between states is largely dependent on their foreign policy and approach to national defence strategy. States may choose to establish a long-term commitment via a formal relationship or may prefer to engage temporarily with other states for specific purposes. Generally, the later allows for greater flexibility over the former. The choice is also guided by the nature of security threats and challenges, which could be non-urgent but enduring or urgent but temporary. These aspects are discussed in the succeeding paragraphs. Alliance or Treaty: An alliance or a treaty provides the highest degree of cooperation between two or more states and can span the entire range of maritime operations. An alliance has also been defined as follows: … a coalition of states that coordinate their actions to accomplish some end. Most alliances are formalised in written treaties, concern a common threat and related issues of international security, and endure across a range of issues and a period of time.65 According to the balance of power theory, in anarchy, states form alliances to protect themselves.66 By conjoining their military capabilities, states may leverage their national power and achieve greater bargaining capacity with other states. Alliances can also be fluid and shift as national interests shift. Thus, alliances are not marriages of love, but marriages of convenience.67 Evidently, the effectiveness of an alliance or treaty – particularly one that has not been tested – may perhaps decline over time. Thus, alliance cohesion is dependent on the level of internal threat or the threat perceived by members from each other versus the external threat.68 If the internal threat is high, then once the external threats have declined, the alliance cohesion also declines; but if the level of internal threat is low, then even if the external threat is diminished, the alliance may endure. This theory explains why the NATO of 1949, which brings together 28 states including almost all North American and European states,69 has endured post–Cold War; whilst

64  India’s maritime strategy on the other hand, the Allied powers broke up after World War II. Even though the missions of NATO in the post–Cold War era remain uncertain, it has not only expanded but also evolved to meet the emerging threats and challenges of the twenty-first century. The role of NATO forces in the U.S.led twenty-first century “global war on terror,” following the invocation of Article 5 (based on the principle of collective defence) of the Treaty, is evidence of such a transformation. NATO forces fought the Taliban and others related groups in Afghanistan for over 12 years, the longest ever mission conducted by NATO in its existence.70 As a result, NATO forces have now achieved a high degree of operational efficiency and interoperability. In the words of U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, the new Supreme Allied Commander for Europe (SACEUR): Alliance forces are at a pinnacle of interoperability due to more than 12 years of sustained combat operations together in Afghanistan. Our tactics, techniques and procedures have never been better aligned. NATO’s forces operate today as a team that is ready, capable and interoperable. The challenge will be to sustain that level of interoperability and to prepare for the full range of potential missions. Doing so will require a dual approach. We need to continue to build the capabilities and capacities to be a credible and effective Alliance and we need to sustain our interoperability through rigorous and sustained training, education, and exercises.71 Clearly, the focus is now on maintaining the level of effectiveness, not only for land-based operations but also in the maritime arena.72 The NATO Maritime Command is currently working on a threefold plan to develop the alliance’s standing naval forces, affiliate national task groups such as the U.K. Response Force Task Group and the U.S. Navy Carrier Strike Groups with the planned Combined Joint Expeditionary Force to support maritime contingency requirements, and enhance collective training, focusing particularly on affiliations of national task groups across NATO’s regions of interest.73 Thus, a high level of commitment in terms of regular military drills and exercises, investment in defence technology, and participation in operational missions by all stakeholders are essential requirements to sustain a military alliance. In addition to maintaining military coordination, it is imperative to sustain political and public support. In the words of General Breedlove, U.S. forces in Europe contribute to preserving the strategic partnership with Europe both in our bilateral relationships and by assuring our Allies of our continued commitment to NATO. Europe’s willingness to support U.S. military operations, whether by providing strategic access or contributing forces, depends on the continued trust of its population and political leaders in the United States.74

India’s maritime strategy  65 The U.S.-Japan alliance is another example of an enduring treaty that has evolved with time. In recent years, the rise of China and its growing assertiveness in the East China Sea over territorial disputes with Japan seem to have tested the sanctity of the alliance,75 necessitating the promulgation of revised guidelines for defence cooperation between Japan and the United States in April 2015.76 These new guidelines may now have allayed any apprehensions in Japan about America’s commitment to Japan as clearly spelt out in the document: The United States will continue to extend deterrence to Japan through the full range of capabilities, including U.S. nuclear forces. The United States also will continue to forward deploy combat-ready forces in the Asia-Pacific region and maintain the ability to reinforce those forces rapidly.77 It is also likely that whilst alliances may evolve in keeping with changes in the threat environment, they may also be reviewed from time to time to determine their validity. For instance, the rationality of Australia’s security alliance with the United States under the ANZUS Treaty has been questioned publicly. A study report submitted to the Australian government as an input to the latest Defence White Paper noted that Australia’s security alliance with the United States “has led Australia into needless wars, compromises Australia’s independence and should be critically scrutinized.”78 The report argues that as a result of the security alliance, since World War II, Australia has unnecessarily been involved in wars in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq, none of which posed any realistic threat to ­Australia. A similar sentiment was expressed by the late former Australian Prime Minister ­Malcom Fraser in his book entitled Dangerous Allies, where he argued that Australia should adopt a greater strategic autonomy rather than merely f­ ollow other nations into wars of no direct interest to Australia or ­Australia’s security. Most significantly, Fraser cautioned that a potential conflict between China and Japan over the disputed Diaoyu/­Senkaku Islands, which he felt legitimately belong to China, could see Australia dragged into conflict with China.79 Coalitions: A coalition, unlike a treaty or alliance, is generally a shortterm arrangement and sometimes assembled to address a narrow or specific immediate threat.80 For instance, the multinational task force engaged in anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden is a naval coalition. Coalitions could be a formal or informal partnership between two or more states to address specific issues such as an immediate common threat. Coalitions are generally more limited in scope than treaties and thus do not demand the same levels of mutual commitment and shared world views, as in a treaty.81 In the context of United States’ partners, Hoyt noted that “a maritime coalition is not necessarily the same as a wartime alliance” and states that collaborate in peace may not chose to follow in war.82 Since coalitions are generally

66  India’s maritime strategy formed to meet emergent crises, time is of the essence, and therefore, a certain minimum level of a priori interoperability between the forces is crucial. Thus, one of the drivers for maritime security cooperation is a need to develop a basic level of interoperability with other navies. The following points describe the key attributes of an alliance or a coalition. Political Compatibility: Since alliances or coalitions are an advanced form of military cooperation, political compatibility between participating states is sine qua non. This could stem from a larger common security threat or perception that compels states to rise above their narrow differences or disputes, as in the case of NATO, or even a willingness on the part of a state to freely subordinate itself to a larger power in order to ensure its security, as in the case of the Australia, New Zealand, U.S. Security Treaty (ANZUS or ANZUS Treaty). Operational Interoperability: The success of military operations conducted under an alliance or a coalition are dependent on seamless interoperability at all levels: tactical, operational, and strategic. This implies interoperability in terms of command, control and communications, logistics, equipment compatibility, common training, drills, and procedures. Combined naval operations under an alliance or coalition will invariably be guided by a common doctrine and a set of documented drills and procedures such as the NATO tactical publications and guidebooks series for all member states. Constant Commitment: An alliance or a coalition also demands constant commitment from all participants, such as pooling of military resources, combined training of troops, and a reaffirmation of political support. Such commitment may be displayed through various measures, such as regular combined exercises, collaborative military programmes, and the promulgation of common doctrine. The Bersama Lima annual exercise conducted with regularity in the South China Sea region, involving forces from ­Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom exercising with ­Singapore and M ­ alaysia, under the aegis of the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) is an example of such continuing cooperation, particularly by Britain, which is furthest away from the region and needs to deploy its forces each year sometimes all the way from Europe, to briefly participate in the annual exercises. For instance, in 2011, the Royal Air Force flew its Typhoon multi-role aircraft over 11,000 kilometres to participate in the 40th anniversary of Bersama Lima in Malaysia.83 Military-Civilian Relations: Implicit to the first point on high level of political compatibility, healthy military-civilian relations between the participating countries are important, a fact underscored by General Breedlove in his statement above. A classic example of how poor military-civilian relations could jeopardise state relations is the infamous Okinawa rape case of 1995 involving U.S. service personnel, who abducted and raped a 12-year-old Japanese girl. The incident brought 85,000 people on to the streets in protest and forced Tokyo and Washington to discuss way to reduce the U.S. military presence

India’s maritime strategy  67 84

on the island. In a repeat of this incident in Okinawa, in May 2016, a former U.S. marine was arrested and charged with the murder of a young Japanese woman. This killing once again sparked an outrage amongst the Okinawans and forced the U.S. government to withdraw protected legal status provided for American civilians working on military bases in Japan.85 Similarly, the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the Subic Bay naval base in the Philippines in 1992 was precipitated by popular public demand who viewed the presence of U.S. troops as a “vestige of colonialism and an affront to Philippine sovereignty.”86 In hindsight, one could speculate that better public relations on part of both sides could perhaps have avoided such an outcome. Collaborations Although a formal written treaty or alliance is one of the strongest commitments between two or more parties to come to each other’s assistance in any contingency, a lack of any such formal commitment certainly does not imply that a country may not obtain assistance from another. According to Thomas Schelling, “commitments (as in Alliances) can exist even when denied.”87 As noted earlier in this book, Schelling provides the example of Nehru being contemptuous of Thailand and Pakistan for signing treaties with the United States, which he believed were unnecessary. Thus, some commitments are explicit and others implicit, and given the changed global environment of the twenty-first century, it is these informal arrangements between states that seem to be gaining salience under the garb of defence cooperation or maritime security cooperation. From a naval-strategic perspective, this translates into building interoperability with potential partners for combined operations in various contingencies. Considering the multiplicity of types of maritime engagements, it is perhaps easier to club all such efforts, barring formal treaties or alliances and coalitions, under the term “collaboration.” Maritime collaborations may thus include navy-to-navy staff talks, multinational exercises, ship visits, and exchanges of visits by senior officials. Both IONS and the WPNS are examples of collaborative efforts at the operational level by various regional navies to come together to discuss common threats and challenges. Navies also collaborate with each other at the operational level for conducting patrols. As noted earlier, the bilateral coordinated patrols along the EEZ boundary lines by the Indian Navy with the Indonesian, Malaysian, Thai, and Myanmar navies are examples of such collaborative efforts. It would be incorrect to classify these coordinated patrols as coalitions because they do not serve to address any threat per se. Drivers for maritime security cooperation According to Chris Rahman, maritime security cooperation may develop as a result of a mutual need for confidence building measures (CBMs), improving standardisation between navies to facilitate basic naval operations,

68  India’s maritime strategy and as a means to undertake complex combined maritime operations so as to achieve a certain level of interoperability that could facilitate future alliance/coalition operations.88 Additionally, training or capacity building, benchmarking of operational standards, and trade promotion of defence exports by showcasing military hardware are other important motivations for navy-to-navy interactions. Some of the key drivers for maritime security cooperation are discussed in the following paragraphs. Confidence Building Measures: According to a memorandum on CBMs at sea issued by the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific ­(CSCAP), maritime security cooperation framed as CBMs could serve as trust building measures that could be employed in scenarios where a trust deficit is inherent. The memo states, Functional cooperation [or security cooperation] for the safety of ­navigation, search-and-rescue, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR), coastal zone management and environmental protection would be more easily achievable as CBMs in the absence of trust, when the CBMs are framed within a recognised institution or regime (e.g. UNCLOS, IMO Conventions, etc).89 Whilst this may seem plausible theoretically, in practice there are few examples of cooperation evolving through CBMs alone. For instance, although Vietnam and China have formally agreed to cooperate over SAR activities in the South China Sea since 2008,90 they have failed to develop higher levels of cooperation and China continues to harass Vietnamese fishermen in the region. Whilst bilateral CBMs may not always foster close maritime security cooperation, regional fora such as the WPNS have helped to promote close working relationships between regional navies by providing CBMs such as the promulgation of the WPNS Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES), to limit naval interference and streamline communications during unscheduled encounters at sea.91 Training or Capacity Building: Small or medium navies are generally keen to emulate and learn from the more advanced navies through personnel ­interactions and formal training. For example, during the CARAT series of bilateral exercises conducted by the U.S. Navy each year with various South and Southeast Asian states, several regional navies including Bangladesh, Cambodia, Brunei, and the Philippines, with limited naval capacity, regularly depute personnel (as ship riders or observers) to participate in the exercise. The format of CARAT itself, including cooperative training events and subject matter exchanges, is designed to provide training to developing navies. Similarly, the Kakadu series of biennial exercises hosted by the Royal Australian Navy is another example of such an initiative to build regional naval capacity and also develop certain common practices and drills. The 14th iteration of the Kakadu exercise was completed in September

India’s maritime strategy  69 2018, attended by over 3,000 personnel, 23 warships, and 21 aircraft from 28 ­nations, making it the largest maritime warfare exercise by the Royal ­Australian Navy.92 By participating in such exercises, in addition to improving basic skills, the smaller navies get an opportunity to learn the nuances of standard naval operations, basic safety drills, and procedures, which could be useful in subsequent combined operations. Costs are another major factor, and smaller navies seek to benefit from U.S. funding towards promoting maritime security cooperation. Benchmarking of Operational Standards: In addition to training value, navies sometimes engage in exercises with more advanced navies to benchmark their own operational standards, compare equipment performance, or emulate best management practices. The bilateral naval exercises between the Indian Navy and the Russian Navy, codenamed Indra, the Indo-French naval exercises, codenamed Varuna, and the Indo-British naval exercise, codenamed Konkan, could be considered under this category of naval cooperation. Whilst the Indian Navy may be seeking to learn from the European navies, undoubtedly, these exercises are also aimed by promoting sales of new naval systems and platforms by Russia, France, and the United Kingdom to India. Building Familiarity: Whatever might be the motivation for maritime security cooperation, familiarity between partners is a key step in the process of building cooperation. When viewed in the context of maritime security cooperation, “building familiarity” would include familiarity with certain key personnel such as flag rank officers, familiarity with drills and procedures and confidence in the skills and expertise of a navy to engage in bilateral exercises. For example, in the early 1990s, when the U.S. Navy first exercised with Indian Navy ships, the exercise was deliberately kept at a low level as the Americans were unsure of the seamanship skills of Indian naval officers. Over the years, after several rounds of simple exercises, a comfortable level of familiarity seems to have been established as both sides have progressed to more complex evolutions at sea, including cross deck flying between ships and weapon firings at sea.93 Coalition Building: In order to progress naval cooperation to the next level, towards coalition building, it is essential to establish a high level of interoperability across operational, technical and administrative, or logistical spheres. First, it is important to establish a high degree of operational compatibility at the tactical level. This could include creating a common set of tactical doctrines and publications such as the Multinational Tactical Publications (MTP)94 in use by NATO and non-NATO states, for fleet operations, and exercising in accordance with it for a long period. Second, it could involve a high degree of technical cooperation in terms of sharing of military technology, common equipment and platforms that could enable seamless combined operations. Finally, it is crucial to establish close logistics compatibility to support operations such as sharing of refuelling facilities, provision of temporary or permanent basing facilities,

70  India’s maritime strategy and maintenance of critical spares and ammunition. In this context, India’s growing naval cooperation with the United States, Japan, and Australia is suggestive of an embryonic coalition taking shape. The scope and depth of India’s maritime security cooperation with these states is examined in detail later in this book. Impediments to maritime security cooperation Notwithstanding a genuine desire by most navies to cooperate with other naval forces to combat common security challenges at sea, maritime security cooperation is often restricted by several barriers. These are discussed in the following paragraphs. State relations Mutual suspicion and mistrust between states is the biggest obstacle to cooperation. Often, this leads to states being overly sensitive to their sovereignty, thus preventing maritime neighbours from seeking each other’s assistance. The Malsindo coordinated patrols are a case in point. The Straits states have steadfastly opposed any operational assistance from extra-regional states and key stakeholders in the security of the straits.95 Similarly in 2008, when Cyclone Nargis struck Myanmar, the paranoid national government initially refused permission to foreign armed forces and aid workers, except the Indian Navy and Air Force, to land in Myanmar with relief supplies.96 Clearly, much human suffering could have avoided by immediate rescue and assistance efforts. Disparities in force levels and technological gaps For any meaningful maritime security cooperation between two or more states, a comfortable level of compatibility in force structures is essential. Whilst small navies of the region may keenly engage with larger navies in their neighbourhood, the mismatch in levels of training and expertise may sometimes limit the actual benefits that may accrue to either navy. However, this need not be a limiting factor for larger navies, as local knowledge, trust, and support that come with cooperation may exceed other tangible benefits of cooperating with a less capable force. Language and culture Notwithstanding modern communication technology and tools, language and cultural barriers can effectively hamper the progression of security cooperation between navies from basic to advanced levels. Given that English is the lingua franca of almost all navies in the Indian Ocean region, it would be fair to state that India has a distinct advantage over China in this regard. The Indian Navy, which essentially uses English as an official language, has

India’s maritime strategy  71 leveraged this advantage to further security ties with almost all regional states centred around naval training. China is seriously restricted in attaining the same level of maritime cooperation since the PLA Navy can’t operate effectively in English. Obviously, there is a limit to what can be achieved in terms of combined operations at sea, based on interpreters or even liaison officers. Costs The high costs involved in the conduct of maritime cooperation are another key factor that limit the scope for various activities. With the smaller navies being severely restricted in funding, the cost burden needs to be shouldered almost entirely by the larger partner. The United States is the biggest spender on maritime security cooperation and few if any combined exercises can match the scope and scale of U.S.-led initiatives such as CARAT and RIMPAC (Rim of the Pacific) exercise, the world’s largest combined naval exercise, biennially hosted by the U.S. Navy. Evaluating maritime security cooperation Even though several military alliances of the Cold War era continue to remain relevant in the twenty-first century, forging of military alliances in the post–Cold War period is no longer the norm. The new global security order seems to indicate a moving away from alliance treaties towards strategic partnerships built on security cooperation with multiple states or “security pluralism” rather than exclusive military alliances. According to Amitav Acharya, “security pluralism” is not a purely balance of power system as it relies on other mechanisms.97 This, according to Acharya, characterises the new security order in Asia: Security pluralism drives mutual accommodation among unequal and culturally diverse states that preserves the relative autonomy of each and prevents the hegemony of any or a few… [and] respects political and cultural diversity, but fosters accommodation among the great powers and their restraint towards the weaker actors, such as ASEAN members.98 Security cooperation could be categorised as basic, intermediate, and advanced levels. The later could even allow politically compatible states to achieve the same levels of interoperability and mutual trust in peacetime as could be achieved by an alliance. Thus, advanced security cooperation could potentially be upgraded to a formal military alliance to meet an emergent threat. An overarching framework for evaluating the level of maritime security cooperation that could be used to assess the depth and quality of security relations between states is described in this section. This is based on the Ken

72  India’s maritime strategy Booth’s trinity of naval roles, military, diplomatic, and policing (or constabulary). Where does maritime security cooperation fit in this trinity of naval roles? Maritime security cooperation could be viewed as a continuum spanning all three roles. Thus, as navies go about doing their business under each role, so they seek to cooperate with other navies. The degree of cooperation could be sub-divided into basic, intermediate, and advanced levels. This may be dictated by the evolving security environment. For instance, under normal peacetime conditions, naval forces invest in training and building good relations with friendly states. In a crisis including threats to good order at sea such as piracy or illegal fishing, and smuggling, states may step-up cooperation to an intermediate level. Finally, in order to avoid a conflict or a developing military threat, states may progress to an advanced level of cooperation or a strategic partnership that could lead to a future military alliance. This framework is depicted in Figure 3.1. Figure 3.1 depicts the trinity of naval roles and the three levels of maritime security cooperation. The various types of engagements or tasks that could take place under each level of security are set out in Table 4.1. States engaged in a basic level of maritime security cooperation would be involved in the tasks listed under the “Basic/Normal” conditions and so on. Table 3.2 ­includes many tasks listed in the Indian Maritime Doctrine and Indian ­Maritime Security Strategy.

Figure 3.1  The Ken Booth Triangle and Maritime Security Cooperation.

Table 3.2  M  aritime Cooperation under Normal, Crisis, and Long-Term Strategic/War Conditions Role

Basic (Normal conditions)

Intermediate (Crisis situations)

Diplomatic

• Overseas deployments. • Flag showing/port visits. • Hosting of warship visits. • Staff talks. • Exchange of visits by personnel. • Multilateral cooperation initiatives, e.g., IONS, conferences. • CBMs, such as INCSEA agreements and CUES. • Basic training exchanges. • Combined coast guard exercises. • Coast guard functions, such as joint regulation of fishing activities, antismuggling, and antitrafficking operations. • SAR missions.

• Diplomatic support at • Combined naval international fora. exercises. • Enforcement of • Sharing of sanctions. expertise. • Advanced training • Support for foreign policy or “gunboat assistance, such diplomacy.” as training for submarines crew and pilots.

Constabulary

Military

• Defence and security agreements.

• Classified information/ intelligence sharing. • Joint/coordinated patrols including anti-piracy, antitrafficking, antipoaching patrols. • HADR. • Logistics agreements for operational turnaround of ships (OTR). • Classified information/ intelligence sharing. • Repair and refits services.

Advanced (Strategic partnership)

• Sharing of intelligence related to enemy shipping, Human Intelligence (HUMINT), Electronic intelligence (ELINT), etc.

• Basing of ships, submarines and aircraft. • Transfer of critical military technology. • Transfer of strategic military platforms. • Sharing of crucial intelligence. • Advanced naval exercises involving weapon firing, aircraft, and submarines. • Development of SOPs and doctrines, e.g., Multinational Tactical Publications series. • Intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) operations. • Covert activities including setting up of “listening posts.” • Transfer of military technology. • Transfer of military hardware. • Sale of military hardware.

74  India’s maritime strategy The framework described above is a broad categorisation of various types of cooperative engagements between partner states based on the Booth’s trinity of roles. It serves as a useful reference to measure the level of maritime security cooperation between states. The degree of cooperation can thus be measured on a scale ranging from diplomatic cooperation in a normal, or peacetime environment at the most basic level, to military cooperation in a period of war indicating the highest level of strategic cooperation. For example, states that have agreed to share intelligence have a closer or higher level of cooperation than those that have not graduated beyond ship visits. Basic level cooperation Under normal conditions, navies invest in building relations that could be leveraged in times of crisis and war. Ship visits, meetings between personnel, and conferences are opportunities for navies to interact and learn from each other, and also lay the groundwork for further collaboration. Indian naval ships routinely visit ports in the Indian Ocean region as well as outside the region. For visiting ships, the level of reception accorded to ships and personnel by the host navy is also a clear indication of the level of trust and confidence imposed upon them. For example, visits to naval bases, frontline ships, or submarines in the host country would indicate a close level of trust and confidence with possible scope for further enhancement of relations. The absence of such basic level cooperation or a “cold” reception for visiting ships and personnel would clearly preclude any scope for further partnerships. For instance, in April 2014, the Captain of the Indian Navy’s newest stealth frigate, INS Shivalik, calling at Qingdao, China’s North Sea Fleet base city, refused permission to the PLA Navy Chief, Admiral Wu Shengli, on a brief courtesy call on the ship, for an impromptu tour of the ship’s operations room.99 One could speculate that a similar request from the U.S. naval chief would almost certainly have been granted. Thus, the importance of navy-to-navy interactions cannot be over emphasised and successful ship visits often make front-page news. Basic level cooperation also includes combined coast guard exercises and cooperation in various coast guard functions, such as control of fi ­ shing ­operations along maritime boundary lines or anti-smuggling and anti-­ trafficking operations. Collaboration for SAR operations is another facet of basic level cooperation in a constabulary role. After cooperation under the diplomatic and constabulary roles have been established by the navies, states may enter formal agreements such as the defence cooperation agreement signed by India with various Indian Ocean region states. Intermediate level cooperation Once a comfortable level of trust has been established, navies may progress to bilateral or multilateral combined naval exercises and/or coordinated

India’s maritime strategy  75 patrols. The Simbex series between the Indian Navy and the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) and the Ind-Indo and Indo-Thai coordinated patrols by the Indian Navy with the navies of Indonesia and Thailand, respectively, are examples of such intermediate level cooperation. Furthermore, after ­basic training needs have been met, navies may also offer advanced training for submarine crew or pilots. The training provided by Indian Navy to the Vietnam People’s Navy (VPN) is an example of intermediate level cooperation in the diplomatic role. After a formal defence cooperation agreement has been signed and ­navies have established regular exchanges through combined exercises or coordinated patrols, navies may enter into logistics arrangements for operational turnaround of ships at their ports whilst on operational deployments as well as repair/refit services for ships. For instance, Indian naval ships ­deployed on anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden routinely top-up fuel, water, and other provisions at various ports in the region, including Oman, the Seychelles, and Abu Dhabi. Indian naval ships on deployments in the South China Sea or Andaman Sea also call at Singapore for operational ­turnaround.100 And the recently concluded logistics exchange memorandum of agreement (LEMOA) signed between India and the United States in August 2016101 is another example. Advanced level cooperation After conditions for basic and intermediate levels of cooperation have been fulfilled and states have established a high degree of political trust and compatibility, navies may move forward to advanced security cooperation or a strategic partnership. Advanced level security cooperation between states is marked by regular high-level interactions at both political and military levels, complex large-scale naval exercises such as the Malabar combined naval exercise involving the United States, Japan, and India in the Western Pacific region, transfer of military hardware and crucial technology, such as the sale of the Yuan-class submarines102 by China to Pakistan, and the sale of state-ofthe-art P8I long-range maritime patrol aircraft by the United States to India. Furthermore, an advanced level of cooperation could also include exchange of information/intelligence including establishment of covert listening posts and even basing of ships, submarines, and aircraft such as the deployment of Indian naval helicopters in the Maldives. Other areas of cooperation could include industrial collaboration based on joint defence research and development efforts. Navies engaged in advanced maritime cooperation are likely to have established a common doctrine or standard operating procedures and could potentially upgrade their relationship to a formal military alliance. In conclusion, the various facets of naval operations for the employment of navies in peacetime have expanded rapidly in the post–Cold War era, and maritime security cooperation with like-minded partners is a key element of the maritime strategies increasingly adopted by navies globally. The

76  India’s maritime strategy wide range of crises for which naval power could be innovatively applied in peacetime provides ample opportunities to leverage naval power to address larger security challenges. However, since armed forces are inherently suspicious of each other, a certain level of trust and confidence is imperative to initiate and promote maritime security cooperation. Thus, basic maritime security cooperation starts with navy-to-navy interactions at the foundational level upon which a long-term strategic partnership could be built. The various activities undertaken by navies under the rubric of maritime security cooperation are, therefore, building blocks for future military alliances and hence must be seen in that context.

Notes 1 G.M. Hiranandini, Transition to Triumph: Indian Navy 1965–75, Director ­Personnel Services, IHQ MoD (Navy), New Delhi, 2005, p. 1. 2 Ibid. 3 Ibid., p. 5. 4 Ibid., p. 248. 5 Ibid., pp. 5–7. 6 Admiral AK Chatterji, Indian Navy’s Submarine Arm, Birla Institute, New Delhi, 1982, p. 44. 7 Vice Admiral G.M. Hiranandini, Transition to Guardianship: Indian Navy ­1991–2000, Lancer Publications, New Delhi, 2009, p. xxi. 8 Hiranandini, Transition to Guardianship, p. xix. 9 Ibid., pp. xx–xxi. 10 Admiral S.M. Nanda, The Man Wwho Bombed Karachi, Harper Collins, New Delhi, 2015, pp. 1–3. 11 Ibid. 12 Ross H. Munro, “Superpower Rising: Propelled by an Arms Buildup, India Asserts Its Place on the World Stage,” Time, Vol. 133, No. 14, April 1989, pp. 6–13, cited in C. Uday Bhaskar, “The Navy as an Instrument of Foreign Policy: The Indian Experience,” in Harsh V. Pant, ed., The Rise of the Indian Navy: Internal Vulnerabilities, External Challenges, Ashgate, Surrey, 2012, p. 42. 13 Admiral Arun Prakash, From the Crow’s Nest: A Compendium of Speeches and Writings on Maritime and Other Issues, Lancer Publishers, New Delhi, 2007, p. 97. 14 Hiranandini, Transition to Guardianship, pp. 118–130. 15 Ibid., p. 31. 16 Ibid. 17 “India,” Jane’s World Navies 2013–14, p. 97. 18 Harsh V. Pant and Yogesh Joshi, “The American Pivot and Indian Navy: Its Hedging All the Way,” Naval War College Review, Vol. 68, No. 1, 2015, p. 56. 19 Laxman K. Behera, “India’s Defence Budget 2018–19,” Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses Issue Brief, 2 February 2018. 20 “India,” IHS Jane’s Fighting Ships 2014–15, pp. 322–352. 21 “India,” IHS Jane’s World Navies 2013–14, pp. 102–110. 22 “Indian Navy Has 41 Ships, Submarines Under Construction: Navy Chief Dhowan,” Defence World, 11 January 2015. 23 Ibid. 24 “Indian Navy Signs 10-Year Lease for Third Russian Nuclear-Submarine,” Business Standard, 7 March 2019.

India’s maritime strategy  77 25 “Explained: India’s Submarine Story in Deep Waters, Long Way to go,” The Indian Express, 13 November 2015. 26 “Navy Working on Mega Plan to Bolster Operational Capabilities,” The Economic Times, 25 April 2019. 27 “Now, India has the Largest Naval Base East of the Suez Canal,” NDTV Online, 9 September 2015. 28 Rohan Venkataramakrishnan, “The Berlin Airlift was Remarkable, but the Largest Civilian Evacuation in History is by India,” Scroll, 8 July 2014, cited in, Shashank Joshi, “India and the Middle East,” Asian Affairs, Vol. 46, No. 2, 2015, p. 251. 29 “Indian Navy: Like a Bridge on Troubled Waters,” Sainik Samachar, 16 ­September 2006. 30 “Operation Raahat: 349 Indians Evacuated by Navy from Yemen’s Aden,” The Economic Times, 01 April 2015. 31 Stated by George Fernandes, then Indian Defence Minister during his visit to INS Gomati (the Indian naval ship involved in the recapture of the Alondra Rainbow) in 1999, on which the author served and participated in the actual operation. 32 Based on the author’s own experience as Joint Director Naval Intelligence at the Naval Headquarters between 2005 and 2012. 33 Government of India, Freedom to use the Seas: India’s Maritime Military ­Strategy, Integrated Headquarters of the Ministry of Defence (Navy), New Delhi, May 2007, p. iv. 34 National Maritime Foundation, available at http://maritimeindia.org/html. 35 Shishir Upadhyaya, “Milan 2014 – Maritime Security Cooperation and the ­Indian Ocean Regional Balance,” Jane’s Navy International, 13 March 2014. 36 Freedom to use the Seas: India’s Maritime Military Strategy, p. 129. 37 Government of India, Indian Maritime Doctrine, INBR 8, Integrated Headquarters of the Ministry of Defence (Navy), New Delhi, August 2009. 38 Iskander Rehman,” India’s Aspirational Naval Doctrine,” in Pant, The Rise of the Indian Navy, p. 55. 39 Ibid., pp. 55–73. 40 Indian Maritime Doctrine, p. 3. 41 Government of India Indian Maritime Doctrine, Indian Navy Naval Strategic Publication 1.1, Integrated Headquarters (IHQ) of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) Navy, New Delhi, February 2016, pp. 65–68. 42 Ken Booth, Navies and Foreign Policy, Routledge Revivals, London, 1977, pp. 15–16. 43 Government of India, Ensuring Secure Seas: India’s Maritime Security S ­ trategy, Integrated Headquarters of the Ministry of Defence (Navy), New Delhi, ­October 2015. 44 A classified publication unavailable in public sources. 45 Freedom to Use the Seas: India’s Maritime Military Strategy, p. 3. 46 Ibid., p. 10. 47 Ibid. 48 Ensuring Secure Seas, India’s Maritime Military Strategy, pp. 11–13. 49 Ibid., p. 11. 50 Ibid., p. 51. 51 Ibid., p. 63. 52 Ibid., p. 80. 53 “Navy on a Major Capability Upgrade,” The Hindu, 10 December 2018. 54 Admiral Mike Mullen, then U.S. Navy Chief of Naval Operations, introduced the concept of international naval and maritime cooperation to an audience at the U.S. Naval War College in August 2005.

78  India’s maritime strategy 55 Chris Rahman, The Global Maritime Partnership Initiative: Implications for the Royal Australian Navy, Papers in Australian Maritime Affairs, Naval Sea Power Centre, Canberra, 2008, p. 3. 56 Ibid., p. 7. 57 Rahman, The Global Maritime Partnership Initiative, p. 5. 58 Shishir Upadhyaya,” Piracy in the Gulf of Aden: Naval Challenges,” Maritime Affairs, Vol. 6, No. 2, 2010, pp. 133–147. 59 Rahman, The Global Maritime Partnership Initiative, p. 7. 60 Shishir Upadhyaya, Combating Piracy in the India Ocean, Manas Publishers, New Delhi, 2010, p. 72. 61 Joshua Ho, The Security of Regional Sea Lanes, Institute of Defence and ­Strategic Studies, Working Paper No. 81, Singapore, June 2005, p. 18. 62 Ibid. 63 A series of regular meetings of the naval representatives from China, India, ­Russia, and others from EU and the CMF participating in the anti-piracy ­patrols held under the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) have come to be known as SHADE. The aim of SHADE is to share information and streamline tactical operating procedures. 64 Geoffrey Till, Seapower: A Guide for the Twenty-First Century, Second Edition, Routledge, New York, 2009, p. 219. 65 Joshua S. Goldstein and Jon C. Pevehouse, International Relations, Eighth ­Edition, Person Longman, New York, 2008, p. 62. 66 Stephen M. Walt, The Origin of Alliances, Cornell University Press, London, 1987, p. x. 67 Ibid., p. 63. 68 Ibid., p. 5. 69 North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, “Member Countries,” 8 May 2015, available at http://www.nato.int/nato-welcome/index.html#members.html. 70 “Steady Strategy, Contingent Capability: NATO Tackles Emerging Maritime Challenges and Increasing Instability,” IHS Jane’s Navy International, 19 ­August 2014. 71 Government of the United States, Statement of General Philip Breedlove, Commander U.S. Forces Europe, United States European Command, 1 April 2014. 72 Shishir Upadhyaya, “Projecting Power … and Politics? Carriers in the Indian Ocean,” Jane’s Navy International, 11 February 2015. 73 Ibid. 74 Government of the United States, Statement of General Philip Breedlove, ­Commander U.S. Forces Europe. 75 Paul Sracic, “Will the U.S. Defend Japan? More of a Definite Maybe,” The ­Diplomat, 19 August 2014. 76 Government of Japan, “The Guidelines for U.S.-Japan Defense Cooperation,” Ministry of Defence, 27 April 2015. 77 Ibid. 78 Marrickville Peace Group, “Questioning the Value of the Australia/US ­A lliance,” Submission to the 2015 Defence White Paper by the Marrickville Peace Group, 2015, p. 3. 79 Malcom Fraser and Cain Roberts, Dangerous Allies, Melbourne University ­P ublishing, Melbourne, 1 May 2014, p. 272. 80 Goldstein and Pevehouse, International Relations, p. 62. 81 Chris Rahman, Naval Cooperation and Coalition Building in Southeast Asia and the Southwest Pacific: Status and Prospects, Sea Power Centre Working Paper No. 7, Canberra, October 2001, p. 13. 82 Timoty D. Hoyt,” The United States and Maritime Strategy: A Parochial View from the U.S. Naval War College,” Orbis, Vol. 51, No. 4, 2007, p. 580.

India’s maritime strategy  79 83 Government of the United Kingdom, “RAF Typhoons Fly 7,000 Miles for Ex Bersama Lima,” Ministry of Defence Media Announcement, 11 November 2011. 84 “Two US Sailors Accused of Okinawa Rape,” The Guardian, 17 October 2012. 85 “Japan, US to Limit Legal Protection for Base Personnel,” Channel News Asia, 5 July 2016. 86 “Philippines Orders U.S. to Leave Strategic Navy Base at Subic Bay,” The New York Times, 28 December 1991. 87 Thomas C. Schelling, Arms and Influence, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1966, p. 53. 88 Rahman, Naval Cooperation and Coalition Building, pp. 16–23. 89 Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (CSCAP), “Maritime ­Confidence Building Measures, Trust and Managing Incidents at Sea,” ­Memorandum No. 25 June 2014, p. 2. 90 “China; Vietnam: Agreement Reached to Complete Land, Maritime Border ­Demarcation,” Global Legal Monitor, 3 November 2008. 91 Western Pacific Naval Symposium, Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) Version1, Qingdao, 22 April 2014. 92 Royal Australian Navy, “Partnerships Matter - Exercise Kakadu Wraps up in Darwin,” available at: http://news.navy.gov.au/en/Sep2018/KAKADU/4837/­ Par tnersh ips-matter- - -Exerc is e -Kakadu-w raps-up -i n-Dar w i n.ht m#. XBNOPGgzY2w, 14 December 2018. 93 Based on the author’s own experiences of participation with the U.S. Navy in combined naval exercises as a surface warfare officer in the Indian Navy. 94 North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, Multinational Maritime Tactical Signal and Maneuvering Book, MTP 1(D), Volume II, Standardization Agency, March 2003. 95 Shishir Upadhyaya, “Malacca Strait Security Initiative: Potential for Indian Navy’s Participation in the Evolving Regional Security Environment,” Maritime Affairs, Vol. 5 No. 2, Winter 2009, pp. 47–67. 96 “India Launches Operation Sahayata to Provide Relief to Myanmar,” IBN Live, 6 September 2014. 97 Amitav Acharya, “Power Shift or Paradigm Shift? China’s Rise and Asia’s Emerging Security Order,” International Studies Quarterly, Vol. 58, No. 2014, pp. 159–173. 98 Ibid. 99 “An unusual request from China’s Navy Chief,” The Hindu, 25 April 2014. 100 Government of India, Ministry of Defence, Annual Report 2006, March 2007, p. ?. 101 “India and the United States Sign the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA),” Press Information Bureau, 30 August 2016. 102 “China Confirms Sale of 8 Attack Submarines to Pak, First Delivery by 2023,” The Hindustan Times, 21 October 2016.

4 Maritime security cooperation with South Asian states

Since independence in 1947 until 1964, India’s naval exchanges were largely limited to friendly overseas visits by naval ships and the navy’s participation in the annual joint exercise at Trincomalee (JET) with the British Far East Fleet and other Commonwealth navies, including those of Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Ceylon, and Malaya.1 Subsequently, following ­budgetary constraints and relative inattention to maritime power by the government from the mid-1960s until the mid-1980s, which effectively relegated the Indian Navy to an “offshore territorial defence force,”2 the navy had limited cooperative engagements with other Indian Ocean navies until the end of the Cold War period. However, India’s maritime engagements have grown manifold in the past two decades, presently spanning the entire Indian Ocean region and including almost all major world navies. The national maritime vision announced by the Modi government for India to become a net a provider of security has provided the framework for the Indian Navy’s bilateral engagements with the other regional navies and has brought focus to India’s maritime strategy. This chapter examines India’s extant bilateral maritime security ties with the South Asian countries, including Bangladesh, India, the Maldives, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, and also discusses the contemporary Chinese influence on these states. It also analyses the strength of India’s bilateral maritime relations with the Indian Ocean states and discusses the challenges posed by China’s expanding influence in the region.

South Asia According to Barry Buzan, South Asia is a classic example of a “regional security complex,” that is, a set of states whose major security perceptions and concerns are so interlinked that their national security problems cannot reasonably be analysed or resolved apart from one another.3 India, as the largest state in South Asia, with relative economic might and historical and cultural linkages, enjoys significant influence across the region. Clearly, India’s relations with its neighbours are a crucial factor for security and stability in South Asia. However, the India-Pakistan animosity, which has

Maritime security and South Asian States  81 dominated the regional security scenario for over 70 years, has resulted in South Asia being the least economically integrated region in the world and a potential hotspot for nuclear war. Under the Modi government, India’s relations with its immediate neighbours have received greater focus than ever before, even though bilateral relations with Pakistan continue to remain troubled and aggravated. India’s desire to reinvigorate its relations with its neighbours has been manifestly influenced by a growing Chinese influence in the neighbourhood and an urgent need to wean the neighbouring states away from China. Prime Minister Modi signalled his government’s resolve to strengthen relations with neighbours by inviting all South Asian leaders to his swearing-in ceremony on 27 May 2014.4 It was expected that improved relations between India and its South Asia neighbours could strengthen defence and maritime cooperation. The present level of India’s maritime engagements with each of the South Asian states is discussed in the succeeding paragraphs along with an overview of China’s influence in each state. Pakistan India’s political and security relations with Pakistan, even in peacetime, could be characterised as hostile, tenuously maintained by a series of conventional and nuclear CBMs. Whilst Indo-Pakistan relations have been largely dominated by the Kashmir issue and cross-border terrorism, a long pending maritime dispute over the Sir Creek located in Kutch, the western most part of India bordering Sind in Pakistan, has received lesser attention. This is essentially a river boundary dispute, which, by extension, has an impact on the maritime boundary delineation. Pertinently, India has settled all maritime boundary issues amicably with its maritime neighbours except ­Pakistan. As a result of the long prevailing political tensions, the Indian Navy has had no cooperative engagements with the Pakistan Navy since the last British-led JET of 1964. In 2008, when the Indian Navy hosted the inaugural session of Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) at New Delhi, attended by over 26 representatives from regional states, the Pakistan Navy did not formally participate in the event. The Pakistan Navy eventually joined the IONS in 2014, evidently to avoid being singled out as an uncooperative regional state – since IONS had gained significant success and international recognition as a regional institution – and also hosted some working group meetings. Later, the Pakistan Navy did not participate in the International Fleet Review at Vishakhapatnam hosted by the Indian Navy in February 2016, a large-scale event attended by over 70 nations, including China, the United States, and Japan.5 In 2018, when India hosted a conference at Kochi to mark 10 years of IONS, the Pakistan Navy was not invited.6 Notwithstanding the lack of formal defence relations, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in 2006 between the Indian Coast Guard and the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (MSA) for exchange of information on maritime boundary violations by fishermen, intra-agency coordination

82  Maritime security and South Asian States on maritime search and rescue (SAR), and marine environment pollution serves as a significant link between India and Pakistan.7 Under the MoU, the heads of the Indian Coast Guard and Pakistan MSA meet annually and have also established a hotline link for regular exchange of information on non-military maritime issues.8 However, in 2019, the annual dialogue was cancelled following escalation in tensions in the aftermath of the February 2019 Pulwama terror attack. China’s defence cooperation with Pakistan, which commenced following the end of the 1962 Indo-China border, is manifestly driven by its desire to contain India. Since 2011, China has been a major supplier of arms to ­Pakistan. Between 2013 and 2018, the total value of Chinese arms exports to Pakistan is estimated at about $3.5 billion.9 To put these data in perspective, arms exports from the United States, Pakistan’s second largest supplier, amounted to just $493 million.10 Chinese-supplied arms include modern jet fighters, tanks, missiles, ships, and submarines. In 2018–19, the ­Pakistan government approved the purchase of eight Chinese Yuan-class diesel ­submarines with air-independent propulsion (AIP),11and four Type 054A (modified) frigates regarded as one of the most advanced multi-mission ships in the PLA Navy.12 Earlier key acquisitions include four F22P frigates with Harbin Z-9 shipborne helicopters, several fast attack craft, and missile boats fitted with Chinese anti-ship missiles. Further, the Pakistan Navy continues to build the Azmat-class missile fast attack craft using Chinese technology. Pakistan has also become the first country to be linked to ­China’s BeiDou Satellite Navigation System, a rival to the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS). In 2003, the Pakistan Navy held its first-ever combined naval exercise with the PLA Navy. Remarkably, this was PLAN’s first-ever exercise with a foreign country.13 Since then, the PLA Navy has participated in several naval exercises with the Pakistan Navy that have progressively increased in scope and the 2015 Sino-Pakistan naval exercise included anti-submarine operations for the first time.14 A steady “Sinicization” of the Pakistan Navy, including its submarine warfare tactics, is thus evident.15 At the centre of Sino-Pakistan naval cooperation is the strategically important Gwadar Port, in the Baluchistan province, developed as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) under China’s belt and road initiative. The port will be connected by rail and road to China, thus providing it an alternate route to the Indian Ocean. However, this venture is not without risks, and Pakistan will need to repay $40 billion to China over the next 20 years on the $26.5 billion investment.16 In the case of a default in payments – not unlikely given Pakistan’s economic situation – Pakistan could possibly forsake control of the Gwadar Port to China, as witnessed in Sri Lanka and other countries. But is Pakistan worried about such an eventuality? Probably not, according to former Pakistan diplomat Husain Haqqani, the military-backed regime in Islamabad believes that long-term or permanent strategic involvement of the Chinese would ­actually strengthen P ­ akistan’s national security. It is likely that Gwadar

Maritime security and South Asian States  83 could emerge as a Chinese naval base, although the extant security situation in Baluchistan poses considerable risks. On the whole, the Sino-Pakistan nexus poses the greatest threat to India in South Asia. Bangladesh Decades after India militarily intervened in Bangladesh and secured its liberation from Pakistan in 1971, its relationship has not been easy and “frequently strained by Islamic politics.”17 The 1972 Treaty of Peace and Friendship between India and Bangladesh, regarded as a “defence pact,” failed to promote defence relations and lapsed in 1997 (the treaty was valid for 25 years) having been neglected by the pro-China military regimes that governed Bangladesh.18 However, in recent times, India has taken rapid steps to normalise its relations with Bangladesh. A significant milestone was achieved in 2014, with the resolution of a long outstanding maritime boundary dispute between the two countries. This was followed with a­ nother landmark agreement between Delhi and Dhaka to implement the pending Land Boundary Agreement signed in 1974, involving the merger of 111 I­ ndian enclaves in Bangladesh in a land swap deal in June 2015.19 Evidently, Prime Minister Modi overrode nationalist political opposition, including within his own party, insisting that a resolution was in the national interest.20 Subsequently, during his visit to Bangladesh in June 2015, Modi and his counterpart, Sheikh Hasina, in a joint statement “agreed to work closely on the development of ocean-based blue economy and maritime cooperation in the Bay of Bengal and chart out ways for future cooperation.”21 The joint statement, however, made no mention of defence cooperation between the two countries, indicative of the initial stages of improved ties. However, in a significant development, in November 2015, the Bangladesh Chief of Navy, Admiral Habib, visited New Delhi for discussions on ­maritime cooperation. At a press conference, he announced “Since the delimitation of maritime border ­ ovember problem has been solved, we are now trying to cooperate.”22 In N 2016, the Indian defence minister, accompanied by senior defence officers, visited Dacca; the first-ever visit by an Indian defence minister to Bangladesh in over 45 years, to discuss defence and security cooperation. Later, in April 2017, when the Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina visited New Delhi, the two sides agreed to “strengthen and consolidate defence cooperation through greater military-to-military training and ­exchanges.”23 Although several MoUs to promote defence and security cooperation including a $500 million line of credit to Bangladesh for procurement of military hardware from India were signed during this visit, a formal defence cooperation agreement is yet to be concluded. Pertinently, Bangladesh had signed a defence cooperation agreement with China in 2002. Nevertheless, India has been quick to follow up on the goodwill generated by the resolution of the maritime border dispute and high-level political interactions with substantial maritime engagements, in order to dissuade Bangladesh

84  Maritime security and South Asian States from furthering its strategic engagements with China. Presently, the maritime cooperative engagements include training assistance and exchanges, staff talks, naval ships visits, and senior level interactions between the two navies and coast guards. In June 2018, India and ­Bangladesh agreed to ­institute annual naval coordinated patrols ­(CORPAT), a major step to improve ­operational cooperation.24 The Bangladesh Navy has demonstrated its willingness to contribute to regional multilateral efforts. It is a participant in the multinational exercise Milan hosted by the Indian Navy and also took over the Chairmanship of IONS in 2016. India’s efforts to reach out to Bangladesh by the Modi administration seem to have been enthusiastically received and reciprocated by the Sheikh Hasina government. Hasina has firmly controlled the internal security in Bangladesh and adopted an unequivocal position that “Bangladesh would not tolerate terrorism in any form and not allow its soil to be used against the interest of any country, particularly India.”25 This has boosted confidence in India, and it is likely that Indo-Bangladesh maritime cooperation will see further progress under Sheikh Hasina’s fourth term as prime minister following her party’s landslide election victory in January 2019. During the period of strained relations with India, Bangladesh had leaned towards China and, over time, China emerged as a strategic partner for Bangladesh, providing strong political support, economic assistance, and military partnership. In a pact signed with China, Bangladesh has undertaken not to allow its territory to be used by India in war or peacetime.26 Consequently, Bangladesh had refused to cooperate with India over railroad links and gas pipelines that could be seen as strengthening its logistics position in the vulnerable northeastern states facing China.27 Right from the beginning, China has also been the largest provider of arms to Bangladesh; in fact, Bangladesh is the second largest buyer of Chinese weapons globally after Pakistan. Chinese defence transfers include fighter planes, helicopters, ships, tanks, missiles, and artillery systems. Indeed, with the sole exception of the eight MiG-29 fighter planes acquired by the Bangladesh Air Force in 1999 from Russia, Chinese military hardware remains the backbone of the Bangladeshi defence forces.28 Presently, Bangladesh is in the process of modernising its armed forces under a national programme, “Forces Goal 2030,” and the Bangladesh Navy is in the midst of a transformation from a coastal defence force into a modern “three-dimensional” navy.29 This includes fast-track procurement of two each new corvettes and Ming-class submarines from China, with several other ships in the pipeline.30 Following Modi’s visit to Dhaka in 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Bangladesh in 2016. This event was dubbed as the beginning of “a new historical starting point” in China-Bangladesh relations.31 During this visit, President Jinping pledged $24 billion to Bangladesh in economic aid as lines of credit for 24 projects. Bangladesh officially joined the BRI, and both the countries agreed to further cooperation in various areas, such as overland and maritime connectivity, infrastructure development, industrial

Maritime security and South Asian States  85 capacity cooperation, energy and power, transportation, ­information and communication technology, and agriculture.32 China is currently engaged in the development of the Chittagong port along with several other infrastructure projects. Notwithstanding the close S ­ ino-Bangladesh ties, the Sheikh Hasina government seems to have taken care not to antagonise India and Prime Minister Hasina recently stated that India does not have to worry about Dhaka’s close ties with Beijing since their cooperation was only meant for the country’s development.33 In a recent development, ostensibly to placate India, the Bangladesh government cancelled a ­Chinese port project at Sonadia and awarded India a new port project at Payra closer to the its coastline.34 Besides Payra, India has also invested in Mongla and Chittagong ports, all of which have important ­economic and security implications for both the countries.35 Maldives India has had close and wide-ranging relations with the Maldives, including strong defence and security ties, which were strengthened following the military intervention by India in 1988 to overturn an attempted coup and restore the government under President Gayoom. Under Gayoom who continuously remained in power for 30 years, India enjoyed considerable goodwill and influence in the Maldives. As a small country, the Maldives was almost entirely dependent upon India for maritime security in its vast exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and for its defence requirements. India’s defence cooperation with the Maldives was formalised in August 2009 with the signing of a comprehensive defence and security cooperation agreement. Following the defence agreement, India was granted privileged access to the Gan Atoll in the southern Maldives, a former British naval and air base during World War II and even later.36 Over the years, India’s defence engagements with the Maldives expanded to include regular visits by military delegations, training assistance, combined exercises between the two coast guards, naval surveillance in the Maldivian EEZ, and hydrographic assistance. In recent years, India built a system of 26 coastal surveillance radars across the Maldivian archipelago, which are networked with the Indian coastal radar system and integrated with India’s National Command Control Communication Intelligence Network (N3CIN) and the Information Fusion Centre (IFC) at Gurgaon, near New Delhi.37 Furthermore, around 2014, India had even gifted the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF), two advanced light helicopters and a small amphibious vessel for the navy.38 In 2008, Gayoom lost to Mohamed Nasheed in the country’s first m ­ ultiparty elections. However, Nasheed was deposed in a coup in 2012 and replaced by Abdulla Yameen. Under the new government, India’s political and military influence started waning as President Yameen actively sought to promote close relations with China, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia over ­India and from 2013 onwards China’s economic and strategic ties with

86  Maritime security and South Asian States the Maldives expanded rapidly. In September 2014, Chinese President Xi ­Jinping visited the Maldives, the first-ever Chinese leader to visit the country. Maldives signed up for the BRI and also passed a crucial land reform bill in the parliament that allowed foreign entities to procure land in the Maldives.39 The land reform bill made it possible for foreigners to buy land in the Maldives, provided they invested more than $1 billion and provided that 70 per cent of any land was reclaimed from the Indian Ocean. This paved the way for large-scale Chinese investments in the Maldives. In 2018, former President Nasheed, opposing the Yameen government policies, had stressed that China had acquired 17 islands in the Maldives.40 Chinese economic engagements mainly included tourism and large-scale infrastructure projects. It was reported that in 2015, over 360,000 Chinese tourists visited the Maldives, accounting for more than 30 per cent of the total visitors.41 Key infrastructure projects include upgradation of the Male international airport and the building of the China-Maldives Friendship Bridge, the Maldives first sea-crossing bridge connecting Male to islands of Hulhumale and Hulhule, where the country’s international airport is located. Other important projects include the development of a port and an industrial zone on the northernmost Ihavandhippolhu Atoll, and an ocean observatory facility which could be a potential intelligence monitoring post at Makunudhoo in the north.42 This is located about 720 kilometres south of the Lakshadweep Islands of India, overlooking the strategic Nine Degree Channel. As a result of growing Chinese control over the Yameen government, Indo-Maldives maritime cooperation was adversely impacted. In 2018, the Maldivian government requested India to withdraw its two advanced light helicopters that had been earlier gifted to the Maldives. The helicopters stationed at Hanimazdhoo, in the northern group of the Maldives islands and at Addu in the south were manned by an India crew to assist the MNDF in the conduct of SAR and medical evacuation since 2014.43 Further, in 2018, the Maldives Navy, which had been a regular participant in the Milan series of multinational naval exercises hosted by India, declined participation in Milan 2018 – evidently under pressure from China – citing internal security problems. These developments and other measures, such as the withholding of work permits of Indian workers by the Maldivian immigration authorities, seem to have deeply infuriated New Delhi, damaging bilateral ties. Significantly, in June 2018, a Maldivian member of the parliament and leader of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives, travelling to India for medical treatment, was denied entry at the Chennai airport and deported.44 Under Yameen, China’s rapidly growing economic engagements and ­political influence with the Maldives also saw the country being pushed into a “debt trap,” and India’s relations with the Maldives were troubled. As a result of China’s projects in the Maldives, the country’s debt expanded from 73 per cent of GDP in 2015 to around 109 per cent in 2018, making the ­Maldives one of the most indebted states to China.45 Amidst protests from

Maritime security and South Asian States  87 the opposition, Yameen tried to consolidate and strengthen his position, putting several dissidents in jail but was eventually defeated by Ibrahim ­Mohamed Solih in 2018 elections. Prime Minister Modi, in his first-ever visit to Male, attended the swearing-in ceremony of President Solih. President Solih has sought to quickly repair the damaged relationship with India, and during his maiden foreign visit – after taking over office – to New Delhi in ­December 2018, he described India as the “closest friend” of Male.46 India has pledged financial aid of $1.4 billion to help Maldives repay its $3.2 billion debt to China.47 New Delhi’s swift offer for a bailout package obviously indicates that the support is not unfettered. Evidently, without the economic aid from India announced in 2018, the Maldives could have defaulted on its debt and forced to hand over state assets to China. On the whole, India’s relations with the Maldives seem to be back on track and the Solih government is taking urgent steps to improve ties with India, including revoking the land reform bill. But countering Chinese influence has proved to be an expensive proposition for India. As flat, low-lying coral atolls, the Maldives is highly vulnerable to the impact of climate change and rising sea levels and are thus faced with a future that is considerably gloomier than almost all other regional states. It is obvious that the Maldives desperately needs international support to deal with the wide range of challenges facing them. For instance, in 2014, when the Maldives was overwhelmed by a water crisis following a major fire in the country’s desalination plant, it reached out to India, China, the United States, and Sri Lanka for assistance. India was the first to respond, pressing into service five air force planes and two naval ships.48 Pertinently, within days of India’s assistance, China was also able to deliver over 1,000 tons of fresh water using civilian aircraft and a PLA Navy auxiliary ship.49 Although India, as the aspiring net security provider for the region, has conducted regular surveillance missions in the Maldivian EEZ in collaboration with the MNDF and also provided assistance whenever required, it may not always be in a position to bear complete responsibility for the security of the Maldives. Consequently, it would be difficult for India to justifiably dissuade the Maldivians, should desperate measures demand, from reaching out to China or other states for any support, including assistance from the PLA Navy. It would, therefore, be in India’s interests to f­ acilitate alternate funding options for Maldives and the Asia-Africa Growth ­Corridor (AAGC) led jointly by India and Japan provides such an opportunity. At the same time, India must build up its own maritime capacity in the ­Lakshadweep Islands to augment its regional presence and strengthen its security relationship with the Maldives. Strategic significance of the Lakshadweep Islands India’s central location in the Indian Ocean is further enhanced geostrategically by its two island chains, the Lakshadweep and Minicoy Islands

88  Maritime security and South Asian States in the southwest and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the southeast. ­Potentially, the island chains could allow India to further project its ­maritime power deep into the Indian Ocean. However, as noted earlier, a general neglect of the maritime domain by the India’s political leadership, long ­accused of a continentalist mindset, has resulted in both the ­islands chains being largely undeveloped and underexploited. Evidently, the ­government has only recently turned their gaze to the maritime sphere, but not long enough to view the islands in the same form as mainland India. The Lakshadweep Islands are located approximately 200 to 440 k ­ ilometres from the southwest coast of India, close to the new naval base at Karwar and Kochi where the Indian Navy’s Southern Naval Command is located. This archipelago comprises a group of 39 small islands (including three reefs and five submerged sandy banks), with a total land area of just 32 square kilometres. However, the geographical spread of the islands gives India about 20,000 square kilometres of territorial seas and an EEZ of approximately 400,000 square kilometres. Only ten of these islands are inhabited, with the total population slightly over 60,000, and lack adequate civil and military infrastructure despite their immense strategic location overlooking the Nine Degree Channel that separates them from the Maldives. The islands also lack major military assets. The three naval detachments at Minicoy, Kavaratti, and Androth function as naval outposts with minimal infrastructure, while the Indian Coast Guard district headquarters are located at Kavaratti. A fourth naval detachment was sanctioned by the government at Bitra in 2014.50 The sole airfield at Agatti Island is suited only for medium-­ range turboprop aircraft, such as the Dornier; evidently, a proposal to extend the runway to operate larger aircraft, such as the Navy’s Boeing P8I, has been pending for want of environmental clearances.51 Far from providing a “springboard” for India to projects its maritime power, the Lakshadweep Islands are barely equipped to tackle the prevailing maritime threats in the region, and their vulnerability to security threats from non-state actors has been exposed on several occasions. For instance, in 2008, following the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, it was reported that the terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) was trying to use the islands as “springboards for launching further attacks on the Indian mainland,” and later in 2010 Somali pirates hijacked a Bangladeshi merchant ship about 60 miles from the Lakshadweep Islands.52 However, despite the security threats, no significant upgradation in the naval infrastructure was reported. Evidently, India’s general neglect of the strategic importance of the Lakshadweep ­Islands could also be attributed to the period of close security ties with the Maldives, which lasted until 2013; this may have led to complacency on part of naval planners. The arrival of the Chinese is a definite “wake-up” call, and in order for India to project its maritime power and play the role of a net security provider, it is imperative that the maritime infrastructure in the Lakshadweep Islands is rapidly upgraded.

Maritime security and South Asian States  89 Sri Lanka India’s strategic defence relations with Sri Lanka go back to the early 1980s when India was involved in the civil war between the Sinhalese majority population and the Tamil separatist group, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Following the destruction of the LTTE in 2009, even though Sri Lanka no longer requires India’s military support, India has maintained a high level of military engagement. The end of the two-decade-old conflict in Sri Lanka has also helped to promote India’s efforts in other economic sectors, such as housing, infrastructure, education, health, agriculture, fisheries, and industry. India’s relations with Sri Lanka in recent times have also been marked by high-level political visits. The Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa visited India in May 2014 to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Modi, followed by Modi’s reciprocal visit to Sri Lanka in March 2015. In addition to high-level political meetings, there have been regular meetings between the defence ministers and service chiefs of each country. India’s naval engagements with Sri Lanka virtually span the entire range of maritime cooperation activities, including training, ship visits, staff talks, information exchange, supply of military hardware such as ships and aircraft, hydrographic assistance, and exercises involving the Indian Navy and Coast Guard. Sri Lanka is a member of the October 2011 trilateral agreement with India and the Maldives for maritime security cooperation. Under the agreement, the three countries have agreed, inter alia, to share information on the movement of shipping through the region under a common software platform. Sri Lanka is also a member of IONS and a regular participant in the Milan exercise series. The Indian Navy has conducted an exclusive bilateral exercise Slinex with Sri Lanka since 2005, while the Indian Coast Guard conducts an annual joint exercise codenamed Dosti with the MNDF along with the Sri Lankan Coast Guard.53 Both the Indian Navy and Coast Guard also participate in an annual trilateral international maritime boundary line meeting with the Sri Lankan Navy.54 In addition to operational engagements, the Indian Navy regularly conducts training for officers and ratings from the Sri Lankan Navy. Pertinently, personnel from the Sri Lankan Navy form the largest group of foreigners trained by the Indian Navy. For instance, in 2005, of a total of 409 foreign personnel trained, 300 were from Sri Lanka.55 This trend continues even today. Sri Lanka has also been the largest recipient of Indian military aid and exports.56 The largest ship in the Sri Lankan Navy, SLNS Sayura, is an offshore patrol vessel (OPV) gifted by India in 2000. Presently, the Sri Lanka Navy has two ­Barracuda-class OPVs on order from India.57 Further, in 2014, India signed a contract for the sale of two indigenously constructed advanced OPVs to the Sri Lankan Navy; both supplied in 2017 and 2018.58 Sri Lanka’s strategic position overlooking Indian Ocean shipping lanes makes it an important location along China’s maritime silk road, which Sri

90  Maritime security and South Asian States Lanka joined in the end of 2017. Beijing has thus been keen to expand its influence in Colombo and has dramatically increased its financial investments in Sri Lanka to the tune of $5 billion.59 Most of this funding was in the form of loans aimed at large-scale infrastructure development projects, such as the Hambantota port and airport and the Colombo port city and highways. According to certain analysts, Chinese investments in Sri Lanka have largely been “poorly-planned and frivolous” and have failed to stimulate the economy or generate any benefits for the citizens.60 Whilst Chinese investments in Sri Lanka, particularly the development of Hambantota Port, were viewed with suspicion in India, they were generally acknowledged as part of Sri Lanka’s post-war reconstruction efforts. However, in late 2014, under the Rajapaksa government, the visit of a PLA Navy Song-class conventional submarine and a Type 925 submarine support ship, Changxing Dao, which docked at the Chinese-run Colombo International Container Terminal (CICT) en route to the Gulf of Aden for anti-piracy operations, raised alarm in New Delhi. The employment of a submarine for anti-piracy patrols by itself was considered an unreasonable and bizarre excuse by the PLA Navy and clearly seen as an attempt by China to “test the waters” in India’s neighbourhood, maybe to ascertain how far Colombo could go to support a key investor. The idea of China gaining privileged access to Sri Lankan ports as a matter of routine unnerved New Delhi, and India, supported by the United States, is suspected by some to have orchestrated the fall of the Rajapaksa government in the following elections.61 The new government in Sri Lanka has made it clear that Chinese submarines are no longer welcome. The Sri Lankan foreign minister is reported to have stated, whilst addressing a press conference, I really don’t know under what sort of circumstances the submarines came to Colombo on the same day when Japanese Prime Minister (Shinzo Abe) visited Sri Lanka but we will ensure such incidents from which ever quarter do not happen during our tenure.62 It is unlikely that the PLA Navy, particularly submarines, would be welcomed again in Sri Lanka in the near future. However, after suspending Chinese investments for over the year, the new government under President Sirisena, faced with falling foreign reserves, a balance of payments crisis and few, if any, alternative investors, turned back to Beijing. In February 2016, a government spokesperson stated that “the stance on China has completely changed … Who else is going to bring us money, given tight conditions in the West?”63 Eventually, in December 2017, unable to repay its debts to China, after protracted negotiations, Sri Lanka formally handed over the port of Hambantota and 1,500 acres of land to China on lease for 99 years. In 2019, Sri Lanka faces a record debt of $5.9 billion to China and is still struggling to service its payments.64 However, the Sri Lankan government maintains that the port will not be used for military purposes. In the end of 2018, in a

Maritime security and South Asian States  91 surprising development that seems to indicate Beijing’s political clout and involvement in Colombo, the Sri Lankan President Sirisena sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and appointed Rajapaksa as the new prime minister. However, the Supreme Court ruled against the President’s decision terming it as “unconstitutional” and eventually reinstated Wickremesinghe back in office. It is likely that such interference in Sri Lanka’s internal affairs by Beijing could be seen in coming years. On balance, it appears that the scope and depth of India’s multi-faceted and historical ties with Sri Lanka has provided New Delhi with significant strategic influence and political sway in Colombo, surpassing China’s ­recent influence. India’s “thoughtful” economic assistance programmes for Sri Lanka, though smaller than China’s, are reported to have ­generated far greater benefits to the Sri Lankan people than the large-scale and ­sometimes infructuous infrastructure projects by Chinese companies. India has invested a total of $1 billion since 2003 and in 2013 committed $2 billion over five years in vital sectors, including transportation, telecommunications, health care, energy, banking, and tourism.65 Moreover, as highlighted above, India has established a wide-ranging and exclusive security relationship with Sri Lanka, an area where China has had limited engagements. Overall assessment of India’s maritime cooperation in South Asia South Asia is a region of core interest to India. It is clear from the above examination that India’s strategic influence in Sri Lanka and the Maldives has considerably strengthened in recent time. India’s defence ties with ­Bangladesh are also seen as progressively evolving, supported by the ­current Hasina government. However, Bangladesh is likely to remain dependent upon China for military hardware and it is likely that China – having failed to counter India’s influence in the Maldives and Sri Lanka – would seek to expand its security ties with Bangladesh, probably with support from ­Pakistan, to undermine India’s emerging security ties. India’s bilateral ­relations with Pakistan will continue to remain hostile in the foreseeable future and the growing Sino-Pakistan nexus remains the greatest challenge to I­ ndia’s security in South Asia. In recent years, Sino-India competition for influence in South Asia has intensified and regional states such as the Maldives and Sri Lanka, caught in the geopolitical “tug of war,” have witnessed greater interference in their domestic affairs from both powers. In the long run, this Sino-Indian contest could restrict the agency of small states – not just in South Asia but the entire region – to their own detriment and impact regional stability. Large Chinese investments flowing into small states have exacerbated the risk of “debt traps” and could potentially result in China taking over a country’s strategic assets as in the case of Sri Lanka. This has forced India to ­focus its economic and military resources to maintain close security relations within South Asia, matching even China’s massive investments in Sri Lanka and

92  Maritime security and South Asian States the Maldives. However, India maritime strategy to establish a network of exclusive security relations with its friendly maritime neighbours and to provide security assistance “on demand” could be expensive and difficult to sustain in the long term, particularly if it is being supported and sustained distantly from mainland India. A long-term strategic engagement with the region would entail involvement in various complicated sub-regional security dynamics, going far beyond the routine ship deployments and training assistance programmes. The long-term trends in maritime security in the Indian Ocean region, as discussed earlier in this book, are clearly worrisome and a sensitive issue with most littoral states, which are increasingly finding themselves vulnerable to wide-ranging threats and challenges. As a net security provider for the region, those states would expect India to increasingly meet their maritime security requirements, including surveillance, hydrographic assistance, counterterrorism, and supply of defence hardware. A similar strategy followed by Australia with respect to the ­Pacific Island countries involving supply of the Pacific Patrol Boats and regular maritime surveillance missions has proven expensive and difficult to sustain. Evidently, over time, Australian Defence Force commitments in the Middle East and other areas around Australia led to a decline in the reliability of Australia’s ­contribution to the Pacific Island states’ maritime security requirements. Australia’s operational limitations were viewed as indifference on their part to augmenting regional maritime security. Thus, the Indian strategy to be the net security provider could face similar challenges in the future and possibly backfire on India in the long term. This could even provide China a chance to step in as a more dependable security partner. In recent years, India appears to have achieved a high level of cooperation with the Maldives and Sri Lanka promoted by close political compatibility and regular defence engagements. It is unlikely that Chinese economic commitments in these countries would replace India’s wide-ranging security relations in the near term, although attempts by China to subvert India’s influence in South Asia are likely to continue without regard to India’s sensitivities. Clearly, in order to retain current levels of strategic influence in South Asia, particularly in the Maldives and Sri Lanka, and fulfil its role as the “net security provider,” India must add greater force to its diplomatic efforts. Evidently, India’s initial approach to exercise benign leadership over the region, remotely from New Delhi, over time seems to have weakened ­India’s strategic influence. Strategic neglect of the Lakshadweep Islands also seems to have adversely impacted India’s maritime influence in South Asia. On balance, an assertion by India to establish a naval base in the ­Maldives or Sri Lanka to support and sustain naval operations could, therefore, be in order. India could also seek to build a case for exclusive bilateral agreements to limit Chinese military engagements as a pre-condition to receive economic and military support from India. Alternatively, discussions on a treaty or proclamation of neutrality by the regional states as a necessary safeguard to Indian interests could be necessary. As discussed earlier in this

Maritime security and South Asian States  93 book, for long, India’s pacifist approach in politics and diplomacy has paved the way for increased Chinese presence and control within India’s core ­region of influence in South Asia. Therefore, for India, proactive m ­ ilitary diplomacy seems to be the best policy option to counter Chinese influence in South Asia.

Notes 1 Vice Admiral G.M. Hiranandini, Transition to Guardianship: Indian Navy 1991– 2000, Lancer Publications, New Delhi, 2009, p. xix. 2 Eric Grove, “The Ranking of Smaller Navies Revisited,” in Michael Mulqueen, Deborah Sanders and Ian Speller, eds., Small Navies: Strategy and Policy for Small Navies in War and Peace, Ashgate, Farnham, 2014, pp. 15–20. 3 Barry Buzan, Ole Waever and Jaap de Wilde, Security: A New Framework for Analysis, Lynne Rienner Publishers, London, 1998, pp. 10–11. 4 “In a First, Modi Invites SAARC Leaders for His Swearing-in,” The Hindi, 21 May 2014. 5 “Pakistan Navy not Invited for International Fleet Review in Vizag,” The Hindu, 23 July 2015. 6 “India Keeps Pakistan Out of 10-year Celebration of Naval Symposium,” The Times of India, 16 November 2018. 7 Indian Coast Guard, “Message No. 11 from DG ICG,” 1 February 2006, available at http://indiancoastguard.nic.in/indiancoastguard/dgcg/message2.html. 8 “DG Pakistan Maritime Security Agency Arrives for Annual Dialog with DG Indian Coast Guard,” SP’s Naval Forces, 18 December 2014. 9 Filippo Boni, “Protecting the Belt and Road Initiative: China’s Cooperation with Pakistan to Secure CPEC,” Asia Policy, Vol. 14, No. 2, April 2019, p. 7. 10 Ibid. 11 “Pakistan in Talks with China ‘for Eight Submarines,” IHS Jane’s Navy International, 31 March 2015. 12 “China Building “Most Advanced” Naval Warships For Pakistan: Report,” NDTV, 2 January 2019. 13 Dr. Ghulam Ali, “China Pakistan Naval Cooperation: Implication for the ­Indian Ocean,” South Asia Watch, 2 January 2019, available at https://southasiawatch. tw/china-pakistan-naval-cooperation-implication-for-the-indian-ocean.html. 14 Ibid. 15 Koh Swee Lean Collin, “China and Pakistan Join Forces under the Sea,” The National Interest, 7 January 2016. 16 “Pakistan to Pay China $40b on $26.5b CPEC Investments in 20 Years,” Tribune, 26 December 2018. 17 David Brewster, India’s Ocean: The Story of India’s Bid for Regional Leadership, Routledge, London, 2014, p. 45. 18 Joyeeta Bhattacharjee, India-Bangladesh Defence Cooperation: Coming of Age, At Last? ORF Issue Brief, New Delhi, 26 July 2018, p. 2. 19 “Celebrations in Bangladesh over Enclave Exchange with India,” The Hindustan Times, 3 August 2015. 20 Indrani Bagchi, “India, Bangladesh Sign Historic Land Boundary Agreement, End 41-Year-Long Misery of 50,000 Stateless People,” The Times of India, 6 July 2015. 21 Government of India, “Joint Declaration between Bangladesh and India ­during Visit of Prime Minister of India to Bangladesh Notun Projonmo – Nayi Disha,” 7 June 2015, Ministry of External Affairs, available at http://www.mea.gov.in/

94  Maritime security and South Asian States

22 23

24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48

bilateral-documents.htm?dtl/25346/Joint_Declaration_between_­Bangladesh_ and_India_during _Visit_of_Prime_Minister_of_India_to_Bangladesh_ quot_N.html. “Bangladesh Keen on Enhancing Cooperation with Indian Navy,” The Times of India, 2 November 2015. Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs, “India-Bangladesh Joint Statement during the State Visit of Prime Minister of Bangladesh to India,” Ministry of External Affairs, 8 April 2017, available at https:// mea.gov.in/­b ilateral-documents.htm?dtl/28362/India__Bangladesh_Joint_­ Statement_during_the_State_Visit_of_Prime_Minister_of_Bangladesh_to_­ India_April_8_2017.html. “India, Bangladesh Navies to Join Hands,” The Hindu, 24 June 2018. Syed Muazzem Ali, “India-Bangladesh Ties: Scaling New Heights,” 10 March 2018. Mohan Malik, China and India: Great Power Rivals, First Forum Press, Hawaii, 2011, pp. 299–302. Ibid. Sreeradha Datta, “Bangladesh’s Relations with China and India: A Comparative Study,” Strategic Analysis, Vol. 32, No. 5, September 2008, p. 763. “Extended Reach: Bangladeshi Naval Modernisation,” IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, 22 April 2015. Ibid. Sultana Yasmin, “The Changing Dynamics of China-Bangladesh Relations,” The Daily Star, 11 November 2018. Ibid. “India has Nothing to Worry about China-Bangla Ties: Sheikh Hasina,” The Economic Times, 21 February 2018. “India to Develop Payra Port in Bangladesh,” 5 June 2016, available at http:// www.newscast-pratyaksha.com/english/india-develop-payra-port.html. “India has been an Enthusiastic Cheerleader for Sheikh Hasina and Promises to do More in the Coming Five Years,” The Times of India, 5 January 2019. Brewster, India’s Ocean, p. 45. Shishir Upadhyaya, “Damage Control: India’s Coastal Security Post 26/11,” IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, 13 January 2014. Government of India, Annual Report 2014–15, Ministry of Defence, New Delhi, 2015, p. 36. “Maldives Foreign Land Ownership Reform Bill is Approved,” BBC, 23 July 2015. David Brewster, Between Giants: The Sino-Indian Cold War in the Indian Ocean, Ifri Centre for Asian Studies, Paris, December 2018, p. 19. Darshan. M. Baruah, “Modi’s Trip and China’s Islands: The Battle for the ­Indian Ocean,” The Diplomat, 11 March 2015. Ibid., pp. 18–19. Government of India, Annual Report 2013–14, Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi, 2014, p. 37. “Wuhan Consensus: Why India Can’t Let Maldives Adrift,” The Economic Times, 17 June 2018. Brewster, Between Giants, p. 19. “India is the Closest Friend of the Maldives: President Ibrahim Mohamed ­Solih,” The Hindu, 16 December 2018. Brewster, Between Giants, p. 19. “Maldives Water Crisis: India Transports 1,000 Tonnes of Fresh Water to Male,” NDTV, 7 December 2014.

Maritime security and South Asian States  95 49 “China Follows India, Rushes Water to Crisis-hit Maldives,” The Economic Times, 7 December 2014. 50 “Lakshadweep to be Developed as Strategic Outpost for Navy,” The Mint, 3 December 2014. 51 Balaji Chandramohan, India’s Lakshadweep Islands to Grow in Strategic ­Importance, Future Directions International Strategic Analysis Paper, Perth, 30 August 2018, p. 5. 52 Pushpita Gupta, “Need to Secure the Lakshadweep Islands,” Institute of ­Defence Studies and Analyses Comment, 13 December 2010. 53 Government of India, Annual Report 2013–14, Ministry of Defence, New Delhi, 2014, p. 33. 54 Government of India, Annual Report 2010–11, Ministry of Defence, New Delhi, 2012, p. 36. 55 Government of India, Annual Report 2004– 05, Ministry of Defence, New Delhi, 2005, p. 51. 56 “Indian Defence Exports,” Q-Tech Synergy, 14 April 2015. 57 “After Mauritius, India to Export Warships to Sri Lanka,” India Today, 29 July 2014. 58 Government of India, Ministry of Defence, “GSL Delivers 2nd AOPV to Sri Lankan Navy Ahead of Schedule,” Press Information, Bureau, 23 March 2018. 59 Sameer Lalwani, “China’s Port to Nowhere,” Foreign Affairs Snapshot, 8 April 2015. 60 Ibid. 61 “Former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa Blames India for his Election Defeat,” DNA Newspaper, 13 March 2015. 62 “Following Indian Objections, Sri Lanka not to let Chinese Submarines to Dock in its Ports!” Asian Tribune, 1 March 2015. 63 “Short of Options, Sri Lanka Turns back to Beijing’s Embrace,” Economic Times, 11 February 2016. 64 “Lanka Struggling to Prepay Record Foreign Debt: PM,” The Time of India, 11 January 2019. 65 Lalwani, “China’s Port to Nowhere,”.

5 Maritime security cooperation with West Asian states

India enjoys close historical and cultural ties with most West Asian countries. The West Asia region has immense strategic importance for India for two main reasons. First, over two-thirds of India’s burgeoning energy ­requirements are sourced from this region (Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, and the UAE have traditionally been amongst India’s top oil suppliers) and, ­second, because the region is home to more than nine million Indians who contribute around $35 billion in remittances annually.1 In 2016–17, India’s bilateral trade with the whole region amounted to $110 billion, making West Asia the largest trading block in the Indian Ocean region for India.2 Consequently, India is an important stakeholder in the security of the region, keeping a close watch on regional security developments such as the activities of the terror groups, including the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the Al-Qaeda, and the post–Arab Spring environment. The trouble spots in West Asia and Middle-East regions include Syria, Libya, Israel, Palestine, and Lebanon, where the Indian Navy has been repeatedly involved in the evacuation of Indian workers from the region. In 1990, during the First Gulf War, India evacuated over 176,000 Indian nationals from the region. Later in 2006, during the Israel-Hezbollah conflict, in an operation codenamed Sukoon, the navy successfully evacuated almost 2,000 civilians,3 and in April 2015, it evacuated 4,640 Indian workers from Yemen under an operation codenamed Rahaat.4 In addition to naval evacuations, India has evacuated its workers form the region several times using commercial airlines. Following the events of the Arab Spring in 2011, Indians were evacuated from Libya and Egypt and in 2014 from Libya and Iraq.5 India’s maritime security ties with each of the littoral states in West Asia: Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Yemen, and their recent engagements with China are discussed in this section.

Bahrain The Kingdom of Bahrain is a small country with an area of 765 square ­k ilometres and a population of about 1.2 million which includes nearly 350,000 Indian worker population (60 per cent in the category of unskilled

Maritime security and West Asian States  97 labour), providing an anchor to India’s bilateral relations with Bahrain. ­Evidently, Indian nationals enjoy huge goodwill amongst the local population, and in 2015, in recognition of the contribution of the Indian workers, the authorities established a “Little India” enclave in Manama, the capital city.6 India’s relations with the Kingdom of Bahrain have been cordial, but exchanges have been relatively sparse and limited to ministerial-level visits with the exception of the visit by the King of Bahrain in 2014. In February 2015, during the first India-Bahrain Joint Commission meeting at New Delhi, both sides decided to expand defence and security cooperation and start negotiations on a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).7 Although an agreement to commence security cooperation to combat international terrorism and drug smuggling was concluded in 2018, bilateral defence ­cooperation is yet to be formalised. Consequently, India’s naval engagements with Bahrain are limited to occasional ship visits and are devoid of formal staff talks, training exchanges, or naval exercises. Bahrain’s naval and coast guard forces have traditionally trained with the U.K. Royal Navy and the German Bundesmarine whilst U.S. personnel ­provide specialist training.8 Bahrain has been a close American ally since the 1970s. Following 9/11, Bahrain was elevated to “major non-NATO ally” status, making it the first Gulf country state to join this exclusive 15-­member group.9 Manama, Bahrain, is the headquarters for the U.S. Fifth Fleet, whose area of responsibility spans the Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea, Red Sea, and part of the Indian Ocean. Manama also served as an important base for the U.S. joint operations during the 1991 Gulf War, the 2001 war in A ­ fghanistan, and the 2003 war in Iraq. Presently, as the U.S. military conducts operations against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, the Fifth Fleet continues to play a crucial role in America’s strategic posture in the West Asian region. In 2013, the U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) reportedly spent $500 million to modernise the naval infrastructure at Bahrain, including training facilities.10 It is evident that the large presence and support of the U.S. Navy (USN) in Bahrain has precluded the scope and interest for defence cooperation with India. However, it is expected that with the signing of a defence cooperation agreement, there could be some progress on maritime ­cooperation. Furthermore, the recent decision to position an Indian Navy representative at the USCENTOM office in Bahrain11 could help to ­promote closer linkages. China’s relations with Bahrain relative to other Gulf states have been ­limited. In 2014, during the visit of the King of Bahrain to China, the two countries publicly announced a commitment to increase trade. Subsequently, in July 2018, Bahrain signed an MoU with China to participate in the belt and road initiative (BRI) along with several other agreements to progress various economic and business activities. Even though Bahrain has fewer natural resources compared to other Gulf states, its strategic l­ocation as the “Gateway” to the Persian Gulf not only makes it a key point along the maritime silk road12 and also offers China an untapped consumer market.

98  Maritime security and West Asian States Overall, the extant level of engagement between the China and Bahrain is assessed to be low, evidently, restricted by the predominant American strategic interests and military presence in the country.

Iran India-Iran relations are founded on close historical ties, and the two c­ ountries that had a common border until 1947 have several common ­features in their culture, language, and traditions.13 From a strategic perspective, Iran is an important country in the Persian Gulf for India. India-Iran trade has been largely dominated by import of Iranian crude oil. For instance, the India-Iran bilateral trade in 2016–17 was $12.89 billion, including $10.5 billion worth of crude oil. Pertinently, India has continued to import oil from Iran even following the imposition of Western economic and trade sanctions. In recent years, bilateral ties between India and Iran have expanded, marked by frequent interactions at the highest levels, including a visit by Prime ­Minister Modi to Tehran in May 2016 which included signing of the Chabahar port development contract by India committing an investment of $500 million.14 Presently, India is engaged in two ambitious infrastructure ­projects in Iran: the International North South Transit Corridor (­INSTC) for multimodal transportation and the development of the port of Chabahar. The INSTC is the shortest route for multimodal transportation connecting the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf via Iran to Russia, Central Asia, and E ­ urope and could potentially compete with China’s BRI.15 The road connecting the port of Chabahar to four cities in Afghanistan, Herat, Kandahar, Kabul, and Mazar-e-Sharif was made operational in 2016,16 and in October 2017, the first consignment of Wheat shipment by India to ­A fghanistan was flagged off from Chabahar. This project appeared to have the tacit support of the United States, keen to promote an alternative route to Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan, and have been waived from the extant sanctions.17 The Chabahar project will not only boost India’s trade with Central Asia and others through Iran but also serve American interests. On the U.S. State Department sanction waiver, an official once stated, This [sanction] exception relates to reconstruction assistance and economic development for Afghanistan. These activities are vital for the ongoing support of Afghanistan’s growth and humanitarian relief.18 It is obvious that an Indian presence at the port of Chahbahar has ­i mmense security implications in the Persian Gulf. Pakistan has expressed grave ­concerns about any Indian presence in Afghanistan, which it claims is ­being exploited by Indian intelligence agencies to provide tacit support to i­ nsurgents in Baluchistan in West Pakistan (where the Chinese built G ­ wadar port is located).19 Whilst India’s involvement in the region so far has been commercial, it could be speculated upon that a naval involvement might be possible

Maritime security and West Asian States  99 in the future. A strategic partnership vision document signed between India and Iran in January 2003 mentioned defence ­cooperation in certain “agreed areas, including training and exchange of visits.”20 ­However, presently, India’s naval cooperation with Iran is generally ­limited to exchanges of visits by senior officials and ship visits with few, if any, training exchanges. In the past, the Indian Navy is also known to have provided technical assistance related to replacement of submarine batteries to help resolve problems encountered by the Iranian Navy whilst operating in the hot Gulf conditions, with respect to the Russian Kilo-class submarines that are also operated by the Indian Navy.21 Indian naval ships have visited Iranian ports occasionally and even conducted PASSEX or “passing exercises.”22 Whilst Indian naval ships have been accorded extraordinary hospitality at Iranian ports,23 such visits have been relatively sparse and low profile. China’s relations with Iran were formally established in 1971 only after the U.S. rapprochement with China. In later years, during the Iran-Iraq War, China was a key arms supplier to Iran. China’s relations with Iran have progressively evolved, and Beijing sees Iran in the context of its own relations with the United States, leveraging “the Iran card” in its “negotiations with the United States over various issues. Based on this factor China has adjusted its proximity or distance from Tehran.”24 Iran is a key supplier of crude oil to China which, like India, had also received a waiver from the ­ongoing U.S. sanctions. Currently, China is seeking closer ties with Iran since it could be potential key player in the BRI. During the visit of ­President Xi Jinping to Tehran in January 2016, the two countries signed several agreements, including cooperation in the BRI and nuclear energy, and also announced a decision to increase trade tenfold to $600 billion in the next ten years.25

Iraq India’s defence ties with Iraq date back to the 1960s when India provided defence training, with an army team deputed to that country’s national defence college in Baghdad and Indian Air Force pilots providing flight training at all the major Iraqi bases.26 Later in 1975, it is reported that the Indian Navy helped establish a naval training academy at Basra.27 Defence cooperation between India and Iraq continued until 1989 when a sizeable Indian Air Force team remained in Iraq almost until Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990.28 Military engagements have since not been restored. In the 1970s, the Iraqi government had awarded several contracts to Indian companies for various infrastructure projects, and consequently, a large Indian workforce had been present in Iraq for the past several decades. The rise of ISIS and the spillover of the Syrian conflict to Iraq, which saw the capture of several cities in northern and western Iraq by ISIS in mid-2014, threatened the safety and security of a large Indian worker population. Consequently, in June 2014, Indian naval ships were kept on standby in the Persian Gulf

100  Maritime security and West Asian States for evacuation of Indian civilians stranded in Iraq.29 Many Indian workers were eventually air-lifted from Erbil near the Iraq-Turkey border.30 In 2017, following the defeat of ISIS and liberation of Mosul by Iraqi forces, India’s minister of state for external affairs and former army chief, General VK Singh, had visited Iraq to seek assistance for missing Indians. Currently, India is engaged in capacity building efforts in Iraq and has offered support in the form of training for government officials, higher education, and medical treatment. Although India-Iraq trade slowed down considerably due to the ISIS crisis between 2013 and 2017, it is steadily increasing and, presently, Iraq is India’s second largest supplier of oil after Saudi Arabia. Iraq’s relations with China are based on their oil trade. China buys more than half of Iraq’s oil, making it its second largest supplier behind Saudi Arabia. In 2014, when the Iraqi prime minister visited Beijing, Sino-Iraq relations were upgraded to a “strategic partnership.” The Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged Chinese assistance in “energy, electricity, communication and infrastructure” projects in Iraq, which he linked to China’s “Belt and Road” initiative (BRI).31 However, due to the prevailing security scenario, the proposed Iran-Iraq-Turkey land corridor of the BRI connecting with Central Asia and Europe is yet to be activated.32

Israel India enjoys friendly political relations with Israel, with agriculture and defence forming two main pillars supporting bilateral ties. Bilateral trade between the two countries stood at $6 billion in 2014, largely in favour of Israel and mostly comprising the diamond trade.33 As a global leader in ­defence technology, Israel is a key strategic partner for India. In 2016–17, ­India emerged as Israeli’s largest arms buyer, signing contracts valued over $2  ­billion for supply of advanced anti-aircraft and anti-missile defence ­systems to the army and navy.34 However, a lack of operational engagement in the form of naval exercises or training assistance or staff talks by the Indian Navy appears to indicate a deliberate strategy for limiting defence engagements with Israel solely to defence technology transfers and military hardware sales. Presently, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), India’s premier defence laboratory, has several joint development programmes with leading Israeli manufacturers, including Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Elisra, for certain key weapon systems, including the state-of-the-art missile, electronic warfare, and radar systems. Defence cooperation is overseen by a joint working group at the level of the defence secretary. Furthermore, defence ties have always been marked by regular high-level engagements. For instance, in May 2017, four Indian naval ships called at Port Haifa to participate in an event commemorating 25 years of Indo-Israel diplomatic ties.35 Bilateral strategic relations now seem to have moved to the next level with the historic visit of Prime Minister Modi to Jerusalem in July 2017, the first-ever standalone visit by any Indian

Maritime security and West Asian States  101 36

prime minister to Israel. In his speech at Tel Aviv, Prime Minister Modi stressed on mutual cooperate in in areas of “science, technology, innovation, and higher technical education.” It is expected that Indo-Israel defence relations will strengthen further in coming years, with Israel remaining a key supplier of crucial defence technology to India, although operational maritime interactions would probably remain limited.37 China has close defence ties with Israel and has depended on it for modern military technology and hardware that it could not obtain from the United States or Europe. Over the years, Israel has emerged as a major arms supplier to China after Russia. Many of Israel’s arms sales have come under pressure from the United States, notably the contract in 2000 for the Israeli built an airborne early warning system, Phalcon, which could be installed upon a Russian IL-76. Reportedly, China intended to procure four to eight systems at an estimated value of $1 billion, probably one of the largest defence deals by Israel.38 However, the deal was cancelled due to objections raised by the United States. Another worry for the United States is the impending access by China to Israel’s strategic Haifa in 2021. China’s Shanghai International Port group has signed a 25-year contract for rights to operate the port, which is periodically visited by USN ships.39 The United States has evidently warned Israel that USN ship visits could be scaled down or ceased should China take over port operations. It remains to be seen how Israel responds to the United States. Israel has signed up for the BRI and awarded several infrastructure projects to Chinese companies, including development of a new port in Ashdod.40

Kuwait Kuwait is a major oil exporter to India and a favoured destination for Indian workers. The 900,000 strong Indian community forms the largest expatriate group in Kuwait and an important facet of India-Kuwait ties. India’s relations with Kuwait are also dominated by trade in the energy sector and strategic investments. Pertinently, Kuwait has extended operational turnaround facilities for Indian naval ships at select ports.41 During the recent security crisis in West Asia perpetuated by the Islamic State, an Indian naval ship visited Kuwait three times in 2015 to evacuate Indian nationals stranded in Iraq.42 Earlier, in 2013, an annual security dialogue between the Indian National Security Advisor and his counterpart was initiated to promote mutual understanding of threat perceptions and security concerns and to strengthen sharing of information, intelligence, and assessments.43 The ­Kuwaiti Navy, as part of the multinational Combined Task Force (CTF) 152, has gained the experience of working with other navies in the conduct of maritime security operations in Gulf waters. It also participated in combined exercises in the Gulf with NATO naval forces to develop capabilities in areas such as mine countermeasures.44 India’s non-participation in the multinational coalition may have restricted opportunities for collaboration,

102  Maritime security and West Asian States but maritime security cooperation between India and Kuwait has potential to expand. China established diplomatic relations with Kuwait in 1971, after the ­Sino-U.S. rapprochement. During the 1990 Gulf crisis, China had strongly opposed Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. Over the years, Sino-Kuwait relations have steadily advanced and Kuwait was amongst the first countries to sign an agreement on the BRI with China. Later, in July 2018, Sino-Kuwait ­relations were upgraded to a strategic partnership when the Kuwaiti Emir visited Beijing. Both countries have agreed to enhance cooperation in areas of energy trade, infrastructure, strategic investments, tourism, and security, and anti-terrorism cooperation. As an influential member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Kuwait serves as a useful partner for China in the region, and strategic cooperation between the two countries is expected to expand in coming years.

Oman In West Asia, Oman is one of India’s closest defence partners. Once the extended continental shelf claim for both countries is legally accepted and brought into force, Oman will officially become India’s eighth maritime neighbour. Bilateral trade between the two countries is in the region of $4 billion and joint investments across 13 sectors in excess of $7.5 billion.45 Oman is also a major destination for Indian defence exports, including, ­notably, the Indian Small Arms System (INSAS) infantry rifle developed by the state-run Ordnance Factory Board.46 In December 2005, India signed a defence cooperation agreement with Oman, led by a joint committee under the two defence ministers who meet annually. In 2016, the two countries signed an MoU for cooperation on maritime security. Later in 2018, the Prime Minister Modi visited Oman in February 2018 with a view to consolidate and expand the scope of extant bilateral cooperation. A joint statement issued during the visit stated, The two sides expressed satisfaction over the current state of bilateral relations, especially the robust security and defence cooperation, and agreed to further expand their cooperation to new areas of mutual ­interest, including inter-alia, space, cyber security, energy security, ­renewable energy and food security etc, with a view to take the strategic partnership to a higher level.47 India’s defence cooperation with Oman has been jointly led by the Indian Navy and Air Force, and regular exchanges of visits by the senior military leadership have helped to sustain and promote cooperation. Oman has also extended operational turnaround facilities to Indian naval ships as well as aircraft and supported Indian naval ships on anti-piracy patrols. Oman is one of the few West Asian countries with whom India conducts a biennial

Maritime security and West Asian States  103 naval exercise, codenamed Naseem-Al-Bahar, which commenced in 1993, aimed at promoting interoperability between the forces.48 The Indian Air Force also conducts a joint exercise codenamed Eastern Bridge with the Royal Oman Air Force. Both services also hold regular staff talks and conduct training for Omani military personnel. Oman’s relations with China were founded on energy trade but in recent times have been dominated by their rapidly expanded economic cooperation following Oman’s decision to join the BRI. Oman’s national strategy to diversify from an oil-dependent economy, as outlined in its Vision 2020, complements China’s BRI vision. For China, the strategic location of Oman in the Arabian Sea makes it an important point along the m ­ aritime silk road, and for Oman, the maritime silk road provides a golden opportunity to emerge as a logistics, tourism, and business hub in the region, perhaps an alternative to Dubai. Chinese investments in Oman surpass other West Asian states and a consortium of Chinese firms have invested over $10.7 ­billion in building a brand new industrial city in Duqm, situated 550 ­k ilometres south of the capital, Muscat.49 The plan includes a special economic zone (SEZ) with a port and a wide range of other ventures, including an oil refinery, a methanol plant, a giant solar energy equipment manufacturing operation, an automobile assembly factory, an oil and gas equipment production site, a tourism zone, and a multi-million logistics enterprise.50 In time, Duqm could become the first mega city in the Arabian Peninsula. Sino-Oman r­ elations also include maritime cooperation, and PLA naval ships on a­ nti-piracy patrols off the Horn of Africa have often utilised Port Salalah in Oman for operational turnaround. Overall, the convergence of strategic interests between China and Oman seems to indicate that their relationship will continue to flourish. It remains to be seen how Oman balances its own ties with India. Meanwhile, in order to nurture the extant security relations, it is imperative that India maintains a high level of naval and air force engagements.

Qatar Qatar is the largest supplier of LNG to India and bilateral trade reached nearly $16 billion in 2015–16.51 Since 2017, Qatar has been boycotted by Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE who have accused the Qatar regime of funding regional extremist groups and maintaining close ties with Iran. As a result of this breakdown in diplomatic relations, Qatar has been placed under stringent economic and trade sanctions, which have isolated the country by air, land, and sea from its neighbours. The Indian government that has maintained close ties with all Gulf states has maintained a neutral stance deeming the development as an internal matter of the GCC. As a result of the widening rift with Gulf states, Qatar has sought to ­diversify its economic and diplomatic relations with other powers, including China, India, and the United States, “strategically hedging against

104  Maritime security and West Asian States future tensions from its larger and more powerful neighbours.”52 Consequently, relations between India and Qatar have intensified in recent years, boosted by the visit of the prime minister of Qatar to New Delhi in 2015, and ­reciprocated by Prime Minister Modi in 2016. In 2018, during the visit of the Indian external affairs minister to Doha, the two countries established a joint commission to explore scope for enhancing cooperation in cultural, scientific, information technology, and educational fields. Earlier, in 2008, India had signed a defence cooperation agreement with Qatar to develop defence relations under a joint defence cooperation committee. Presently, India’s defence cooperation with Qatar includes training assistance and ­v isits by ships of the Indian Navy and Coast Guard. India is also a regular participant in the Doha international maritime defence exhibition (DIMDEX), and in 2018, the Indian Navy showcased its latest destroyer INS Kolkata at the exhibition. Similarly, the Qatar Emiri Naval Forces (QENF) attended the Indian Navy’s International Fleet Review (IFR) at Vishakhapatnam in 2016, and also deputed a high-level delegation to participate in the Indian defence exposition (DEFEXPO) at New Delhi in 2018. Reportedly, the ­Indian Navy was considering the feasibility of stationing a naval training team at Qatar53; though following the recent Qatar-Gulf tensions, this proposal may have been shelved. In addition to close relations with India, Qatar has maintained strategic defence ties with the United States with the forward headquarters for U.S. CENTCOM located at Doha. The Qatar Navy also regularly exercises with U.S. naval forces in the Persian Gulf.54 Qatar is now keen to expand its defence relations with the United States, and reportedly, a plan or an offer to establish a “permanent” U.S. Air Force base at Al-Udeid, the biggest military facility used by Washington in the Gulf, is under discussions. As a key stakeholder in the region, the United States has been working towards resolving the Qatar-Gulf rift as it could hamper their strategic aim to “unite the Gulf Arab states, Egypt and Jordan in a military alliance to counter Iran.”55 Qatar is the second largest natural gas provider to China, supplying more than one-fifth of its needs.56 However, Qatar’s diplomatic relations with China which were initially established in 1988 were slow to progress. It was only after 30 years that the two countries held their first strategic-level dialogue in Beijing to explore areas for cooperation, including an operational plan for cooperation in the BRI.57 As part of Qatar’s “pivot” to China, perpetuated by the regional tensions, Qatar has invested its sovereign wealth fund in China and other countries including India. In China alone, Qatari investments have surpassed $13 billion with a further investment of $15–20 billion planned in real estate and infrastructure over the next five years.58 Reportedly, Qatar has also covertly procured the SY-400 short-range ­ballistic missiles from China.59 Based on these developments, it is likely that Sino-Qatar relations would progress further although China would take care to maintain a neutral position in the Qatar-Gulf rift. It is evident that the tensions between Qatar

Maritime security and West Asian States  105 and other Gulf states would have an impact on I­ ndia’s bilateral ties and defence cooperation with Qatar, but India’s good relations with all the other Gulf countries and the United States mean that India could continue with its defence/maritime engagements albeit on a low key.

Saudi Arabia India has strong economic and socio-cultural ties with Saudi Arabia. As a major power in West Asia, Saudi Arabia wields huge influence in the region and is thus an important country for India. However, Saudi Arabia’s bigger regional strategic partner has been Pakistan. Saudi Arabia also maintains a close security relationship with the United States. In 2014, Saudi Arabia overtook India as the largest importer of defence equipment worldwide, with the United States being its largest supplier.60 The Pakistan armed forces had a large presence in Saudi Arabia until the late 1980s; subsequently, the number of personnel posted was reportedly reduced to only provide training in Saudi Arabia.61 Later in 2015–16, the Pakistan Army had quietly deployed around 10,000 troops in Saudi ­Arabia during the Yemen conflict.62 However, of greater concern to India is the de facto role of Pakistan as a provider of the nuclear umbrella to Saudi ­Arabia, suspected of funding Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme from the 1980s,63 culminating in Pakistan becoming a declared nuclear weapons state in 1998. Pakistan’s clandestine nuclear programme was exposed by two British journalists in their widely acclaimed book, Deception: Pakistan, the United States and the Secret Trade in Nuclear Weapons, which brought out that as a quid pro quo, Pakistan may provide a nuclear umbrella for Saudi Arabia or even transfer nuclear weapon technology or nuclear weapons to Saudi Arabia in the event that Iran acquires nuclear weapons.64 Over the past decade, Pakistan’s “dysfunctional polity” seems to have diminished its influence in Saudi Arabia,65 and signs of strengthening of the relationship between India and Saudi Arabia can be seen since 2006, when King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud visited New Delhi to be the chief guest for India’s Republic Day celebrations. He was the first Saudi King to visit India in 50 years and was travelling from Beijing where he had met the Chinese President Hu Jintao. Following his visit to India, King Saud also visited Pakistan. In 2010, when Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh visited Saudi Arabia, India-Saudi bilateral ties were elevated to a “Strategic Partnership” with the signing of the “Riyadh Declaration.”66 Later, in February 2014, an MoU for defence and security cooperation was signed during the visit of the Saudi Crown Prince, deputy prime minister and defence minister to New Delhi.67 The MoU sought to promote cooperation in defence industry, science, technology, and transfer of technology. Bilateral defence cooperation is being steered by a joint defence cooperation committee. Subsequently, during the visit of Prime Minister Modi to Riyadh in April 2016, five new bilateral agreements covering intelligence sharing

106  Maritime security and West Asian States on terrorism financing, increasing private investment, and enhancing defence cooperation were signed.68 Significantly, in a symbolic gesture, Saudi ­Arabia bestowed the King Abdul Aziz Order of Merit medal, the Kingdom’s highest honour, on the Indian prime minister. In the end of 2018, during the fourth meeting of the joint defence cooperation committee at Riyadh, the two countries discussed the possibility of enhancing defence engagement with joint arms production and combined naval exercises.69 This is a seminal development and was also discussed during the visit of the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, to New Delhi in February 2019, accompanied by a high-level official team and a large business delegation. Pertinently, the Crown Prince was personally received by Prime Minister Modi, who broke traditional protocol norms to receive Mohammed bin Salman at the airport. Based on the above developments, it is likely that India’s maritime security engagements with Saudi Arabia, currently limited to ships visits and training assistance, could expand in the coming years. In addition to growing defence cooperation, India’s trade with Saudi Arabia has also grown. Currently, Saudi Arabia is India’s fourth largest trade partner (after China, the United States, and Japan) and a major source of energy – about 17 per cent of India’s crude oil requirement is imported from the Kingdom. In 2017–18, India-Saudi bilateral trade had increased by almost 10 per cent from the previous year to $27.48 billion, with Indian exports accounting for $5.41 billion.70 Furthermore, India is reportedly considering partnering with Saudi Arabia for funding of infrastructure projects in the Maldives and other regional states.71 This could potentially open yet another facet for bilateral cooperation between the two countries. China’s relations with Saudi Arabia have rapidly grown in strength since the end of the Cold War in 1990 when Saudi Arabia officially established diplomatic relations with PRC, breaking away from Taiwan. A key milestone was achieved in Sino-Saudi relations with the signing of the 1999 strategic oil cooperation agreement, creating a partnership between the world’s largest consumer and producer of oil. The relationship received a further boost with the visit of King Abudullah to Beijing in 2006, his firstever official visit abroad after succession to the throne. During his visit, the King signed a series of agreements covering not just energy trade but also infrastructure and telecommunications. Saudi-China ties were elevated to a comprehensive strategic partnership following the visit of President Xi Jinping to Riyadh in January 2016, to include cooperation in economic, political, and military fields. Since 2016, Saudi Arabia has sought to diversify its economy as outlined in the Saudi Vision 2030 and has expressed interest in the BRI, which could potentially provide new opportunities for growth and investments.72 In March 2017, during the visit of Saudi King Salman to Beijing, the two countries signed contracts valued at $65 billion covering energy, education, and technology, including an agreement to establish a manufacturing facility for China’s CH-4 hunter-killer drones or unmanned

Maritime security and West Asian States  107 aerial vehicle (UAV) with similar capabilities to the U.S. MQ-1 Predator in the Middle East.73 The Chinese drone is already in use by ­several Gulf countries. Unconfirmed reports also indicate that a Chinese ballistic missile manufacturing and testing facility is being constructed inside Saudi Arabia.74 Reportedly, a proposal by Saudi Arabia to fund certain projects under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in Pakistan is under discussion, under similar lines as being pursued with India for projects in the Maldives. It seems clear that China-Saudi relations are poised to expand in coming years as Saudi Arabia seeks to diversify diplomatic relations away from the United States, which have been tested following recent developments such as murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents in Istanbul and the war in Yemen. This could pave the way for greater economic and strategic influence by China in the region. In comparison, for now, India’s multi-dimensional relations, including energy trade and contemporary defence cooperation, could be currently assessed to be on an equal footing. Overall, it appears that Saudi is keen to balance its bilateral relationships with India and China whilst maintaining close ties with the United States.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) India is one of the largest trading partners of the UAE, with bilateral trade exceeding $52 billion in 2016–17.75 The UAE is also the second largest export destination of India and the most preferred destination for Indian professionals seeking to work in the Gulf region. Over 2.8 million Indians live and work there, sending home about $13.5 billion annually and forming the largest expatriate population, estimated at nearly 30 per cent of the Emirate’s total population.76 India-UAE ties have received an impetus in recent times, marked by high-level visits. In August 2015, the visit of Prime Minister Modi to the UAE, the first-ever visit by an Indian prime minister in 34 years and Modi’s first visit to the region, marked the beginning of a new comprehensive and strategic partnership.77 In a joint statement, the two countries agreed to not only consolidate extant cooperation but also explore newer areas of collaboration. In February 2016, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed who is also the Deputy Supreme Commander of UAE Armed Forces, visited India. This was followed by another visit by the Crown Prince in January 2017, as the chief guest at India’s Republic Day celebrations, where a contingent from the UAE armed forces also participated in the parade. Recently, in February 2018, Prime Minister Modi visited the UAE for the second time and in a significant development India upgraded its ties with the UAE to a “comprehensive strategic partnership,” covering not just energy but also defence and maritime cooperation.78 Significantly, under the bilateral strategic energy partnership, the UAE has signed a contract with India to store crude oil reserves in South India, giving India the right to first refusal to buy the oil.79

108  Maritime security and West Asian States The increasing attention to India by the UAE, evidenced by the frequent high-level political interactions focused on various strategic initiatives ­including defence and security cooperation, clearly indicates a swing away from Pakistan, UAE’s “close friend.” As noted above, Pakistan’s dysfunctional polity and the role of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence in sponsoring terror groups has led to a decline in their influence and standing amongst the Arab States. Reportedly, UAE-Pakistan relations dipped sharply following the killing of five UAE diplomats in Afghanistan in January 2017 in an attack suspected to have been orchestrated by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence and the Haqqani Network.80 Earlier in 2015, the UAE has been upset with Islamabad for its refusal to actively deploy troops in the Yemen conflict. It is pertinent to note that the UAE was amongst the countries that were supportive of the September 2016 “surgical strike” by India on Pakistan in response to the terror attacks on an Indian Army unit in state of Jammu and Kashmir.81 Significantly, in a favour to the UAE government, a covert operation by Indian marine commandos was launched in March 2018 to “rescue” Sheikha Latifa, daughter of the Ruler of ­Dubai, who, in an apparent attempt to flee her family, was found on a yacht 30 miles off Goa on the West Coast of India. This operation could probably have been in violation of the international refugee convention and other norms for dealing with asylum seekers, but reportedly was cleared by Prime ­Minister Modi himself.82 An MoU on defence cooperation was initially signed between India and the UAE in 2003 (renewed as a defence cooperation agreement in 2014) and implemented through a joint defence cooperation committee. The scope for defence cooperation has now been expanded, and during the visit of the Crown Prince in 2017, an MoU for cooperation in field of defines industry and maritime security was also signed. India’s security cooperation with the UAE presently includes defence exports, intelligence sharing on terrorism, regular ship visits, combined naval exercise, staff talks, and training ­assistance. In March 2018, the Indian Navy conducted its first b ­ ilateral ­exercise, Gulf Star I, with the UAE Navy.83 The Indian Navy is also ­involved in providing bespoke naval training assistance in terms of m ­ anpower and equipment to the UAE Navy,84 and Indian naval ships deployed on ­anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden routinely enter Abu Dhabi for OTR.85 Furthermore, the UAE Navy is an active member of Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) and took over its chairmanship after India’s term in 2010. The UAE’s relations with China were elevated to a comprehensive ­strategic partnership during the historic state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping in July 2018, the first-ever visit by a Chinese head of state in 29 years to the Arab state.86 Recent years have also seen a spate of visits by trade delegations from China and currently, the “UAE is home to approximately 200,000 Chinese citizens and 4,000 trading companies.” The annual trade between the two countries exceeds $50 billion, forecast to rise to $70 billion by 2020.87 The UAE is home to one of the largest and busiest ports in the

Maritime security and West Asian States  109 world and a gateway to Africa, the Middle East, and Europe, making it an important hub along the maritime silk road. Furthermore, according to a study, the UAE provides a low-risk investment destination for China since the country has a high credit rating.88 It is, therefore, evident that the ­Sino-UAE economic ties are set to accelerate in the coming years. The lack of defence engagements with China suggests that growing economic ties may not translate into meaningful political or military influence that could impinge upon India’s strategic relations.

Yemen India has had close historical and cultural ties with Yemen. A small Yemeni diaspora is known to live in South India, and a sizeable population of Indian workers and business people are based in Yemen. However, contemporary relations have been hampered due to the civil war in Yemen between forces loyal to President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, backed by a Saudi-led coalition, and those allied to the Houthi rebel group and former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, backed by Iran.89 The conflict has historical roots reflecting past “societal and political grievances” within Yemen which erupted flowing from the Arab Spring that swept through Egypt and Tunisia in 2011, resulting in a popular uprising against President Saleh’s 33-year autocratic rule.90 The revolt led to a transfer of power to President Hadi, backed by Saudi Arabia. However, within three years, disillusioned with the political transition, the Houthis with support from forces loyal to the former president revolted and tried to seize power from President Hadi who fled to Saudi Arabia in March 2015. The war started when Houthi rebels captured the capital city of Sanaa in September 2014, leading to a military intervention led by Saudi Arabia in early 2015. It was expected that the fighting would be over in a few weeks, but it dragged on for more than three years. Amidst the fighting, in April 2015, the Indian Navy undertook Operation Raahat, involving three naval ships, to evacuate 4,741 Indians and nearly 2,000 foreign nationals from 48 countries.91 The war in Yemen ended in December 2018, after the government and Houthi representatives agreed to a ceasefire in Hudaydah city, under UN supervision. The former President Ali Abdullah Saleh was killed by the Houthi rebels during the conflict. According to the UN, this conflict was the “world’s worst man-made humanitarian disaster,” resulting in more than 6,800 civilians deaths, over half of the casualties caused by Saudi-led coalition air strikes, and more than half of Yemen’s districts slipping into “emergency” conditions – one step below “famine” in the international classification.92 Although India has extended humanitarian aid for Yemen, diplomatically, it has maintained a neutral position despite being invited by the Arab group to play a role.93 The conflict is seen as a manifestation of the regional power struggle between Shia-ruled Iran and Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia, and clearly, India, intent on balancing its ties with Iran and

110  Maritime security and West Asian States the Arab states, is wary of taking sides. India’s extant maritime cooperation with Yemen is restricted mainly due to the extant security situation in Yemen and it is unlikely that India-Yemen maritime cooperation could progress in the near term. As a major trade partner in the Gulf region, China has significant economic interests in Yemen and has played a key role in resolving the conflict. In 2011, China as a member of the Group of Ten—comprising of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council along with Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, the UAE, and the European Union – was closely involved in Yemen’s political transition process. Later, after the political transition failed to bring stability and the Houthis seized control of Sanaa, China voted in favour of Security Council Resolution 2201, calling for an immediate withdrawal of the Houthis.94 In March 2015, PLA Navy ships deployed on anti-piracy patrols off Somalia were diverted to Aden, for the first-ever evacuation of Chinese nationals abroad. About 600 Chinese citizens and 225 foreign nationals were evacuated from Aden. In 2017, when negotiations at the UN failed, China tried to “bridge the trust deficit between the Houthi-Saleh bloc and the UN.” Although the talks were unsuccessful, China won praise from both sides.95 Following the ­December 2018 ceasefire in Yemen, China has offered significant humanitarian aid for Yemen, and the Chinese Ambassador to Yemen, Ambassador Tian, stated that “China was willing to actively participate in Yemen’s future ­economic reconstruction process, as it promotes its Belt and Road Initiative in the region.”96 China’s initiatives in helping to resolve a regional conflict may have won them respect in the region as an impartial negotiator and could pave the way for further diplomatic engagements.

Overall assessment It is clear from the above examination that India has nurtured close strategic ties with Iran and a close working relationship with most Gulf states, ­particularly the UAE, Oman, and Qatar, despite significant Pakistani influence in the region. Given India’s rising economic and military power, the Gulf countries view India as an important maritime power and an underwriter of regional maritime security. The Indian Navy is also acknowledged as a robust and professional force, and most Gulf navies are keen to engage with India for training and technical assistance. India is keen to enhance its maritime cooperation with the West Asian states, given the strategic importance of the region for India’s energy security and the presence of a large worker population. However, the extant security situation in the region and political instability in parts – matters in which the Indian government has preferred not to interfere – and the large military presence of the United States in West Asia seems to have restricted the scope for India’s role in the region. In comparison to India which has historical ties and cultural affinity with the West Asian region, China is largely viewed as an “outsider.”97 China’s

Maritime security and West Asian States  111 evolving relations with the West Asian states are generally seen in the context of its energy imports and the BRI that focuses on connectivity and trade cooperation stretching from China across Eurasia – crucially, the land silk road and the maritime silk road crisscross each other in West Asia. China’s investments in several major infrastructure projects in West Asia, under the BRI, seem to be driven purely by economic interests. Evidently, the question of a “debt trap” does not apply to the oil rich Gulf states. In comparison, similar economic linkages with South Asian states such as Pakistan, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh, which have a lower credit rating and carry significant investment risks, seem to be influenced by strategic considerations, than economic interests, aimed at challenging India’s regional influence. For the West Asian states, China, as an emerging global power, could be a viable alternative partner to the United States, whose changing priorities under the Trump regime could lead to complications in the region. Thus, it is likely that China’s deepening economic relations with the West Asian countries could translate into broad-based defence cooperation and political influence. China has also sought to leverage its bilateral relations with the West Asian states to carve a larger role for itself. For instance, in 2010, China, offered, although unsuccessfully, to mediate in a long-­r unning island dispute between the UAE and Iran over the sovereignty of the Greater and Lesser Tunbs and Abu Musa islands located in the Persian Gulf.98 Furthermore, it also played an important role during the negotiations in the Yemen conflict. As regard defence cooperation, until the 1980s, China was a key arms supplier to Iran, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia.99 Recent developments, such as the agreement for a UAV manufacturing facility in the Middle East, indicate that it could once again emerge as an important strategic weapons supplier, possibly as an alternative to the United States. Prior to the establishment of a logistics facility at Djibouti in 2017, China’s naval engagements with the region were limited to ships visits as part of the ongoing deployment of the PLA Navy on anti-piracy missions. Oman, followed by Yemen, was the preferred destination for PLA Navy ships on anti-piracy missions.100 However, with the operationalisation of the naval facility at Djibouti, it is likely that the PLA Navy would be in a position to play a larger role in the region. It is likely that China will continue to build up security relationships in the region and establish close security ties with Saudi Arabia and the UAE. It is also probable that China would leverage its strategic ties with Pakistan to strengthen its position in the region. Ultimately, even though China may not dominate the region in terms of strategic influence, given the overarching control by the United States, it could certainly surpass India’s sphere of influence. Essentially, this implies that India can no longer take for granted its historical influence in the region but must double-up efforts to sustain and incrementally strengthen extant strategic ties with the regional states, particularly the GCC countries. Pertinently, the Indian Navy already

112  Maritime security and West Asian States conducts combined naval exercises with two of the six GCC navies, notably Oman and the UAE, with naval exercise with the Saudi Navy under discussions. Thus, India could propose to expand the scope of its engagements to establish a formal partnership with the GCC and initiate combined naval exercises with the GCC navies. Moreover, India could seek to upgrade its training assistance to Oman and the UAE and establish a permanent or long-term training facility for the GCC navies in the region. Finally, India must focus attention towards rapid operationalisation of maritime cooperation with Saudi Arabia and explore joint defence production as discussed in the last joint defence cooperation committee meeting. For instance, it has been reported that Saudi Arabia is exploring the induction of submarines and as part of its ongoing defence modernisation.101 India, given its experience of training the Vietnam Navy submarine branch, could offer basic submarine training and technical assistance to the Saudi Navy. There could be other areas for strategic cooperation that could be explored by the Indian Navy, but the onus lies with India to seize the opportunity to expand its security ties with Saudi Arabia and the other GCC states to counter-balance China in West Asia.

Notes 1 Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs, Sino-India Relations ­Including Doklam, Border Situation and Cooperation in International ­Organizations, 16th Lok Sabha Committee of External Affairs 2017–18, New Delhi, September 2018, p. 57. 2 Ibid. 3 “Indian Navy: Like a Bridge on Troubled Waters,” Sainik Samachar, 16 ­September 2006. 4 “Operation Raahat: 349 Indians Evacuated by Navy from Yemen’s Aden,” The Economic Times, 01 April 2015. 5 “The Great Yemen Escape: Operation Rahat by Numbers,” The Hindu, 14 April 2015. 6 “‘Little India’ Inaugurated in Bahrain’s Historic Manama Souk,” The Times of India, 22 December 2015. 7 Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs, “Joint Statement during the First India-Bahrain High Joint Commission Meeting (February 22–23, 2015),” 23 February 2015, available at http://www.mea.gov.in/bilateral-documents. htm?dtl/24799/Joint_Statement_during_the_First_IndiaBahrain_High_Joint _Commission_Meeting_February_2223_2015.html. 8 “Bahrain,” IHS Jane’s World Navies 2014–15, p. 48. 9 Daniel Wagner and Giorgio Cafiero, “The U.S. and Bahrain’s Increasingly Tense Alliance,” Gulf State Analytics Monthly Monitor, September 2014, p. 2. 10 Ibid., p. 2. 11 “Soon, India Defence Attaché at US Navy Bahrain Command,” Hindustan Times, 21 March 2018. 12 “Bahrain Strengthens Economic Ties with China, Signs 8 Landmark MoUs,” Asharq Al-Awsat,” 19 November 2018. 13 Government of India, “India-Iran Relations,” Ministry of External Affairs ­Media Brief, New Delhi, August 2017.

Maritime security and West Asian States  113 14 “India and Iran Sign ‘Historic’ Chabahar Port Deal,” BBC News, 23 May 2016. 15 “Sanctions Threaten Iran’s Dream of Becoming Eurasian Transport Hub,” Al-Monitor, 20 July 2018. 16 “Chahbahar Port,” Global Security, 10 August 2017, available at http://www.­ globalsecurity.org/military/world/iran/chabahar.html. 17 “U.S. Waives Sanctions for Iran’s Chabahar Port Project,” Maritime Executive, 8 November 2018. 18 Ibid. 19 Indian interests in developing the Port of Chahbahar are also viewed as a move to counter the Chinese presence at Gwadar. 20 Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs, The Republic of India and the Islamic Republic of Iran: The New Delhi Declaration, 25 January 2003 ­available at http://www.mea.gov.in/other.htm?dtl/20182/The+Republic+of+India +and+th.html. 21 “Iran Navy,” IHS Jane’s World Navies, 2014–15. 22 PASSEX or Passage Exercise: Naval Exercises which are incidental to the ­passage of a ship. 23 Based on the author’s own experience of visiting Iran on board an Indian Navy ship. 24 Mahmoud Pargoo,” What Does Iran Really Think of China?” The Diplomat, 7 November 2018. 25 “Iran’s Leader Says Never Trusted the West, Seeks Closer Ties with China,” Reuters, 24 January 2016. 26 Talmiz Ahmad, “Indians in Iraq – A Reverie,” Ministry of External Affairs ­Report, 2 July 2014. 27 David Brewster, India’s Ocean – The Story of India’s Bid for Regional Leadership, Routledge, New York, 2014, p. 108. 28 Ibid. 29 Government of India, Ministry of Defence, Annual Report 2014–15, p. 146. 30 Evacuation of Indian nurses from Iraq is a momentous diplomatic victory,” The Times of India, 5 July 2014. 31 Shannon Tiezzi, “China and Iraq Announce Strategic Partnership,” The ­Diplomat, 23 December 2014. 32 “Embracing the BRI Ecosystem in 2018,” The Deloitte Insights, 12 February 2018, available at https://www2.deloitte.com/insights/us/en/economy/asia-­pacific /china-belt-and-road-initiative.html 33 Government of India, “India-Israel Relations,” Ministry of External Affairs ­Media Brief, New Delhi, July 2014. 34 “Israel to Pip US as India’s Largest Arms Supplier with Barak Missiles, UAVs,” The Business Standard, 7 April 2017. 35 “Indian Navy Ships Dock in Haifa Port Ahead of Historical Visit by Indian PM,” The Jerusalem Post, 10 May 2017. 36 “Narendra Modi in Israel,” Firstpost, 4 July 2017. 37 Ibid. 38 “Israel and US Clash over Spy Plane Sale to China,” The Guardian, 20 April 2000. 39 Ilan Berman, “Israel’s Dangerous Dalliance with China,” The Wall Street ­Journal, 13 January 2019. 40 “China’s Belt and Road Initiative: What’s in it for Israel?” The Jerusalem Post, 10 January 2018. 41 Government of India, Annual Report 2014–15, Ministry of Defence, 2015, p. 146. 42 Government of India, Annual Report 2014–15, Ministry of External Affairs, 2015, p. 52.

114  Maritime security and West Asian States 43 Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs, “Joint Statement During the State Visit of H.H. Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Prime Minister of Kuwait to India,” 9 November 2013, available at http://mea.gov.in/ press-releases.htm?dtl/22416/State+Visit+of+HH+Sheikh+Jaber+AlMubarak +AlHamad+AlSabah+Prime+Minister+of+Kuwait+to+India.html. 44 “Kuwait,” IHS Jane’s World Navies 2014–15, pp. 235–240. 45 Government of India, “India-Oman Relations,” Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi, November 2017, p. 2. 46 Ibid., p. 57. 47 Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs, “India Oman Joint Statement During Visit of Prime Minister to Oman,” 12 February 2018, available at https://www.mea.gov.in/bilateral-documents.htm?dtl/29479/India+Oman +Joint+Statement+during+visit+of+Prime+Minister+to+Oman.html. 48 “India-Oman Joint Naval Exercise from January 22,” The Economic Times, 19 January 2016. 49 Amar Diwakar, “Oman’s Coastline Is the Next Stop on China’s Belt and Road,” 19 December 2017, available at https://emerge85.io/Insights/ omans-coastline-is-the-next-stop-on-chinas-belt-and-road/html. 50 Wade Shepard, “Why China is Building a New City Out in the Desert Of Oman,” Forbes, 8 September 2017. 51 “Gulf Qatar Rift: How the Crisis will Affect India; Here’s All You Need to Know,” The Financial Express, 6 June 2017. 52 Ana Iqtait, “China’s Rising Interests in Qatar,” The Interpreter, 20 January 2019. 53 Government of India, Annual Report 2014–15, Ministry of Defence, New Delhi, 2015, p. 131. 54 “Qatar,” IHS Jane’s World Navies 2014–15, p. 232. 55 Marthew Lee, “Yemen, Iran, Khashoggi Murder Top Pompeo’s Talks in Saudi Arabia,” The Times of Israel, 14 January 2019. 56 Iqtait, “China’s Rising Interests in Qatar.” 57 “Qatar, China Hold First Round of Strategic Dialogue,” The Gulf Times, 12 December 2018. 58 Ibid. 59 Ibid. 60 “Saudi Arabia Replaces India as Largest Defence Market for US,” IHS Jane’s, 8 March 2015. 61 Brewster, India’s Ocean, p. 107. 62 David D. Kirkpatrick, “On the Front Line of the Saudi War in Yemen? Child Soldiers from Darfur,” The Indian Express, 25 January 2019. 63 Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark, Deception: Pakistan, the United States, and the Secret Trade in Nuclear Weapons, Walker Publishing Company, New York, 2007, pp. 99–102. 64 Ibid. 65 Brewster, India’s Ocean, p. 107. 66 Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs, “Riyadh Declaration: A New Era of Strategic Partnership,” 1 March 2010, available at https://mea. gov.in/bilateral-documents.htm?dtl/3700/riyadh+declaration+a+new+era +of+strategic+partnership.html. 67 Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs, “Document Signed D ­ uring the Official Visit of Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and M ­ inister of Defence of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to India,” 26 February 2014, ­available at http://www.mea.gov.in/incoming-visit-info.htm?1/679/Official+Visit +of+His+Royal+Highness+Prince+Salman+bin+Abdulaziz+Al+Saud+Crown

Maritime security and West Asian States  115 +Prince+Deputy+Prime+Minister+and+Defence+Minister+of+the+Kingdom +of+Saudi+Arabia+to+India+February+2628+2014.html. 68 “India-Saudi Arabia Trade Relations: Sky is the Limit” The Diplomatist, ­January 2017, available at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/318960164. html. 69 “Crown Prince MBS Flies to Riyadh First as India Objects to Direct Arrival from Pakistan,” News18, 19 February 2019. 70 Government of India, “India-Saudi Bilateral Relations,” Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi, December 2018, p. 4. 71 “India May Partner Japan, US, UAE & Saudi Arabia,” The Economic Times, 7 December 2018. 72 “China Wants Saudi as Key Belt and Road partner,” Arabianindustry.com, 11 July 2018, available at https://www.arabianindustry.com/construction/ news/2018/jul/11/china-wants-saudi-as-key-belt-and-road-partner-5952245. html. 73 “Chinese Drone Factory in Saudi Arabia first in Middle East,” South China Morning Post, 27 March 2017. 74 “Rocket-Engine Test Stand at Secret Saudi Missile Base Resembles Chinese Design, Experts Say,” South China Morning Post, 27 January 2019. 75 Government of India, “India-UAE Relations,” Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi, November 2017, p. 1. 76 Ibid. 77 Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs, “Official Visit of Prime Minister to UAE,” 11 August 2015, available at http://mea.gov.in/outoging-­ visit-detail.htm?25688/Official+Visit+of+Prime+Minister+to+UAE.html. 78 “India, UAE Ink 14 Pacts in Key Areas Like Defence, Security,” The Economic Times, 13 July 2018. 79 “Abu Dhabi Oil Company Hires India’s Strategic Oil Storage,” The Economic Times, 12 November 2018. 80 “Five UAE Diplomats Killed in Afghanistan Attack,” Al Jazeera, 11 January 2017. 81 “India, UAE Ink 14 Pacts in Key Areas Like Defence, Security,”. 82 “India’s Modi Authorized Capture of Runaway Dubai Princess, Newspaper Claims,” Washington Post, 28 April 2018. 83 “Two Indian Ships Take Part in UAE-India Naval Exercise,” Gulf News, 18 March 2018. 84 “United Arab Emirates Naval Training Centre,” 10 December 2016, available at http://www.cae.com/uploadedfiles/content/businessunit/defence_and_­security/ media_centre/document/dm094_unitedarabemiratesnavaltrainingcentre_eng_ nov2016_noncrop.html. 85 “Indian Navy will Support Anti-piracy Operations,” Khaleej Times, 17 ­ September 2013. 86 “UAE, China Expand Trade, Cultural Relations Following Xi’s Visit,” Xinhua, 25 September 2018. 87 “A New Era Beckons for UAE-China Relations,” Arabian Business, 27 July 2018. 88 John Hurley, Scott Morris, and Gailyn Portelance, Examining the Debt Implications of the Belt and Road Initiative from a Policy Perspective, Center for Global Development Policy Paper 121, pp. 6–8, March 2018. 89 Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs, “Suo-Moto Statement by Minister of External Affairs and Overseas Indian Affairs in Rajya Sabha on Recent Developments in the Republic of Yemen and Efforts Made for Safe Evacuation of Indian Nationals from There,” 27 April 2015, available at http:// mea.gov.in/Speeches-Statements.htm?dtl/25129.html.

116  Maritime security and West Asian States 90 I-wei Jennifer Chang, China and Yemen’s Forgotten War, United States Institute of Peace Brief 241, Washington D.C., 16 January 2018, p. 1. 91 Ibid. 92 “Yemen Crisis: Why is There a War?” BBC, 18 December 2018. 93 “Arab Group Wants India on Board in Yemen,” The Hindu, 18 June 2018. 94 Chang, China and Yemen’s Forgotten War, p. 2 95 Ibid. 96 Ibid., p. 4. 97 Geoffrey Kemp, Asia: East Moves West, Working Paper No: 6, H.H. Sheikh Naseer al-Mohammad al-Sabah Research, Abu Dhabi, February 2013, pp. 5–9. 98 T.S.V. Ramanna, “Chinese Diplomatic Riposte in the Gulf?” National ­Maritime Foundation Commentary, 25 September 2010. 99 Ibid. 100 Andrew S. Erikson and Gabriel Collins, “Dragon Tracks: Emerging ­Chinese Access Points in the Indian Ocean Region,” Asia Maritime Transparency ­Initiative, 18 June 2015, pp. 1–2. 101 Anthony Cordesman and Anthony Peacock, The Arab-US Strategic ­Partnership and the Changing Security Balance in the Gulf, Centre for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, DC, October 2015, pp. 144–146.

6 Maritime security cooperation with East African states and Indian Ocean island countries

India has deep historical, cultural, and political bonds with Africa, with a sizeable Indian diaspora settled in the region. Even though the Indians in Africa have faced hostility in many countries in the not so distant past, causing political tensions, in recent years, India has developed robust strategic relations with several African countries. As a net security provider in the ­Indian Ocean, India has also been closely involved in the maritime security of the region, particularly since the resurgence of piracy off Somalia beginning from 2005. Not surprisingly, India has sought to leverage its maritime power to progress its foreign policy in East Africa. For instance, in ­September 2014, four Indian naval ships proceeded on a twomonth-long overseas deployment to East Africa and the Southern Indian Ocean. The ships called at Antisiranana (Madagascar), Mombasa (Kenya), Dar-e-­Salaam ­(Tanzania), St Denis (Reunion Island, France), Port Louis (­Mauritius), Port Victoria (Seychelles), Nacala (Mozambique), and Simon’s Town (South Africa).1 Evidently, the timing of this friendly projection of naval reach and power was aimed to prepare the ground for the third India-­ Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi in October 2015, which saw the largest ever gathering of African heads of states in India.2 The East African states acknowledge the Indian Navy’s rising profile and presence in the Indian Ocean and seem to be keen to promote maritime security cooperation with India. In fact, maritime security cooperation and development of the Blue economy were two key points that featured ­prominently at the 2015 India-Africa summit. A joint statement issued at the summit stated, We note that Africa and India, besides having large landmasses, have very long coastlines and a large number of island territories. We recognize the importance of the oceans and seas to the livelihoods of our ­peoples and that maritime security is a pre-requisite for the development of the Blue/ Ocean economy. India would work to support ­Africa, as appropriate, in the implementation of the AU 2050 Africa’s Integrated Maritime (AIM) Strategy in accordance with International Maritime Law.3

118  Maritime security and East African States and Indian Ocean Islands Manifestly, India seeks to benefit from Africa’s vast natural resources and also counter growing Chinese influence in the region. Prime Minister Modi has been actively seeking to promote Indian investments in Africa and at the 2105 summit; he announced a $600 million aid package to support ­infrastructure projects in Africa.4 Earlier in 2009, India launched a Pan African e-Network Project, linking 54 African states in a fibre-optic network to provide satellite connectivity, tele-medicine, and tele-education, connecting several leading Indian super specialty hospitals and universities with hospitals and education centres in Africa.5 Indian trade with Africa has grown 20-fold since 2000, from $3 billion to $70 billion in 2014, though considerably smaller compared to China’s trade with Africa, which has s­ urpassed $200 billion since 2014.6 Over the past several decades, China, in an effort to diversify its energy sources and make inroads into new markets, has deepened its engagements with the African states. Africa is a strategic node in China’s belt and road initiative (BRI), and clearly, strong relations with African states along the various logistics corridors are imperative for its success. China seems to have gained considerable political, diplomatic, and economic influence in Africa, and following the establishment of a naval base at Djibouti in 2017, it is well placed to promote operational naval cooperation. In addition to this naval presence, China also has sizeable Army troops (including armoured vehicles and artillery) based in Africa under UN missions, particularly concentrated in countries where China has major economic interests.7 Thus, with a significant military presence in Africa, China is now making all-out efforts to promote wide-ranging defence cooperation with African states, including defence sales, training, and joint exercises. Pertinently, China is already the largest weapon supplier to sub-Saharan Africa.8 The rapid expansion of Chinese economic influence in Africa is not without risks and has also raised suspicion amongst the local population in many parts. For instance, large-scale Chines investments have increased the risk of several countries falling into a “debt trap” wherein states have had to handover sovereign assets as witnessed in Sri Lanka. Furthermore, many practices of Chinese corporations that favour Chinese nationals over locals have led to a rising anti-China sentiment in many countries. The underlying questions is whether or not Chinese growing economic clout in Africa could surpass India’s influence which is rooted in historical and diaspora linkages. The Chinese may seem to be leading for now, but things could change if India is successful in out-manoeuvring China in certain key regional states or if the Sino-African relationship turns toxic. This chapter looks at India’s extant bilateral security ties and China’s contemporary relations with the West Indian Ocean states that include Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, France, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, and Tanzania. It also makes an overall assessment of the strength of India’s bilateral strategic relationships with the various states and the challenges from China’s growing influence in these countries and recommends strategic options for India to adopt.

Maritime security and East African States and Indian Ocean Islands  119

Egypt India has a long history of close contacts with Egypt, which have continued uninterrupted till date despite the political turmoil of recent years. In addition to close political understanding, trade, investment, and cultural contacts have remained the core of India’s relationship with Egypt. India has been an important trading partner for Egypt, and bilateral trade in 2018 was estimated at $3.68 billion.9 In 2006, India signed a defence cooperation agreement with Egypt; however, bilateral maritime security cooperation has been limited to occasional ship visits.10 In September 2018, during the visit of the Indian defence minister to Egypt, it was decided to upgrade the extant defence ties to include cooperation in counter-terrorism, combined exercises, and joint development of military equipment.11 However, progress so far has been slow and restricted, ostensibly since Egypt lies on the fringes of India’s area of interest. In comparison to India, China’s relations with Egypt have expanded rapidly. Egypt’s Suez Canal lies at the heart of China’s maritime silk road and not surprisingly China is the largest current investor in the Suez ­Canal where it is also developing a special economic zone. China has been Egypt’s ­largest trading partner since 2012, and its economic engagements have swelled ­considerably in recent years.12 Following a relative decline in Egypt’s relations with the United States and a reluctance in Washington to supply arms, Cairo has sought to diversify its diplomatic engagements with Russia and China. In 2014, Egypt signed a $3.5 billion arms deal with Russia and a comprehensive strategic partnership with China. However, despite the upswing in Sino-Egypt relations, it is believed that China’s economic investments in Egypt may not translate into political or military influence, given the leverages maintained by the United States and the role of other regional investors notably Saudi Arabia and the UAE.13

Eritrea Eritrea, which won its independence from Ethiopia in 1993 after a 30-year war, is one of the poorest African nations. However, by way of its strategic location in the Horn of Africa adjacent to Djibouti, and two deep-water ports at Massawa and Assab, it offers the same strategic benefits as Djibouti for navies. Already, the Assab port and airfield are being used as a military base by the UAE and reportedly Eritrea has offered military basing facilities to Russia.14 India’s has had historical trading relations with Massawa in Eritrea, but few high-level interactions have been seen. Indian troops were deployed in Ethiopia and Eritrea until December 2007 under the UN mission and participated in providing medical support and assistance in construction of roads and wells. India has offered capacity-building assistance in several fields, ranging from legislative drafting, technical scholarships for higher studies, training for diplomats and food aid. However, bilateral ties have not yet progressed to include defence cooperation.

120  Maritime security and East African States and Indian Ocean Islands Meanwhile, Chinese interest in Eritrea has been growing since 2001 when China cancelled an outstanding debt and further committed several ­multi-million dollar development projects, most notably a large hospital at the capital city of Asmara, completed in 2006, and communication infrastructure projects.15 Other Chinese investments in Eritrea include major stakes in the mining of copper, zinc, gold, and silver. Eritrea is an important partner in China’s BRI, and Port Massawa is a key point along the maritime silk road through the Red Sea. Significantly, the President of Eritrea, Isaias Afewerki, who received his political training in 1967, under Communist Party of China (CPC) trainers is a good friend of China.16

Sudan India has historical linkages with Sudan, which have continued f­ ollowing the partition of South Sudan in 2011. Because of India’s policy of non-­ interference in the two civil wars in Sudan – leading to the country’s ­division – India has been able to maintain friendly relations with both S ­ udan and South Sudan. Until 2011, India maintained an Army contingent under the UN Mission to Sudan, and following the country’s division, this group was later moved to the newly created South Sudan in 2011 where it remains till date. Bilateral trade between India and Sudan was over $930 million in 2016 and India has been the third largest exporter to Sudan after China and the UAE.17 Indian national oil companies have invested in Sudan’s oil sector whilst private-sector investments include iron ore, gold mining, steel manufacturing, and pharmaceutical sectors.18 In September 2013, the Sudanese Secretary General, Ministry of Defence, visited New Delhi to discuss scope for defence cooperation and even toured the Indian Defence Services Staff College.19 However, progress in Indo-Sudan defence ties is yet to be seen. But the recent lifting of Western trade sanctions on Sudan in 2017 could gradually pave the way for Indian defence/naval training assistance.20 As Sudan’s largest trading partner, China holds considerable sway over the country. Traditionally, Sudan has been one of the largest suppliers of oil in Africa and more than two-thirds of its oil is imported by China, which has invested heavily in the energy sector in Sudan. China was also the largest supplier of arms to Sudan during the period of civil war, going against UN sanctions that prohibited sales of arms and equipment to Khartoum’s regime and rebels in Darfur.21 In fact, in 2004, China threated to veto UN Security Council Resolution 1564 which called for oil embargo on Sudan and subsequently stalled other UN Security Council resolutions, condemning President Bashir and his regime’s alleged war crimes in South Sudan, Darfur, and other areas.22 China continued to stand with President Bashir even as he was wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity and genocide.23 Clearly, China’s political and military influence in Sudan can only be expected to strengthen under the belt and road cooperation.

Maritime security and East African States and Indian Ocean Islands  121

Djibouti Djibouti is a small state with a population less than one million and limited natural resources, yet its strategic location at the mouth of the Red Sea gives it a natural “gatekeeper” status, which the country has used to its advantage. President Guelleh has envisioned development of Djibouti as a ­regional logistics hub like Dubai and Singapore.24 The emergence of ­piracy off Somalia from 2005 has aided Djibouti in playing a pivotal role in the region and providing naval basing facilities for China, France, Italy, ­Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States – many of whom have had ­varying degrees of military presence in the country for several years.25 The presence of multinational naval forces in Djibouti has made it the most secure port in the Horn of Africa. India has also cultivated close relations with ­Djibouti, and Indian naval ships deployed on anti-piracy missions frequently enter Djibouti for operational turnaround. In 2015, Indian naval ships had entered Djibouti to disembark Indian workers evacuated from conflict-hit Yemen. Reportedly, under a new Indo-Japan agreement, could be allowed to access Japanese logistics facilities at Djibouti. In October 2017, the ­Indian ­President Kovind visited Djibouti, first-ever visit by an Indian head of state. A joint statement issued during the visit made specific references to ­maritime security cooperation in the Indian Ocean region along with terrorism, renewable energy, and Djibouti’s membership of the International Solar Alliance. Presently, India has no formal defence cooperation agreement with Djibouti, and the small size of their naval force seems to have precluded any meaningful maritime cooperation. Moreover, the large presence of several multinational forces in the region has effectively reduced the scope for exclusive bilateral maritime cooperation. Djibouti is a focal point along China’s maritime belt, where Chinese military and commercial interests converge. In August 2017, China commissioned its first overseas military base at Djibouti. A few months prior, President Golleh had inaugurated the Chinese-built multipurpose port at Doraleh, a few minutes’ drive from the naval base. Reportedly, the PLA Navy has exclusive authority to use one of the berths in Port Doraleh.26 It is evident from these developments that China has planned and created dual-use infrastructure that could serve both commercial and military purposes, and clearly, Chinese-built ports in the Indian Ocean region could also be potential naval bases. Other major Chinese projects in Djibouti include the Ethiopian-Djiboutian electric railway – the first of its kind in Africa – completed at a cost of $4 billion and a $300 million-plus water pipeline system to transport drinking water from Ethiopia to Djibouti.27 For a country with a GDP of around $1.8 billion, these projects indicate that Djibouti could be heading for a “debt trap.” A failure to repay its loans to China could entail transfer of land and assets to China as witnessed in Sri Lanka. This could potentially have huge security implications not only for India in the region but pertinently for the United States and others based at Djibouti.

122  Maritime security and East African States and Indian Ocean Islands

Somalia India has played a key role in the rehabilitation of Somalia, which has had the longest history as a failed state since the outbreak of civil war in 1991. An Indian Army contingent of 4,600 personnel, supported by the Indian Navy, participated in the UN mission in Somalia from 1993 to 1994. This has been the only UN mission to date, which has seen the active participation of the Indian Navy. Later, in 2011, India also contributed to the African Union Mission for Somalia (AMISOM).28 Subsequent developments in Somalia, which sparked off the piracy problem in the region beginning from 2005, led to unprecedented efforts by the global community aimed at combating the threat. India had belatedly joined in the effort in 2008, though it has maintained at least one ship on patrol continuously. The deployment of the Indian Navy was precipitated by strong protests by the families of Indian seafarers-held hostage by ­Somali pirates. India provides over 7 per cent of the manpower in the shipping industry and hence India seafarers formed a majority group of the sailors-held hostage.29 India also has a leadership role in the UN Contact Group on P ­ iracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS), the apex forum dealing with ­Somali piracy. India’s engagements with the Somali government were mostly related to securing the release of Indian sailors-held hostage. The situation on land in Somalia appears to have improved and Somalia seems to be moving towards a new phase of rehabilitation, largely assisted by the EU and various international organisations. India has made significant contributions towards improving the condition of the Somali people and is the preferred destinations for Somali students. In 2018, over 20 S ­ omali diplomats received training in India.30 Bilateral trade has steadily expanded since 2013, and total trade amounted to $506 million in 2017.31 A Somalia delegation led by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud visited India to participated in the India-Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi in October 2015 and met with Prime Minister Modi. President Mohamud is an alumnus of the Barkatullah University in India, which later conferred him an honorary doctorate degree. Piracy off Somalia that had been effectively reduced from 2012 onwards, helped in a large measure by private onboard security employed by merchant ships, is back once again with Somali pirates hijacking two vessels in March 2017.32 Reportedly, the situation once again has been brought under control,33 but it is viewed that full-fledged piracy could erupt anytime if the security measures in place were to be reduced. Moreover, the threat of terrorism from groups such as Al-Shabab and other affiliates of Al-Qaeda, is a real and present danger in the region. It is, therefore, likely that the international focus on piracy off Somali will continue unabated in the near term. China is seen as playing a leading role in the development of Somalia and built over 80 infrastructural projects such as hospitals, stadiums, and roads.

Maritime security and East African States and Indian Ocean Islands  123 Somalia is supportive of the BRI, but given the current state of development and security in the country, it is unlikely that the country would play any significant role in the maritime silk road, in the near term to mid-term.

Kenya India’s relations with Kenya have expanded considerably in recent times, marked by several high-level visits. In July 2016, Prime Minister Modi’s state visit to Kenya imparted a fresh impetus to the bilateral relationship. During this visit, Modi gifted 30 ambulances to Kenya for use by the Army. This visit was reciprocated by President Kenyatta in January 2017. D ­ uring both the bilateral talks, cooperation in defence, counter-terrorism, and maritime security figured prominently besides discussions on expanding trade and investment relationship. Terror groups such as the Al-Qaeda– linked ­Al-Shabab are active in Kenya where they have carried out a couple of large-scale attacks. Kenya has, therefore, been keen to have a continuous dialogue on maritime surveillance, counter-terrorism, drug smuggling, and human trafficking.34 India is also a favoured destination for Kenyan students seeking higher education and Kenyans seeking medical treatment. Reportedly, more than 10,000 Kenyans travel to India every year for medical treatment spending nearly $100 million.35 Presently, India is Kenya’s largest trading partner with bilateral trade having crossed $4 billion in 2014, but heavily skewed in India’s favour.36 India’s trade with Kenya has been facilitated by a sizeable presence of Indian-origin merchants, who not only wield considerable economic clout but have also been subjected to mistreatment. Notably, in 2008, the Indian community was attacked in the city of Kisumu, leading to several fleeing the country.37 Apparently, the Indian Navy was kept on standby for a possible evacuation, though such an eventuality did not arise.38 Due to a formal defence cooperation agreement between the two countries, India and Kenya have close naval cooperation including regular exchanges of visits by defence delegations, ship visits, hydrographic a­ ssistance, naval training, and defence exports. In 2014, Indian naval hydrographic ships were deployed off Kenya to conduct surveys along the Manda and Mkokoni Bays. Earlier, the Indian Navy had also jointly conducted hydrographic surveys with the Kenyan Navy. Several Kenyan defence officers have received basic and advanced training in India, and additionally, the Indian Navy has deputed its own training team in Kenya. The Kenyan Navy, though a small force, is regarded as the best-equipped navy in East Africa.39 It participated in the multinational exercise Milan hosted by the Indian Navy at Port Blair in February 2014 and is an active member of the Indian Ocean Naval ­Symposium (IONS). China-Kenya relations were upgraded to a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership in recent years and currently China is Kenya’s largest trading partner and investor. A comprehensive strategic cooperative

124  Maritime security and East African States and Indian Ocean Islands partnership implies defence cooperation, but no significant bilateral ­m ilitary cooperation has been noted. Chinese investments have expanded rapidly since 2015, following Kenya’s admission into the BRI. Kenya has contracted atleast 14 projects with China worth $8.5 billion and also received grants and other investment projects – mainly in the manufacturing, construction, and hospitality sectors - valued almost $1 billion.40 China’s flagship project in Kenya is the country’s new 472 kilometres long standard gauge railway or SGR, estimated to be worth $3.2 billion. The railway line has been planned to eventually connect land-locked African states, including South Sudan, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, and Ethiopia to Ports Lamu and Mombasa in Kenya thence to the Indian Ocean.41 It is expected that the rail link will facilitate future trade between the African states and also improve international trade. However, Chinese projects and investments in Kenya are not without problems and have caused resentment amongst the locals who have accused Chinese companies of unfair hiring practices and racial discrimination, leading to sporadic protests and attacks on Chinese workers. Further, a 2018 report by Kenya’s Auditor-General had sparked fears that the Chinese debt could be unsustainable and possibly lead to the Chinese taking over Port Mombasa, although the Kenyan president later stated that there was no cause for alarm.42 However, Kenya’s debt to China has grown to more than half of its GDP and the risk of a “debt trap” is assessed to be real.43

Tanzania India enjoys friendly relations with Tanzania, home to a sizeable Indian population and a major trading partner. The President of Tanzania, J­ akaya Kikwete, visited New Delhi in June 2015, followed by the Vice President, Mohammed Gharib Bilal in October, to attend the third India-Africa ­Forum Summit in New Delhi. Later in July 2016, Prime Minister Modi made a state visit to Tanzania. India is one of the largest trading partners of Tanzania and has current funding commitments estimated at about $1 billion for development projects.44 The two countries have signed several MoUs for cooperation, including an MoU for defence cooperation signed in 2003 and hydrographic assistance in 2015.45 The Tanzanian Navy comprises a mix of old and new patrol boats, including a few donated by China, inadequate to meet the maritime threats and challenges of the region. I­ ndia’s defence ­cooperation with Tanzania includes regular ship visits, training assistance, exchanges of visits by defence delegations, defence exports, and hydrographic assistance. Tanzania is a member of IONS and a participant in the biennial multilateral exercise Milan. Indian naval hydrographic ships conducted a “pioneer survey” of Pemba Island, including surveys of the Port Wesha, and Kiuyo and Pemba Channel in 2018.46 Earlier, an I­ ndian hydrographic vessel carried out a month-long joint operational survey with Tanzanian personnel in Dar-es-Salaam harbour in January 2014.47

Maritime security and East African States and Indian Ocean Islands  125 Notwithstanding the above maritime cooperative engagements, there has been a lack of materiel support by India. Tanzania maintains close strategic relations with China from whom it has received significant defence assistance in the form of training support, military hardware, and infrastructure. In 2018, the Tanzanian President John Magafuli inaugurated a Chinese-built training centre for the ­Tanzania People’s Defence Forces (TPDF) at Mapinga in Bagamoyo District where, in 2014, China signed a contract to build a new mega port and economic zone at Bagamoyo under the framework of the BRI. The megaproject is expected to cost at least $10 billion since Tanzania could not raise the necessary capital, a part (undisclosed) ownership of the port has been handed over to China.48 The Bagamoyo project includes railway lines stretching over 2,500 kilometres, connecting the port to land-locked ­neighbours, which have also been awarded to a Chinese consortium.49 The proximity of a large defence training centre close to a mega port under ­Chinese ownership has given rise to speculation that Bogamoyo could be the next Chinese naval base in the Indian Ocean region when it commences operations by around 2020.

The Comoros The Union of Comoros, a former French Colony, is one of the smallest and poorest countries in the Indian Ocean region. It is an archipelago of three ­islands: Anjouan, Moheli, and Grande Comore, which is the largest island. A fourth island, Mayotte, is claimed by Comoros but administered by France since 2011.50 As a result of this dispute, Comoros and Madagascar backed by South Africa and others have consistently thwarted France’s efforts to become a full member of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), the apex regional institution. Evidently, France has solicited India’s support to gain membership of the IORA. The Comoros islands are strategically located at the northern entrance of the Mozambique Channel between Mainland Africa and Mozambique. Since independence from France in 1975, the country has experienced several coups and continues to remain largely underdeveloped. An Indian consulate is located in Moroni, and the Indian Ambassador to Madagascar is accredited to the Comoros.51 The Comoros has a miniscule Indian diaspora, and thus cultural interactions have been largely absent. High-level political exchanges have also been limited, except for the recent visit by the Comoros president Dr. Ikililou Dhoinine in October 2015 for the India-Africa Forum Summit at New Delhi. Bilateral trade in 2016–17 was $46.44 million.52 The Comoros became a full member of the IORA in 2012 during a conference in India. India has had no notable maritime engagement with the Comoros, although training assistance and some government aid has been offered, and Comoros is part of the Pan African e-Network Project and the tsunami warning system of the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) network.

126  Maritime security and East African States and Indian Ocean Islands However, India has achieved a significant level of engagement with its neighbour, Madagascar. China was the first country to recognise the Union of Comoros after ­independence from France in1975 and has now emerged as its primary partner over France. Chinese assistance programmes to the Comoros ­include medical and health support, infrastructure such as power plants, airports, stadiums, and schools.53 Reportedly, China is also providing training for the Comorian army personnel, including Mandarin-language classes. ­Evidently, China’s interest in the Comoros is based on the strategic location of the islands which could serve as an intelligence-gathering base and also help to control shipping along the Mozambique Channel. Furthermore, the recent discovery of oil reserves near the islands provides huge potential for economic exploitation. Regardless of Chinese motives, the Comorians ­appear to have largely welcomed their investments; the Comorian vice president once stated, “China tries to do all the best for us.”54 Clearly, Chinese influence in the Comoros seems set to intensify in coming years.

Madagascar Madagascar has a history of political instability and violence, which seems to have marred India’s bilateral ties over the past decade. However, with a relatively stable political regime since 2014 and following on from the success of the India-Africa Forum Summit at New Delhi in 2015, India has stepped-up efforts to reach out to Madagascar and revitalise the neglected relationship. In March 2018, Indian President Kovind visited Mauritius and Madagascar in his first official visit to Africa since taking over office.55 This was also the first-ever visit to Madagascar by an Indian head of state. Madagascar reciprocated warmly and awarded President Kovind the Grand Cross of the Second Class, the highest honour given to non-citizens. ­Significantly, MoUs on defence cooperation and air services were signed during this visit, expanding the scope of bilateral relations which were largely centred on ­capacity-building missions focused on agriculture, health, and education sectors. A joint statement released during the visit emphasised cooperation on maritime security and safety, including expanding the scope for coast guard and naval engagements.56 Madagascar’s vulnerability to maritime threats was exposed between 2007 and 2008, when Somali pirates started attacking ships in the Mozambique Channel. The Madagascar Navy comprises only a few small boats, largely been supported by the French, and was ineffective in ensuring security. French military assistance to M ­ adagascar was suspended from 2009 to 2011, during a period of intense political crisis, and recommenced in mid-2013, has been inadequate to meet their maritime security requirements,57 and thus the Malagasy government seems keen to promote maritime security cooperation with India. As noted above, for the first time in history, four Indian naval ships visited the port of Antisiranana in October 2014, where Indian naval personnel undertook humanitarian

Maritime security and East African States and Indian Ocean Islands  127 activities and imparted basic professional training, including anti-piracy training, to Malagasy naval personnel.58 Later in September 2016, the I­ ndian Navy ­provided humanitarian assistance to Madagascar during the natural fires disaster at Ambilobe.59 Overall, an upswing in b ­ ilateral ­political relations seems to indicate that India-Madagascar maritime cooperation could ­expand in the coming years. China’s relations with Madagascar set it apart from all other African states – possibly with the exception of South Africa – due to the presence of a large Chinese diaspora estimated at over 60,000, much larger than population of persons of Indian origin in Madagascar which is about 20,000. ­Chinese labourers employed by the French had started arriving in Madagascar around mid-1800 and later established themselves as traders. Owing to the presence of a sizeable Sino-Malagasy community, the “new Chinese” who arrived in the1990s were perceived as less “foreign” in Madagascar than in other African societies.60 Evidently, this has facilitated China’s inroads into the Malagasy market. For China, Madagascar serves as “a bridge between the African continent and the Belt and Road Initiative.”61However, Madagascar’s dilapidated infrastructure means China will have to build it up to suit its BRI. Currently, China is involved in building a deep-water port in the bay of Narinda, on Madagascar’s northwestern coast facing Mozambique and a national highway connecting Antananarivo and Toamasina. Two major deals by China were the acquisition of iron ore mining rights and a 10-year deal for fishing rights in Madagacar’s EEZ for $2.7 billion.62 The fishing rights deal has been widely opposed by local fishermen. The mining rights were obtained during a period of political crisis when most countries would have preferred to stay away from Madagascar. A similar approach can be seen it other trouble spots in Africa and seems to suggest that China would be prepared to use force when required to defend its interests. However, Chinese wide-ranging investments in Madagascar i­ ncluding the traditional Vanilla trade are increasingly being opposed by the locals, and it is possible that an internal backlash could jeopardise ­Chinese investments and thus the long-term sustainability of various ­Chinese ­projects is not clear. Pertinently, China’s maritime cooperation with Madagascar has been limited except for a recent visit by PLA Navy ships deployed on anti-piracy patrols. Apparently, China has preferred to maintain close bilateral security ties with Madagascar’s neighbour, the Comoros.

Mauritius India’s relations with Mauritius can be described as time-tested, privileged, and multi-faceted, firmly anchored in a shared history and culture. Over 70 per cent of the population is of Indian descent, and not surprisingly, ­Mauritius has been described as “little India.”63 The “special status” ­accorded to Mauritius by India is evident from the fact that the Mauritius Prime ­Minister Dr. Navinchandra Ramgoolam was the only non-SAARC

128  Maritime security and East African States and Indian Ocean Islands representative to be invited for Prime Minister Modi’s swearing-in ceremony in May 2014. Later, in March 2015, Prime Minister Modi visited Mauritius where he announced India’s national maritime strategy for the Indian Ocean region, contained in the five-point policy framework statement, indicative of the strategic importance that India attaches to its relations with Mauritius. More recently, the Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth visited New Delhi in January 2019. India is a leading trade partner for Mauritius, with trade exceeding $1 billion in 2018. Presently, India has a comprehensive defence and maritime engagement policy for Mauritius and the range and depth of India’s defence cooperation programmes with Mauritius surpass those with other Indian Ocean states. In 1974, India helped Mauritius to set up a small maritime security force by donating a patrol boat, christened as MNS Amar.64 By 1987, this service grew into the Mauritius National Coast Guard, a specialised wing of the Mauritius Police Force, based at Port Louis and commanded by a seconded Indian naval officer. Presently, India’s maritime cooperation with Mauritius includes the entire spectrum of cooperation activities including staff talks, ships visits, training, reciprocal visits by senior officials, defence exports, information exchange, and a permanent presence of defence personnel on Mauritius on active duty. The Indian Navy also provides hydrographic assistance to Mauritius and conducts surveillance in its vast EEZ. Over the years, India has transferred several naval assets such as small boats, ships, and aircraft to Mauritius. The latest being a 1,300 tonnes offshore patrol vessel, Barracuda, which was handed over in the presence of Prime Minister Modi in Mauritius in March 2015.65 The Barracuda-class ship, built at a cost of $50 million on the lines of the Indian Navy’s indigenous Kora-class corvettes, is capable of helicopter operations and suited for all routine naval constabulary functions such as EEZ surveillance, search and rescue operations, and anti-piracy operations.66 With more such vessels planned for the smaller Indian Ocean littoral states, it is possible that India’s offshore patrol vessel programme could evolve along the lines of the ­Australia’s Pacific Patrol Boat Program (PPBP) to support the Pacific Island states protect their marine resources. The Pacific Patrol Boat, a much smaller 31 metre, 165 tonnes boat, compared to the 1,300 tonnes ­Barracuda-class,67 has been running for over 25 years and has been successfully put to use by the island states in varied roles rather than just fisheries protection duties, to include other tasks such as search and rescue, humanitarian assistance, and medical evacuations.68 In 2014, the Australian government had announced a $1.88 billion programme to replace the current fleet of patrol boats for 13 Pacific Island states with over 20, slightly bigger (about 40 ­metre) all-­ purpose patrol vessels.69 In addition to the patrol boats, Mauritius has received from India critical defence equipment such as communications sets, radars, and surveillance equipment. India has also installed a radar coastal surveillance system throughout the Mauritian island chain, including five stations on the

Maritime security and East African States and Indian Ocean Islands  129 islands of Mauritius and one each on Rodrigues, Saint Brandon, and the Agalega islands.70 Mauritius, along with the Seychelles, joined the India-Sri ­Lanka-Maldives maritime domain awareness project in 2014 for information sharing and tracking movements of merchant ships in the region.71 In addition to materiel assistance, the Indian Navy has deputed several teams led by serving officers to Mauritius on a permanent basis to provide training, hydrographic assistance and technical support, and manning of ships. As noted above, the Mauritius Coast Guard continues to be headed by an Indian naval officer and, in addition to some other naval personnel based in Mauritius, the security advisor to the Mauritius prime minister is reportedly a senior Research and Analysis Wing (RAW)72 official.73 In 2006, there were rumours that Mauritius had agreed to hand over to India its twin Agalega islands, located 1,000 kilometres north of Mauritius, en route to the Seychelles.74 The rumours were actually confirmed to be true in 2015, during Modi’s visit to Mauritius where he witnessed the signing of an MoU for “setting up and upgradation of infrastructure for improving sea and air connectivity” and enhancing “capabilities of the Mauritian Defence Forces in safeguarding their interests in the Outer Island. Reportedly, the signing of the MoU was followed by protests, led by a tiny group of about 300 residents of Agalega, who were concerned that they could be uprooted from the islands like the native of the Chagos islands which were taken over by the United Kingdom in the 1960s only to handover to the United States as Diego Garcia, for establishment of a naval base. Mauritius’s claim to the Chagos, backed by India, has also found support at the International Court of Justice. The concerns of the Agalegans have now been resolved, and in 2018, it was reported that India has extended $87 million for infrastructure projects in Agalega, due for completion in 2021.75 Reportedly, the local population welcomed the Indian project team at Agalega. The infrastructure development involves extension of the extant runway at Agalega, from 1,300 to 3,000 metres, making it suited for operation by large aircraft such as the Indian Navy’s maritime patrol aircraft P8I, and building of jetties to accommodate larger ships.76 Given the unique nature of India’s political and security ties with Mauritius, a permanent Indian naval base in Mauritius could be considered a distinct possibility in the future. Mauritius has maintained friendly relations with China since independence in 1968, helped by a sizeable Chinese diaspora which has preserved former trading links. The Chinese {resident Xi Jinping visited Mauritius in July 2018 to a grand reception. This was his first overseas trip after re-­election in March 2018, and bilateral trade and investment under the BRI were the two main items for discussions. Mauritius seems to have taken care to limit Chinese engagements to trade and investments to not antogonise India, and there was no talk of defence/ security cooperation with China. The two countries have signed a free trade agreement and China recently overtook India as Mauritius’s largest trading partner. It has also made several investments in infrastructure projects such as the upgradation of the Ramgoolam

130  Maritime security and East African States and Indian Ocean Islands International Airport, health facilities, the Bagatelle Dam, and a new sports complex.77 Mauritius presents itself as the strategic “gateway” to Africa and a potential entreport along the maritime silk road, but its small size, southerly location, and proximity to the USN base at Diego Garicia could limit its actual importance for China, and the Seychelles could probably be a more advantageous option for China.

The Seychelles By virtue of its strategic location in the Indian Ocean and sizeable Indian diaspora (roughly eight per cent of the total population), the Seychelles is an important country in India’s strategic calculus. With a large EEZ covering 1.3 million square kilometres and inadequate capacity for maritime surveillance, the Seychelles has often relied on the Indian Navy for surveillance efforts. In recent years, India’s relations with the Seychelles have been largely dominated by maritime security cooperation and capacity building for the Seychelles Peoples’s Defence Forces (SPDF) has always been high on the agenda for India. In March 2015, when Prime Minister Modi started his three-nation Indian Ocean tour with a visit to the Seychelles, he reiterated India’s support to the Seychelles to develop its security capabilities.78 India’s naval cooperation with the Seychelles presently includes staff talks, ship visits, a bilateral exercise codenamed Lamitye, hydrographic assistance, training and technical support, and defence exports. Indian naval ships routinely visit the Seychelles to carry out EEZ surveillance. In 2015, an Indian naval hydrographic ship was deployed off Seychelles to conduct hydrographic survey of Victoria Port and adjoining areas. Over the years, India has donated warships, aircraft, military vehicles, and surveillance equipment to the SPDF. In 2015, the Prime Minister Modi handed over a Dornier-228 maritime reconnaissance aircraft. A similar aircraft had been gifted earlier in 2013. In November 2014, the Chief of Naval Staff of the Indian Navy had visited the Seychelles to formally transfer a patrol boat to the Seychelles Coast Guard.79 Subsequently, in February 2016, the head of the Indian Coast Guard visited the Seychelles to hand over a patrol craft.80 These gifts are in addition to a ship donated earlier in 2006. Besides military hardware, India also provides training at various levels to senior officers and personnel from the SPDF.81 Many of the senior officers trained in India have gone on to occupy key positions in the military establishment of their country. India has recently set up a coastal radar network in the Seychelles, and as noted above, the Seychelles also has joined the India-Sri Lanka-Maldives maritime domain awareness project. The Indian Navy has deputed a team of officers on a permanent basis for training and technical support. Further, Indian defence officers serve as the Military Adviser, Maritime Security Adviser, Medical Adviser, and Naval Adviser (Technical) to the SPDF.82 Most significantly, days after China announced its decision to establish a basing facility at Djibouti, in December 2015, the Seychelles President James

Maritime security and East African States and Indian Ocean Islands  131 Michel announced that India would be leased a plot of land on Assumption Island, one of the 115 islands that constitute the Seychelles, to develop a naval base. He stated, This is a joint project between India and Seychelles involving our two Defence Forces in enhancing our mutual security along our western seaboard. Seychelles is absolutely committed to the project.83 However, within months of the announcement, James Michel came under severe criticism for compromising the country’s sovereignty and in 2016, his party lost the election, and President Danny Faure came into power. Following hectic parleys with the new government, India has managed to put the project back on track. In 2018, President Faure in his first official visit to New Delhi stated that the two countries had agreed to work together in the construction of a naval base at Assumption Island. Reportedly, the base includes an airstrip, jetty, and housing infrastructure for the Seychelles Coast Guard.84 India also announced a $100 million credit package to Seychelles for augmenting their defence capabilities.85 Whilst little is known about the upcoming naval base, it would be fair to assume that the base could potentially emerge as an Indian naval strategic outpost in the Indian Ocean in the coming years. Chinese economic engagements with the Seychelles have grown significantly in the past decade. In 2006, the president of the Seychelles visited Beijing to secure a $4.5 million grant from the Chinese government.86 Subsequently, in 2007, the Chinese President Hu Jintao visited the Seychelles at end of his eight African nation tour; he was the first-ever Chinese leader to visit the country.87 Hu Jintao described the Seychelles as “a shining pearl in the Indian Ocean.” China has since invested in several multi-million dollar projects, including the construction of the National Assembly and the Supreme Court buildings. In 2011, following the visit of China’s defence minister, General Liang Guanglie led a 40-member military delegation to Seychelles, “a nation with a 500-strong Seychelles Peoples Defence Force (SPDF).” Soon thereafter, China announced plans to set up a base in the Seychelles to support its anti-piracy operations in the region.88 As part of the developing ties, in 2014, China gifted the Seychelles a patrol craft and two Y-12 aircraft for maritime surveillance.89 Whilst China’s new found military interest in the Seychelles, raised concerns in India, no noteworthy PLA Navy activity was observed in the region, and in the end of 2015, China confirmed its plans of setting up a base at Djibouti. In any case, the announcement by President Michel of an Indian naval base in Seychelles had effectively put an end to speculation that the Seychelles was moving closer to China. Nevertheless, China’s economic interests in the Seychelles remain and during the visit of President Faure to Beijing in September 2018, the two countries signed an MoU for enhancing socio-economic and infrastructural development cooperation under the belt and road framework.90

132  Maritime security and East African States and Indian Ocean Islands India’s diplomatic efforts to counter Chinese military influence in the Seychelles seem to have paid off but clearly India will have to persist with its efforts and also follow through its economic and military commitments in the Seychelles to ensure sustained political support and attention.

Mozambique India’s relations with Mozambique are substantive and marked by regular high-level political interactions. All Mozambique presidents since independence have visited India. Most recently, President Filipe Nyusi, an alumnus of a leading management institute in India, visited New Delhi in August 2015. This state visit by later reciprocated by Prime Minister Modi in July 2016 when he began his four nations Africa tour with Mozambique. Significantly, Mozambique has a large Indian diaspora who have been well integrated into the country’s economy and society and have also maintained close cultural ties with their roots in India. As a resource-rich state with an abundance of natural gas, coal, and other minerals, located close to the hub of maritime piracy and spanning the Mozambique Channel, a strategic choke point, Mozambique is an important partner for India for energy trade as well as maritime security. Mozambique is keen to collaborate with India to develop its energy infrastructure and receive assistance in the agriculture, health care, and education sectors. The importance accorded to Mozambique is evident from the fact that one-quarter of India’s investments in Africa flow to Mozambique alone and India’s bilateral trade grew five times in five years to peak at $2.4 billion dollars in 2015.91 Indian state-owned oil and gas companies have invested over $6 billion in Mozambique’s Royuma gas fields and another $6 billion is planned by 2019.92 In 2010, the then Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh identified defence and security cooperation as one of the “four pillars” in the partnership between India and Mozambique.93 The Indian Navy has played a key role in providing maritime security for Mozambique. In 2003, at the invitation of the Mozambique government, the Indian Navy deployed ships off Maputo to help provide maritime security for the African Union summit, repeating the operation in 2004 when Maputo hosted the World Economic Forum.94 In 2006, India singed an MoU on defence cooperation with Mozambique, implemented by a joint committee.95 The MoU includes technical cooperation, logistics support, and training. It also covers combined maritime patrols and the repair of naval ships, as well as the rehabilitation of military infrastructure.96 However, the joint committee meetings for progressing defence cooperation since 2006 have been infrequent, and during the visit of President Nyusi in 2015, it was decided that the committee would meet more often.97 Currently, India’s maritime cooperation with Mozambique includes ship visits, training, hydrographic assistance, and defence exports. In 2011, Mozambique signed a maritime security agreement with India.98 Whilst specific details were not released

Maritime security and East African States and Indian Ocean Islands  133 to the public, it is likely that the agreement provides privileged access for Indian naval ships on deployments to receive logistics support in Mozambique. In March 2019, following Cyclone Idai which struck eastern and southern Africa, causing widespread damage and loss of lives in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi, the government of Mozambique requested India for assistance.99 The Indian Navy responded immediately, diverting three ships in the vicinity to render assistance. The Indian naval ships were the first to reach Mozambique, and the naval personnel were widely praised for their professional conduct. This was a commendable effort which adds creditability to India’s aspirations to be the regional net security provider and also helps to consolidate its regional strategic influence. Pertinently, the PLA Navy was conspicuous by its absence, and there were no PLA Navy ships available to participate. However, with the basing of PLA Navy ships at Djibouti, it is expected that this could change and China would utilise every such opportunity to expand its own diplomatic position in the region. As noted above, China has already established close relations with the ­Comoros islands and Madagascar; hence, for India, promoting strategic relations with Mozambique assumes greater urgency and importance. China’s early relations with Mozambique were framed by the membership of both countries in the communist bloc. China had provided military assistance to the Mozambican Liberation Front (Frelimo) fighters during their independence struggle against the Portuguese. Post-independence in 1975, China played a key role in the development of Mozambique under the Frelimo ­regime, although in later years Mozambique moved closer to the Soviet U ­ nion. During the Cold War, Mozambique was embroiled in a lengthy civil war which ended in 1992 and Mozambique transitioned to a democratic government in an election overseen by the United Nations. With the onset of peace, Mozambique became a “model of co-operation with western countries and donors, after having adhered to the conditions and programmes presented by the Bretton Woods institutions in 1984.”100 China renewed its relations with Mozambique from 1997, although subsequent governments have not been able to “establish the same close connection as its predecessors did during the era of ideological solidarity.”101 Currently, China’s ties with Mozambique are largely limited to trade, investments in infrastructure, agriculture, and energy sectors. Bilateral defence cooperation that existed until a decade ago seems deficient with few exchanges except for a recent visit by the PLA Navy’s hospital ship Peace Ark, which called at Maputo in November 2017. However, increasing Chinese investments in Mozambique under the BRI could once again help to expand Chinese influence in Mozambique.

South Africa India’s contemporary relations with South Africa have been framed in the context of bilateral cooperation and multilateral fora such as the India-­ Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) grouping, the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South

134  Maritime security and East African States and Indian Ocean Islands Africa (BRICS), IORA, and others. Since its inception in 2003, IBSA proved to be a key forum of dialogue and cooperation between its constituent ­members. However, in recent times, this grouping appears to have been subsumed by the BRICS group of states, a Chinese-led multilateral initiative.102 But recent engagements between India and South Africa seem to suggest a growing bilateral relationship centred around common interests, particularly defence and maritime security cooperation that have always figured prominently during high-level discussions including the visit of Prime Minister Modi to South Africa in 2016 and President Ramaphosa’s recent state visit to New Delhi in January 2019 as the chief guest for the Republic Day parade. Evidently, South African defence industries are keen to explore opportunities in India and both countries have a common interest in maritime security in the Indian Ocean region. The South African Navy is the best-equipped naval force in Africa, though lack of government spending in recent years has resulted in ­degradation in capability.103 South Africa also held the chairmanship of IONS in 2012–13. ­Indian naval engagement with South Africa include staff talks, ship visits, training, exchanges of visits by senior officials, a dedicated trilateral exercise also involving Brazil codenamed Ibsamar, defence exports, and joint defence research and development on certain projects. The Indian Navy also has a small training team based in South Africa on a permanent basis. Since 2008, five editions of Ibsamar have been conducted; the first four were off the South African coast, whilst the fifth was held off Goa in February 2016.104 Even though South Africa is located at the fringes of India’s area of ­primary interest in the Indian Ocean and in an area where India is expected to have limited security concerns, yet the Indian Navy has established wide-ranging and deep relations with the South African Navy. Evidently, India views South Africa, like Australia at the other end of the region, as an important regional strategic partner that could accord greater legitimacy to its intended role as the net provider of security for the whole Indian Ocean. China has been South Africa’s largest trading partner and investor over the past decade, ever since Sino-South Africa relations were ­elevated to the level of a comprehensive strategic partnership in 2010 when the South ­African President Jacob Zuma made his state visit to Beijing. ­Direct ­investments from China to South Africa, in multiple sectors including marine economy, mining, finance, manufacturing, and infrastructure, crossed $25 billion in 2017. In mid-2018, when President Cyril Ramaphosa visited ­Beijing at a time when South Africa is on the brink of an economic ­recession, China committed an additional $10 billion in investments.105 As the largest economy in ­Africa, and a co-chair with China of the Forum on China-Africa ­Cooperation (FOCAC), South Africa has also played a key role in supporting Chinese engagements in Africa. Pertinently, China’s top five financial institutions have branches in South Africa. China’s political and strategic cooperation with South Africa can be framed in the context of

Maritime security and East African States and Indian Ocean Islands  135 four important platforms, notably, FOCAC cooperation, BRICS grouping, the BRI, and the South-South cooperation. In recent time, the two countries have moved forward to expand defence cooperation, which is steered by the China-South Africa Defense Committee. Following the eight defence committee meeting between the South African military chief and his counterpart in Beijing, a joint statement mentioned, China and South Africa will jointly promote the level of cooperation in defense affairs, and make positive contributions to the enrichment of the connotation of China-South Africa comprehensive strategic partnership in the new era as well as the maintenance of international and regional security and stability.106 Significantly, South Africa is increasingly being visited by PLA Navy ships and a PLA Navy Task Group of four ships called at Simon’s Town in June 2018. Clearly, defence and maritime cooperation between the two countries is set to expand, and it is likely that China could leverage its influence over the South African government to play a larger role in the Indian Ocean regional institutions, such as the IORA and IONS, currently dominated by India.

Overall assessment In recent years, India has sought to renew and revitalise its historic relations with Africa. This is evidenced from the fact that between 2014 when Prime Minister Modi came to power and end of 2018, a total of 26 high-level visits from India were made to the continent, including nine by Modi himself, and the rest at the President and Vice President levels.107 Equally, African countries that seemed to have lost interest in India as a partner are now keen to engage with India in many fronts including political, economic, technological, and security. The recrudescence of maritime piracy and terrorism in the African region in the past decade had exposed the vulnerability of the regional states as also their lack of defence/naval capacity. Increasingly, navies in the East ­A frican region are attempting to achieve greater cooperation through the sharing of limited resources and targeting their activities through the ­A frican Standby Force (ASF). The East African navies are also keen to engage with the ­Indian Navy to augment their capacities. The recent focused efforts by India to emerge as the net provider of security for the Indian Ocean region and enhance its naval engagements with the East African states have, therefore, been welcomed. However, based on the examination of India’s relations with the African states, it appears that for long India has taken its historical ties with Africa for granted and failed to nurture its bilateral relations with most countries. Consequently, India has lost

136  Maritime security and East African States and Indian Ocean Islands considerable influence in the region to China. Recent efforts to rekindle past friendships have achieved perceptible success in forging bilateral security relations with at least Kenya, Mozambique, and Madagascar, whilst India’s relations with Mauritius and Seychelles continue to remain particularly special and privileged. In comparison, Chinese sway over several states such as the Comoros, Eritrea, Tanzania, Djibouti, and, to some extent, in South Africa, seems to have surpassed India’s influence as a regional power. China’s engagements with Africa go back long before the announcement of the “belt and road” initiative in 2013. Presently, China has become A ­ frica’s largest trade partner and Africa is China’s second largest overseas construction project contract market and the fourth largest investment destination.108 So far, China has completed over a thousand projects in Africa and built 6,500 kilometres of railways, over 6,000 kilometres of highways, more than 200 schools, 80 stadiums, dozens of government office buildings, and a large number of airports and ports, helping intra-Africa trade and integrating it with the global economy.109 Contrary to the common perception that Chinese engagements with Africa are tantamount to neo-colonialism, the response of the African states has largely been positive, with the exception of a few local protests.110 In December 2015, speaking at the China-­A frica forum in South Africa, the Chinese President Xi Jinping announced a $60 billion package for development in Africa covering several areas, including infrastructure projects, health care, aid for drought-stricken countries, and thousands of scholarships for African students.111 The Zimbabwean ­President Robert Mugabe praised the Chinese president and stated, Here is a man representing a country once called poor, a country which was never our coloniser. He is doing to us what we expected those who colonised us yesterday to do … We will say he is a God-sent person.112 The continued acceptance of Chinese investments by African states over the past five decades is a sign that Chinese presence in Africa is seen “as that of a partner in economic development rather than an aspiring hegemon.”113 Clearly, China’s influence in the region surpasses all others and is expected to intensify further commensurate with the coming wave of investments under the “belt and road” initiative. It is obvious that the increasing Chinese investments and presence of a growing worker population will invariably lead to greater Chinese influence in the region and also call for greater naval presence facilitated by the PLA naval base at Djibouti. Additional bases at Comoros and Tanzania with whom China’s defence cooperation has intensified also seem likely. Obviously, these developments would support the PLA Navy in playing a larger role in the region. As the intended net security provider for the entire Indian Ocean region, India has been engaged in capacity building for the smaller regional navies, though, essentially, India’s own security interest in the East African region has been largely centred around the security of shipping, mainly along

Maritime security and East African States and Indian Ocean Islands  137 the  northeast African coast leading to the western Indian Ocean region, the Seychelles, and beyond. Consequently, whilst India’s contribution to the ongoing anti-piracy efforts in this part has been sustained, its maritime presence in East Africa and particularly the southern African region has remained relatively low key. It is also clear that India’s trade and economic engagements with Africa are much smaller compared to those of China, and it is therefore likely that India’s diplomatic and security relationships with the African states could potentially be overshadowed by China’s growing footprint in Africa, in the coming years. The recent deployment of Indian naval ships in March 2019, to render assistance in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai in Mozambique, was clearly a fortuitous event. But what if the Indian naval ships were not present close to Mozambique for immediate deployment and larger and more capable ships such as LPDs from the PLA Navy operating out of their new Djibouti naval base happened to be operating in the region? Clearly, China would have made full use of this opportunity to strengthen its own diplomatic position in the region to present itself as an alternate ­security provider for the region. In the long run, this could dilute India’s image as the primary net security provider. What does this mean for India? In order to retain its position as the ­primary net security provider for the Indian Ocean region and to add force to its diplomatic efforts, India will have to enhance its presence in the ­region. Clearly, in order to counter balance Chinese influence in the region, India must persist with its efforts to strengthen its political, diplomatic, and ­m ilitary engagements and push ahead with its plans for setting up naval bases at the Seychelles and Mauritius. It is likely that the PLA Navy operating of its base at Djibouti would too seek to increase its naval engagements in the region, and therefore until Indian naval bases are established in the region, the Indian Navy must maintain a high level of operational presence in the region.

Notes 1 Abhijit Singh, “IBSA Trilateralism and Southern Oceans’ Security – Evaluating India’s Strategic Responses,” Journal of the Indian Ocean Region, Vol. 11, No. 2, 2015, p. 206. 2 “India-Africa Summit to Elevate Ties, Maritime Security to be Important ­Subject: MEA,” ANI News, 17 October 2015. 3 Third India-Africa Forum Summit, Delhi Declaration 2015, New Delhi, ­October 2015, p. 4. 4 “Narendra Modi: India Pledges $600m to Help Africa,” BBC, 29 October 2015. 5 Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs, “Pan African e-Network Project (PAENP),” January 2013, p. 1. 6 Emily Ford, “India Reaches Out to Africa in Resources Race with China,” AFP, 22 October 2015. 7 Paul Nantulya, Chinese Hard Power Supports Its Growing Strategic Interests in Africa, Africa Centre for Security Studies, Washington D.C., 17 January 2019, p. 3.

138  Maritime security and East African States and Indian Ocean Islands 8 Ibid. 9 Government of India, India Egypt Relations, Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi, July 2018, p. 2. 10 Ibid. 11 “India, Egypt Decide to Boost Defence Cooperation,” The Times of India, 23 September 2018. 12 David Wood, “Egypt Loves China’s Deep Pockets,” Foreign Policy, 28 August 2018, p. 2. 13 Ibid., p. 4. 14 “Russia-Eritrea Relations Grow with Planned Logistics Center,” Voice of America News, 2 September 2018. 15 “China Commits Millions in Aid to Eritrea,” Tesfanews, 3 May 2013. 16 “Eritrea Profile – Leaders,” BBC, 1 May 2014. 17 Government of India, India Sudan Relations, Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi, October 2017, p. 3. 18 Ibid. 19 Indian Defence Services Staff College, Wellington “Visit of the Secretary G ­ eneral, Ministry of Defence, Republic of Sudan,” 29 August 2013, available at http:// webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:qwXDRgqkZf YJ:www. dscsc.lk/index.php/images/tender/2016/105A.pdf+&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk &gl=sg.html. 20 “United States to Lift Sudan Sanctions,” New York Time, 13 January 2017. 21 Phillip Manyok, “Oil and Darfur’s Blood: China’s Thirst for Sudan’s Oil,” ­Journal of Political Sciences & Public Affairs, Vol. 4, No. 1, 28 January 2016, pp. 3–4. 22 Ibid. 23 “Beijing Defends Sudan President Bashir’s Presence at China-Africa Summit,” Agencia EFE, 3 September 2018. 24 “Djibouti Welcomes India: The Strategic Motivations for India’s Visit,” Polity, 29 November 2017. 25 Ibid. 26 Monica Wang, “China’s Strategy in Djibouti: Mixing Commercial and Military Interests,” Council on Foreign Relations, 13 October 2018. 27 Ibid. 28 Government of India, India-Somalia Relations, Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi, January 2012, p. 2. 29 Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs, “Intervention by Shri E. Ahamed, Minister of State for External Affairs at the London Conference on Somalia,” 23 February 2012, available at https://www.hcilondon.in/event. php?id=74.html. 30 Government of India, India Somalia Relations, Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi, June 2018, p. 3. 31 Ibid. 32 International Maritime Bureau, Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships – ­Report for the Period 1 January to 31 March 2017, London, 2017, pp. 19–20. 33 International Maritime Bureau, “Piracy & Armed Robbery Prone Areas and Warnings,” available at https://www.icc-ccs.org/index.php/piracy-reportingcentre/prone-areas-and-warnings.html. 34 “What Lies Ahead for Bilateral Ties after Kenyan President’s Visit to India,” The Wire, 9 January 2017. 35 Ibid. 36 Government of India, Annual Report 2014–15, Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi, 2015, p. 63. 37 United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Report, “Kenya: Situation of Persons of Indian Origin; (2007–9),” 16 October 2009, available at http://www. refworld.org/docid/50756ed62.html.

Maritime security and East African States and Indian Ocean Islands  139 38 David Brewster, India’s Ocean – The story of India’s bid for regional leadership, Routledge, New York, 2014, p. 92. 39 “Kenya,” IHS Jane’s World Navies 2014–15, p. 86. 40 Sanne Wass, “Kenya & China: A love-Hate Relationship?” Global Trade ­Review, 1 August 2018. 41 “Will Kenya Get Value for Money from its New Railway?” BBC, 8 June 2017. 42 Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the Republic of Kenya, “Issue of Takeover of Mombasa Port by China is Pure Propaganda: Kenyan President,” 2 January 2019, available at http://ke.china-embassy.org/eng/zkgx/t1626610.html. 43 “Will Kenya Get Value for Money from its New Railway?” BBC, 8 June 2017. 44 “Tanzania, India Sign Agreements for Enhanced Bilateral Ties,” The Citizen, 18 October 2018. 45 Government of India, India Tanzania Relations, Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi, August 2017, p. 3. 46 “Navy Sends Ship to Tanzania, Aims to Expand Presence in Ior,” The ­Economic Times, 12 July 2018. 47 Government of India, Annual Report 2014–15, Ministry of Defence, New Delhi, 2015, p. 36. 48 “Construction of US $10bn Bagamoyo Port in Good Progress,” Construction Review, 12 September 2018. 49 “Tanzania Awards $9b in Rail Projects to China,” China Daily, 5 June 2015. 50 Government of India, India Comoros Relations, Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi, December 2013, p. 1. 51 Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs,” Embassy of India – ­Madagascar,” available at http://www.embassyofindia.mg. 52 Ministry of External Affairs, “India Comoros Relations,” p. 3. 53 “Why is China Investing in the Comoros,” CBS News, 12 November 2014. 54 Ibid. 55 “President Ram Nath Kovind to Visit Africa in Bid to Bolster Ties,” Livemint, 26 April 2018. 56 Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs, “India-Madagascar Joint Statement during the State Visit of President to Madagascar (March 14–15, 2018),” 14 March 2018, available at https://www.mea.gov.in/bilateral-documents .htm?dtl/29666/IndiaMadagascar_Joint_Statement_during_the_State_Visit_ of_President_to_Madagascar_March_1415_2018.html. 57 “Madagascar,” IHS Jane’s World Navies 2014–15, pp. 285–288. 58 Government of India, Annual Report 2014–15, Ministry of Defence, New Delhi, 2015, p. 33. 59 “Indian Navy Provides Relief to Fire Disaster-hit Madagascar,” India Today, 3 September 2016. 60 “For ‘One Belt, One Road,’ China Casts Madagascar as a ‘Bridge’ to Africa,” World Political Review, 2 May 2017. 61 Ibid. 62 “Fishermen Oppose $2.7 bn Deal Opening Madagascar to Chinese Fishing,” Asia Times, 10 November 2018. 63 Brewster, India’s Ocean, p. 69. 64 “Mauritius”, IHS Jane’s Fighting Ships 2014–15, pp. 515–517. 65 “Modi Commissions India-built Mauritian Naval Patrol Ship,” The Hindu, 12 March 2015. 66 “Meet the Barracuda – The First Warship India Will Export,” NDTV Online, 11 December 2014. 67 Ibid. 68 Sam Bateman and Anthony Bergin, Staying the Course: Australia and Maritime Security in the South Pacific, Australian Strategic Policy Institute Strategic Insight, Canberra, May 2011, p. 1.

140  Maritime security and East African States and Indian Ocean Islands 69 “Australia Announces Pacific Patrol Boat Program,” IHS Janes Navy International, 24 June 2014. 70 Brewster, India’s Ocean, p. 74. 71 “Seychelles, Mauritius Join Indian Ocean Maritime Security Group,” The Hindu, 7 March 2014. 72 Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) is the external intelligence agency of India. 73 Brewster, India’s Ocean, p. 74. 74 “U.S. Saw Indian ‘Hidden Agenda’ in Mauritius,” The Hindu, 6 June 2013. 75 Sushasini Haider, “Indian Project in Mauritius Faces Protests,” The Hindu, 27 October 2018. 76 Ibid. 77 “Mauritius and Africa must Avoid Chinese Debt-trap,” New Delhi Times, 14 August 2018. 78 Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs, “Prime Minister’s Media Statement during His Visit to Seychelles,”11 March 2015, available at http://mea. gov.in/outoging-visit-detail.htm?24895/Prime+Ministers+media+statement +during+his+visit+to+Seychelles+March+11+2015.html. 79 Government of India, Annual Report 2014–15, Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi, 2015, p. 74. 80 “Seychelles Receives Patrol Vessel Donated from India,” Defence Web, 5 ­February 2016. 81 Government of India, “Indian Ocean Diplomacy: Seychelles – India Connect,” Ministry of External Affairs, 9 March 2015, available at http://www.mea.gov. in/in-focus-article.htm?24887/Indian+Ocean+Diplomacy+Seychelles++India +Connect.html. 82 Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs, Annual Report 2014–15, 2015, New Delhi, p. 74. 83 “Seychelles Committed to Indian Naval Base,” The Hindu, 23 December 2015. 84 “India-Seychelles Relations,” New Delhi Times, 24 July 2018. 85 “India, Seychelles Sign Six Agreements,” Business Line, 25 June 2018. 86 Kamlesh Agnihottri, “Chinese Quest for a Naval Base in the Indian Ocean – Possible Options for China,” National Maritime Foundation Commentary, ­February 2010. 87 “Seychelles Welcomes Chinese President,” The Seychelles Weekly, 9 February 2007. 88 “China to Open Military Base in Seychelles,” The Times of India, 12 December 2011. 89 “Seychelles Receives Patrol Vessel Donated from India,” Defence Web, 5 ­February 2016. 90 “Seychelles and China Sign Agreements as President of Island Nation ­Continues Visit,” Seychelles News Agency, 3 September 2018. 91 Government of India, India Mozambique Relations, Ministry of External ­A ffairs, New Delhi, October 2017, p. 2. 92 “India’s 21st Century African Partner: Why Mozambique was Modi’s First Stop,” Hindustan Times, 7 July 2016. 93 “India Offers $500m Credit Line to Mozambique,” The Hindu, 1 October 2010. 94 Brewster, India’s Ocean, p. 93. 95 Ibid. 96 “Mozambique,” Jane’s World Navies 2014–15, p. 348. 97 Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs, “Transcript of Media Briefing by Secretary (West) on the State Visit of President of Mozambique to India,” 6 August 2015, available at http://mea.gov.in/bilateral-documents.htm?dtl/25653/ Transcript+of+Media+Briefing+by+Secretary+West+on+the+State+visit +of+President+of+Mozambique+to+India+August+05+2015.html.

Maritime security and East African States and Indian Ocean Islands  141 98 Ibid. 99 “Indian Navy to Provide Humanitarian Aid to Cyclone-hit Mozambique,” All India Radio, 20 March 2019. 100 Paula Cristina Roque, China in Mozambique: A Cautious Approach Country Case Study, South Africa Institute of International Affairs Occasional Paper No. 23, January 2009, pp. 1–3. 101 Ibid. 102 Abhijit Singh, “IBSA Trilateralism,” p. 1. 103 “South Africa,” IHS Jane’s World Navies 2014–15, IHS, London, 2015, p. 256. 104 “Navies of Brazil, India and South Africa to Hold Exercise off Goa coast,” The Economic Times, 22 February 2016. 105 “China Offers to Help South Africa Out of Its Economic Recession,” The South African, 14 August 2018. 106 Tom O’Connor, “China and South Africa Deepen Military Ties Amid Anger over Trump’s White Farmers Comments,” Newsweek, 24 August 2018. 107 Ruchita Beri, “Modi’s Tour of Africa Revitalises Relations,” Institute of ­Defence Studies and Analyses Comment, 21 August 2018. 108 “Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying’s Regular Press Conference,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs, People’s Republic of China, 28 January 2015. 109 Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the Republic of Mauritius, “Speech at the Symposium on Public Diplomacy and China-Mauritius (Africa) Relations by Gong Yufeng, Chargé d’affaires of the Embassy of China in Mauritius,” 12 April 2018, available at http://www.ambchine.mu/eng/sgxw/t1550450.html. 110 Alvin Cheng-Hin Lim, “Africa and China’s 21st Century Maritime Silk Road,” Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 13, Issue No.1, March 2015, p. 2. 111 “Africa: China Pledges $60 Billion to African Development,” Al Jazeera, 4 ­December 2015. 112 Ibid. 113 Ibid.

7 Maritime security cooperation with Southeast Asian states

India and its Southeast Asian neighbours share a common maritime history and broad religious and cultural links that have continued to this day. However, India’s strategic relations including defence cooperation with the region have progressively blossomed only over the past two decades. India’s “Look East” policy of the early 1990s, having received bipartisan support from successive Indian governments, has evolved from bilateral and multilateral, economic, and diplomatic engagements with Southeast Asia to include broader security and defence ties across the whole Asia-­ Pacific, including with Australia, Japan, and Vietnam. India’s entry into the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM+) in 2010 was an explicit acknowledgement by Southeast Asian states of the rising importance of India as an important partner in the new regional security architecture. The “Look East” policy was renamed as the “Act East” policy by Prime Minister Modi during the India-ASEAN Summit in Myanmar in November 2014 and later advocated as a “Look East, Link West Policy,” underscoring India’s wider interests in the Indian Ocean region.1 Like India, China’s relationship with the Southeast Asian region is also rooted in ancient history and shared culture and traditions. Presently, China is a key stakeholder in the region holding sway in the economic domain with rapidly growing bilateral trade, in excess of $450 billion since 2016.2 Southeast Asia is an important source of raw materials, services, and capital for China as well as a growing export market. Most importantly, it is through the Southeast Asian choke points, the Straits of Malacca and S ­ ingapore that China’s primary energy supply routes from the Middle East and ­A frica pass. However, China’s influence in the political-strategic domain is ­overshadowed by the United States. Over the past few decades, China’s aggressive posturing and “muscular” approach, particularly with regard to the territorial disputes in the South China Sea with several ­Southeast Asian states, has pushed the regional states closer to the United States and also to view India, an emerging economy, a leading regional military power and a nuclear weapon state, more favourably as a potential balancer to China. India’s position in Southeast Asia has been further strengthened with tacit support from the United States and recognition as the Indian Ocean region’s

Maritime security and Southeast Asian States  143 net security provider. Significantly, the ASEAN navies have been engaging in combined naval exercise with the U.S. Navy and the Indian Navy for ­several years. However, in what appears to be an effort to improve its image as a benign maritime power and to restore confidence in the region, since 2018, China has also initiated combined naval exercise with the ASEAN states. The first edition of the ASEAN-China exercise was held in October 2018 in the South China Sea and included participation by naval ships from China, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.3 In January 2018, in an unmistakable sign of warming relations, for the first time, India invited all the ten ASEAN heads of state as chief guests for the 69th Republic Day celebrations at New Delhi. The presence of all ASEAN leaders in New Delhi confirms that Indo-ASEAN strategic r­ elations have come of age. Importantly, India’s trade and economic engagements with Southeast Asia have also grown significantly – particularly since the signing of the free trade agreement in 2009 – and crossed $70 billion in 2017.4 ­Presently, half of India’s trade passes through the Straits of Malacca and Singapore, both areas vulnerable to piracy, armed attacks on ships, terrorism, and other common threats such as natural disasters. For this reason, maritime security cooperation is a key driver for India’s security relations with regional states and a crucial element of India’s “Look East” policy. This chapter examines the extent of India’s maritime security cooperation with various Southeast Asian states vis-à-vis contemporary Chinese strategic ­influence to provide an overall assessment of India’s position in the r­ egion and recommend additional strategic measures for India to strengthen its position in the region. It also covers Western Pacific countries like Brunei, Cambodia, Timor Leste, and Vietnam in India’s secondary areas of maritime interest.

Indonesia As close maritime neighbours, both India and Indonesia have taken keen interest in recent years to expand their long-term strategic partnership. Indonesia’s strategic location astride major shipping routes and key choke points such as the Sunda, Lombok, and Malacca Straits through which PLA Navy ships and submarines transit into the Indian Ocean, making it a c­ rucial partner state in India’s strategic calculus to counter Chinese ­influence in the Indian Ocean region. In 2001, the two countries signed a defence ­cooperation agreement, implemented under a joint committee led by the two defence ministers. Bilateral ties were later elevated to the level of “strategic partnership” in 2005 following the visit of Indonesia’s President Yudhoyono to New Delhi, to include comprehensive economic partnership and strategic cooperation in responding to common challenges.5 The Indonesian government under President Joko Widodo has accorded maritime issues high priority by announcing a new doctrine, the “global maritime axis” (poros maritim dunia), that seeks to refocus national policy

144  Maritime security and Southeast Asian States on a maritime agenda. Evidently, Indonesia views India as an attractive maritime security partner, and in a major step forward, during Modi’s visit to Jakarta in May 2018, it was decided to enhance defence and maritime cooperation, with plans to jointly develop a strategic Indonesian naval port at Sabang, located at the Western entrance to the Strait of Malacca, close to India’s Nicobar group of islands.6 Interestingly, prior to this visit, it was reported that Modi could actually sail to Indonesia on a warship, recreating Prime Minister Nehru’s state visit to Indonesia onboard INS Delhi in June 1950 to meet President Sukarno.7 Although Modi did not eventually travel by sea, the idea itself conveys a message of an evolving special maritime relationship. The decision to jointly develop a naval port at Sabang is a seminal development and could be seen in the context of development of strategic maritime surveillance capability by India to monitor PLA Navy movements into the Indian Ocean. India’s defence cooperation with Indonesia has expanded significantly in the past decade, mainly led by the Indian Navy, even though military ­engagements include separate staff-level talks between the three services.8 Extant maritime security cooperation includes regular visits by naval and coast guard ships, training assistance, reciprocal visits by senior officials, coordinated patrols and bilateral as well as multilateral naval exercises, intelligence sharing, and defence exports. Indonesia is a regular participant in the Indian Navy multilateral exercise Milan, whilst the Indian Navy has participated in the multilateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) exercise, Komodo, conducted by the Indonesian Navy.9 Besides such multilateral naval engagements, the two navies have been participating in an exclusive bilateral coordinated naval patrol codenamed Ind-Indo Corpat along the shared EEZ boundary line since 2009. These patrols are conducted twice annually with the aim of the patrols is to enhance mutual understanding and interoperability between the navies and prosecute vessels engaged in unlawful activities.10 In addition to the above engagements, the Indian Navy has responded on several occasions to natural calamities in the region and provided assistance to Indonesia, most notably during the 2004 tsunami. According to industry reports, India has offered to support Indonesia’s defence modernisation programmes and military-industrial base through funding and technology transfers. Reportedly, India is considering the export of its state-of-the-art BrahMos anti-ship cruise missile (jointly developed in collaboration with Russia) to Indonesia.11 Additionally, India has offered to supply coastal defence radars and marine-grade steel and to service the Russian-made Su-30 combat jets flown by the Indonesian air force.12 Indonesia has also been wooed by Pakistan in the past based on the “­Islam” card with lucrative offers for naval training and technological support. The Indonesian naval chief was conferred with Nishan-e-Imtiaz (Military) during a visit to Pakistan – one of Pakistan’s highest military awards, apparently for his contributions to improving naval cooperation between the two countries.13 Notwithstanding the overtures made by Pakistan, the

Maritime security and Southeast Asian States  145 present level of naval engagement between Indonesia and Pakistan is limited, baring participation by the Indonesian Navy in Pakistan’s multinational naval exercise Aman. China’s relations with Indonesia were elevated to a comprehensive strategic partnership in 2013 and have further strengthened under the Jokowi government, with Indonesia joining the belt and road initiative (BRI) and the China-led Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in 2015.14 For China, close relations with Indonesia are vital for the success of the BRI and Beijing has sought to promote strategic cooperation with Jakarta. In 2015, during the visit of Jokowi to Beijing, the Chinese President Xi stated that “the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, proposed by President Xi Jinping, and the Strategy of the Global Maritime Fulcrum initiated by President Joko Widodo are complementary.”15 However, Indonesia has been wary of growing Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea where the ­Chinese nine-dotted line claim overlaps with the EEZ of Indonesia’s Natuna Islands. China seems to have tried to downplay the issue of maritime EEZ boundary line, and, reportedly in November 2015, in a rare announcement, a Chinese official stated that the “Indonesian side has no territorial claim to China’s [Spratly Islands]” and that “the Chinese side has no objection to ­Indonesia’s sovereignty over the Natuna Islands.”16 Yet, violent clashes at sea ­between the two were witnessed in 2016, when a 300-tonne Chinese fishing vessel was seized by an Indonesian patrol boat which was later rammed by Chinese Coast Guard, resulting in the Indonesian authorities releasing the fishing boat.17 In a bid to assert its sovereignty, in July 2017, Indonesia renamed the northern reaches of its EEZ in the South China Sea as the North Natuna Sea; a Chinese government spokesperson responded by stating that the name South China Sea had broad international recognition and clear geographic limits and “Certain countries so-called renaming [of the South China Sea] is totally meaningless.”18 As a result of these developments, in the end of 2018, Indonesia commissioned a military base in the Natuna islands located in Selat Lampa on the Natuna Besar Island. Clearly, the new base is aimed at deterring any potential threats from China. Notwithstanding the above tensions, Sino-Indonesia relations on other fronts including trade and Chinese investments in infrastructure projects seem to be progressing smoothly. However, since China-Indonesia relations are tinged with mutual suspicion, defence cooperation has been lacking. ­Evidently, Indonesia has sought to balance China by concurrently promoting maritime security cooperation with India. On the whole, the situation could work to India’s advantage and Indo-Indonesia relations security ties are expected to expand in the near term.

Malaysia India has close historical and cultural ties with Malaysia. Nearly 10 per cent of Malaysia’s population comprises people of Indian origin, making it

146  Maritime security and Southeast Asian States home to one of the largest Indian diaspora groups.19 An important vignette of Indo-Malaysia relations is about the grandson of the Sultan of Johor and Crown Prince, Tunku Ismail Ibrahim, who chose to train at the Indian ­Military Academy in 2003, over the British Sandhurst Academy. In 2005, he was commissioned into the Indian Army in the rank of Lieutenant and, in 2007, in the rank of Captain, commanded a cavalry column at the Republic Day parade.20 India signed an MoU on defence cooperation with Malaysia in February 1993,21 but bilateral relations were elevated to the level of strategic partnership only by 2010, following the visit of the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Rajak to India. Earlier, in 2008, Indian Air Force pilots had imparted training to their counterparts in the Royal Malaysian Air Force on the ­Su-30 fighter planes. Reportedly, India had offered maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) facilities for Malaysian Su-30 fighters.22 In 2013, the Indian Navy and the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) instituted coordinated patrols on the lines of the Ind-Indo Corpat with Indonesia. The RMN has been a regular participant in Indian Navy’s multinational exercise Milan, and Indian naval ships also periodically visit Malaysia and even ­participate in the international defence exhibition at Langkawi each year. In ­m id-2018, Prime Minister Modi met with his counterpart in Malaysia; the two ­countries agreed to strengthen defence and security cooperation, expand maritime security cooperation including response to disaster relief, and establish a common user forum for the Russian-manufactured Su-30 fighter planes. Presently, India-Malaysia defence engagements include an annual defence cooperation meeting led by the two defence ministers, staff talks between each of the three services, and regular ship visits by the navy and coast guards, coordinated patrols, training assistance, defence exports, and ­information sharing. Pertinently, Malaysia, like Indonesia, has also been wooed by Pakistan through lucrative deals. In 2014, the Malaysian naval chief, Admiral ­Jaafar, was also awarded with Pakistan’s highest military award, Nishan-e-Imtiaz (Military), for his contributions to enhancing bilateral cooperation.23 The Malaysian Navy has participated in Pakistan’s multinational exercise Aman and both navies conduct a combined naval exercise, Mal-Pak, since 2018,24 a move that is yet to be initiated by Indonesia. Evidently, for this reason, Malaysia’s interest in the Indian BrahMos missiles seems to have been snubbed by India. China has accorded priority to building up its relations with Malaysia, a  key member of ASEAN and a claimant to some of the Spratly islands in the South China Sea. In recent years, China-Malaysia relations had ­acquired greater momentum, fuelled by nearly $34 billion in loans for ­infrastructure megaprojects under the BRI, including a major rail link, a new “Forest City,” and a port at Malacca. Moreover, annual bilateral trade since 2015 has crossed $56 billion.25 Reportedly, in 2015, Chinese President Xi ­Jinping told the visiting Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Rajak, “China

Maritime security and Southeast Asian States  147 and Malaysia are good neighbors and friends that trust and respect each other,” pointing to the development of China’s Maritime Silk Road as an opportunity to deepen relations between the two countries.26 Since that time, China had become the largest foreign investor in Malaysia, moving ahead of the United States and Japan. Under Najib Razak, defence cooperation between Malaysia and China was initiated with the signing of a defence cooperation agreement in 2015. The same year, the two countries carried out a large-scale combined exercise, “Peace and Friendship 2015” in the Strait of Malacca, involving all the three services.27 Later, in November 2016, during his third visit to China since 2009, Prime Minister Najib signed 14 agreements with China, including one for the joint development of at least four Chinese-designed littoral combat ships.28 This deal was Malaysia’s first major defence acquisition from China and a clear sign of advancement in China-Malaysia relations under Najib Razak. However, progress in Sino-Malaysia strategic relations has been stalled since 2018, when Mahathir Mohamad, who took over office from Najib Razak after a surprise parliamentary election victory, has sought to balance ties with China to avoid getting too close. Evidently, Najib was seen as being “too soft” on China, apparently since Beijing had afforded him personal assistance. Chinese investments had provided for a US$2.3 billion bail-out for the Malaysian state-owned investment firm, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), mired in large outstanding debts and a political scandal involving Najib.29 Clearly, Najib’s ability to act tough with Beijing was restricted, and it was later reported that he “seldom criticised China, even as it sailed coast guard ships near Malaysian claimed waters,” whilst investment ties flourished.30 Under Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia is now re-­negotiating the various belt and road projects and it is likely that some projects could be cancelled. Mohamad has probably been the first regional leader to publicly warn China against promoting “a new version of colonialism,” by trying to expand their economic control over poorer states in the region.31 However, the government has stated that Malaysia will remain part of the BRI even though it may limit Chinese investments. The new ­administration is also looking at alternate sources for funding such as ­Japan. On balance, Chinese influence in Malaysia is expected to decline as the country seeks to balance its ties with others including India. This provides an opportunity for India to expand its strategic relationship with Malaysia.

Brunei India’s relations with Brunei, which received independence from the United Kingdom in 1984, could be seen as an extension of its historical and ­cultural ties with Malaysia and Indonesia. Brunei is a small, yet highly industrialised and wealthy state with the second highest ranking in the human ­development index in Southeast Asia after Singapore. The visit of the

148  Maritime security and Southeast Asian States Sultan of Brunei to India in 2008 was significant and led to the signing of several agreements, including trade, technology, and space. Subsequently, in 2013, Dr. ­Manmohan Singh was the first-ever Indian prime minister to visit ­Brunei; no other prime ministerial visit has taken place since, although Prime Minister Modi met with the Sultan of Brunei during his visit to New Delhi in 2018. An MoU on bilateral defence cooperation was signed in 2016 during the visit of the Indian Vice President to Brunei.32 Bilateral maritime cooperation has been marked by training exchanges and regular visits by Indian naval and coast guard ships. India is a regular participant at the B ­ runei Darussalam International Defence Exhibition & Conference ­(BRIDEX) whilst the defence minister of Brunei has visited the DEFEXPO at New Delhi. In 2012, a Brunei naval ship, KDB Darulaman, participated in the multinational naval exercise Milan hosted by India. This is a significant development as it was the first time ever a Brunei naval ship ventured out of the South China Sea. The Brunei Navy has since been a regular participant in exercise Milan. Brunei shares its maritime border with China and was regarded as a ­“silent claimant” in the South China Sea dispute. However, since 2016, ­Brunei ­appears to have abandoned its claims for improved ties with China.33 Soon thereafter, China’s relations with Brunei were upgrades to a “strategic cooperative partnership” during the visit of the Chinese President Xi Jinping to Brunei in the end of 2018, the first Chinese head of state to visit Brunei in 13 years. China sees Brunei as an important partner in building the Maritime Silk Road, whilst for Brunei, the belt and road aligns with their national strategy for economic diversification from an oil and gas– based economy, accounting for nearly 95 per cent of their exports. China’s newly found interest in Brunei seems to indicate that “Beijing hopes to use Brunei as a positive example (for the other claimants in the South China Sea dispute) of the benefits that can arise from joint development and mutual co-operation in the maritime realm.”34 Based on the above developments, Sino-Brunei ties are expected to grow in the near term and it is also likely that increased Chinese political and economic influence in Brunei could eventually lead to defence engagements, which could have a bearing on Indo-Brunei maritime cooperation.

Thailand India-Thailand relations are based on shared historical, religious, and cultural ties, though progress in defence cooperation has been relatively slow, hampered by enduring political instability in Thailand. However, bilateral relations have been marked by regular high-level visits, including several visits by Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, who has visited India about 17 times. Prime Minister Modi visited Bangkok to pay tribute to the departed King of Thailand in November 2016. Both India and Thailand are

Maritime security and Southeast Asian States  149 members of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), which serves as a useful instrument for regional integration. Furthermore, an ambitious infrastructure project, the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway, connecting India’s northeast states to reaching Mae Sot in Thailand is expected to improve bilateral trade and connectivity. It is envisaged that this road network will be connected to the “East-West Economic Corridor” being developed by Japan in partnership with Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam, eventually linking India to Vietnam by road. An MoU on defence cooperation between the two countries was signed in January 2012 and therefore defence interactions have been structured on similar lines as Malaysia and Indonesia, albeit on a much reduced scale, limited by Thailand’s smaller naval capacity. Presently, defence cooperation includes an annual dialogue between the defence ministers, navy and air force staff talks, ship visits, training exchanges, coordinated patrols, defence exports, and information sharing. The Royal Thai Navy is regular participant in Indian Navy’s exercise Milan, and Indian naval and coast guard ships have periodically visit Thailand ports. Biannual coordinated patrols between the two navies were initiated in the end of 2016 and have continued ever since. Thailand has been the oldest regional ally of the United States; however, relations have soured since the 2014 military coup. As a result, Thailand has swung closer to China – its largest trading partner, backed by a lobby of pro-China Generals. Presently, even with a gradual improvement in U.S.Thai relations, Thailand continues to develop strategic relations with China including cooperation under the BRI that includes Chinese-funded projects such as the construction of the China-Thailand railway line and an industrial park.35 China has also emerged as a leading arms supplier to Thailand, and Chinese military hardware sales includes tanks, ships, and submarines. Thailand had initiated combined exercise with the Chinese military as early as 2005, at a time when the ASEAN countries, as a whole, had declined Chinese offers for military training. Reportedly, China has offered to set up a joint military production facility in Thailand, a development that could potentially strengthen China’s military influence in the region; however, details of the project are yet unknown.36 Traditionally, Thailand has aligned with the strongest power in the region. Over the years, Thailand’s ties have swung from Britain to France to Japan to the United States and are now seen tilting towards China. Thus, as Chinese influence in the region expands so will its relations with Thailand. However, the gradual warming up of U.S.-Thai relations seem to indicate that Chinese influence would be curtailed. Finally, Indo-Thai relations are unlikely to be impacted by the evolving dynamics due to strong religious and cultural linkages, particularly relations with the royal family, which ­India has continued to nurture.

150  Maritime security and Southeast Asian States

Singapore Singapore has been a staunch supporter of India in the Southeast Asia region. A Ministry of External Affairs statement issued during a New Delhi visit by the Singaporean President Tony Tan in 2015 noted, India’s relations with Singapore “encompasses strong political understanding, close defence and security cooperation, growing complementaries in economic engagement, civilisational and cultural linkages and shared interests in bilateral and multilateral fora.”37 A large ethnic Indian community comprising roughly nine per cent of ­Singapore’s population and a sizeable group of highly skilled Indian professionals in the corporate sector provides strength to bilateral ties. Despite its small size, the Singapore armed forces, and particularly the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN), can be regarded the most developed and sophisticated in the region. India signed a defence cooperation agreement with Singapore in 2003, which was elevated to an enhanced defence cooperation agreement in November 2015 during Modi’s visit to Singapore to provide an overarching framework for bilateral defence cooperation. Presently, bilateral defence cooperation encompasses a wide range of interactions with all three services, easily surpassing the level of strategic defence engagements with other regional states. India’s defence cooperation with Singapore is essentially led by the navy and includes an annual dialogue between the defence ministers, an annual defence policy dialogue between the defence secretaries, staff talks between the three services, bilateral exercises between the three services, defence exports and joint research and development on specific projects, regular naval and coast guard ship visits, training assistance, information sharing, and reciprocal visits by senior officials. Under the defence agreement, Singapore is allowed to use Indian airspace to train its air force pilots and probably has even based a few war reserve aircraft in India. The RSN participates in the multilateral Indian naval exercise Milan and also conducts an annual bilateral exercise, Simbex, held in March-April each year, alternately in the Bay of Bengal and the South China Sea.38 The two countries have also agreed to provide access to each other’s naval facilities and logistics support for ships on temporary deployments.39 Singapore is the only country outside China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan to have a majority Chinese population. However, its relationship with China has seen protracted periods of friction and remained frosty in the lifetime of Mao Zedong who wanted to “increase the loyalty of overseas Chinese to China and did not recognise the existence of an independent Singapore up to 1970.”40 The estrangement ended in 1990 when Singapore formally established official ties with the Peoples’ Republic of China. A new era of bilateral relationship has started and, as noted by a Singaporean analyst,

Maritime security and Southeast Asian States  151 A new normal in Sino-Singapore ties is beginning, characterised by a more pushy China, less wiggle room for Singapore and increased ­frequency in disputes – large and small.41 Essentially, the above implies that for Singapore there is no “running away” from China in the long term. However, Singapore has deftly balanced its relations with the United States, a close strategic partner, as also India. Furthermore, as a former British colony, Singapore is a member of the Commonwealth and the Five Power Defense Arrangement (FPDA), with Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, for regional security.42 On the whole, astute statesmanship and skilful diplomacy by Prime ­Minister Lee Hsien Loong has raised Singapore’s profile in the region and Singapore has managed to punch above its weight in regional and global affairs, making it a much-sought strategic partner. In September 2016, the Chinese President Xi Jinping told Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong “that Sino-Singapore ties had always been a step ahead of China’s ties with other ASEAN countries.”43 In recent years, China has sought to enhance defence cooperation with Singapore, an influential member of the ASEAN, to improve its own relations with the ASEAN states. Pertinently, the first ASEAN-China combined exercise in 2018 was jointly organised by Singapore and China. For India, Singapore continues to remain a strong partner in the region; however, it would be prudent to diversify its relations with Indonesia and Malaysia to retain and expand its influence in Southeast Asia.

Myanmar Myanmar is the only Southeast Asian state that shares both land and ­maritime boundaries with India and is often referred to as India’s “gateway” to ASEAN. Given its strategic location as a buffer state between India and China, it has been vied over by both states as a “strategic prize.”44 Barry Buzan described Myanmar as an “insulator state,” “insulating” South Asia from both Southeast Asia and China.45 India has invested in several strategic infrastructure projects in Myanmar, most notably upgrades to Sittwe port in western Myanmar, the Kaladan multimodal transit transport corridor that aims to connect Sittwe port with Indian ports on the eastern seaboard through a riverine transport corridor and by road leading to Mizoram in northeast India, and the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway.46 Whilst India has always maintained close political relations with ­Myanmar, except for a brief period of few years in the late 1980s until the early 1990s, when in a coup the military junta abolished state institutions and established the state law and order restoration council (SLORC). In the early 1990s, after India realised that its policy of isolating Myanmar was pushing it towards China, relations began to normalise.47 By the late

152  Maritime security and Southeast Asian States 1990s, India resumed regular diplomatic and military ties, though bilateral ­assistance, particularly in the area of defence, was kept low key for the next several years.48 In 2007, when India transferred two BN-2 “Defender” ­Islander maritime surveillance aircraft to Myanmar, it came under criticism from Britain, which had originally supplied the aircraft to the Indian Navy, for supporting the military junta regime in Myanmar.49 India had earlier gifted Myanmar T-55 tanks, artillery guns, radar, assault rifles, light machine guns, and ordnance.50 However, following the handing over of power from the military junta to a quasi-civilian government in 2011, India seems to have become more proactive in its defence cooperation. In early 2013, a frigate and a corvette from the Myanmar Navy visited the Indian ­Navy’s eastern naval command base at Vishakhapatnam for naval exercises, ­marking the first-ever visit of naval vessels from Myanmar to mainland ­India.51 Subsequently, in July 2013, the chief of the Myanmar Navy visited New Delhi to discuss future bilateral cooperation, including for operations, training, and material support. In July 2015, in a meeting between the respective foreign ministers, India indicated its commitment to assist in the modernisation of the Myanmar armed forces and reiterated its commitment to cooperate in “building a professional and capable Myanmar Navy to safeguard and ensure its maritime security.”52 India’s defence engagements with Myanmar include an active role by the Indian Army, since Myanmar shares a 1,600 kilometres land boundary with India, as well as a significant role by the Navy. Extant maritime cooperation includes training assistance, staff talks, ship visits, regular visits by defence delegations, bilateral naval coordinated patrols on similar lines to those with Thailand and Indonesia, defence exports, and intelligence sharing. India has recently supplied Myanmar with naval equipment, such as indigenously manufactured sonars, radars, and war gaming software. The Myanmar Navy is a participant in the multinational exercise Milan, and the maiden IN-MN coordinated patrols were conducted from March 2013 off the Great Coco Islands, Myanmar.53 India has extended HADR to ­Myanmar on several occasions, notably in the aftermath of cyclones Mora, Komen, and Nargis in 2017, 2015, and 2008, respectively, which involved deployment of Indian naval ships. As a result of close engagements by both the Indian Army and the Navy, bilateral defence and security cooperation between the two countries has grown rapidly with a deepening of trust. This is evident from the tacit support by the Myanmar government during the 2015 cross-border military operations conducted by the Indian Army, when in a reprisal attack against the killing of 18 Indian Army soldiers by an insurgent group operating from the jungles in Myanmar, the Indian Army Special Forces carried out surgical strikes inside Myanmar to annihilate two insurgent camps.54 As noted earlier, Myanmar has had close strategic relations with China, particularly since the late 1980s, after the SLORC took control. During this period, Myanmar faced isolation from all Western powers and even India;

Maritime security and Southeast Asian States  153 however, China developed strong political ties with Myanmar and extended economic and military support, which helped the country tide over Western sanctions and diplomatic pressure at the United Nations.55 Since 1988, China has been the largest supplier for military hardware and training to the rapidly expanding Myanmar armed forces under the military regime; military sales include fighter jets, missiles, guns, artillery, tanks, and various types of ships.56 In 2011, following a period of internal political reforms which led to a rapprochement with the West, Myanmar was seen moving away from China and, during this period, Myanmar even suspended a major Chinese project for construction of the Myitsone dam. However, with the re-commencement of ethnic fighting in the Kachin and Northern Shan States resulting in the Rohingya community crisis, Myanmar has come under international pressure. The country’s military has once again been accused of human rights abuses and brought under U.S. sanctions since 2017. However, China, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council (UNSC), has used its veto power to resist the West-led efforts to punish Myanmar. This has once again boosted Sino-Myanmar relations and helped to speed up various China-funded belt and road projects, including the 1,700 kilometres Myanmar-China Economic Corridor to connect China’s Yunnan province with three economic centres in Myanmar (Mandalay, Yangon New City, and Kyaukpyu Special Economic Zone), the Kyaukpyu deep-water port, the Kyaukpyu-Kunming high-speed railway, and natural gas pipelines.57 Reportedly, the suspended Myitsone dam project is also likely to be awarded to China.58 Based on the above developments, it clearly appears that Myanmar is almost entirely dependent on China for economic and political support. Even though Myanmar has tried to reduce its financial dependency on China by re-negotiating some of the projects and diversifying its infrastructure funding with India, it is unlikely to break out of Chinese control in the near- to mid-term.

Cambodia India has deep historical, cultural, and religious ties with Cambodia. Although political interactions have been relatively low key, cultural r­ elations have been particularly strong with several projects such as the restoration of the world famous Angkor Wat temple undertaken by India. Whilst a formal defence cooperation agreement does not exist between the two states, the past few years have witnessed a steady enhancement of defence cooperation between the two countries. Presently, bilateral defence cooperation includes training for Cambodian defence personnel in demining and peacekeeping operations by the Indian Army, exchange of visits of defence delegations, goodwill visits by Indian naval ships, gifts of medical equipment and other stores. The Cambodian Navy has participated in the multilateral exercise Milan, and Indian naval and coast guard ships have periodically called at the port of Sihanoukville in Cambodia.59

154  Maritime security and Southeast Asian States Over the past two decades, China has worked carefully to cultivate ties with the Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has remained in power for over three decades. In return, Hun Sen has effectively making Cambodia a vassal state of China. The Cambodian government has “secretly ceded more than 20 per cent of Cambodia’s coastline to a Chinese-owned company.”60 It has also shielded Beijing from criticism by ASEAN states by “repeatedly blocking any measures that would hold Beijing accountable for its aggressive behaviour in the South China Sea.”61 China’s control over large parts of the Cambodian coastline and infrastructure projects in the Port city of Sihanoukville could potentially allow for the establishment of PLA Navy bases in Southeast Asia. China’s control over Cambodia is likely to tighten, considering the scale of Chinese investments which have put the country in a precarious position. Evidently, Cambodia’s alignment with China occurred in the absence of any other foreign supports and offers a case study of how a country could be brought under control by China.62

Timor Leste India’s relations with Timor Leste since independence from Indonesia in 2002 are relatively fledgling and limited to capacity-building projects funded through various government aid programmes. Bilateral defence engagements have been sparse, and the only notable instance has been the first-ever participation by Timor Leste in the India naval multinational exercise Milan in 2018. Evidently, Timor Leste receives most of its military aid including training from Australia and also signed a defence cooperation agreement with China in 2014. Timor Leste’s strategic location between the Indian and Pacific Oceans makes it an ideal location for establishing a naval base, and since independence the country has been increasingly wooed by China, Australia, and France. In 2014, the Timor President Xanana Gusmao met President Xi Jinping in Beijing to sign a “comprehensive partnership of good-neigbourly friendship, mutual trust and mutual benefit.”63 Under the partnership, the two countries have agreed to strengthen cooperation in various fields, including trade, energy, agricultural, defence, and security. Timor Leste has also agreed to participate in the BRI. Chinese interests in Timor have raised concerns in Australia and Indonesia, as Chinese investments in Timor have expanded and Chinese firms have been engaged in building infrastructure in the country. However, France is also currently engaged in the development of deep-water port at Dilli whilst Australia has stepped up investments in the oil and gas sector following settlement of a decade-long dispute over the maritime boundary line, in East Timor’s favour.64 Overall, Chinese economic and political interests in East Timor are expected to grow in the coming years, and its remains to be seen how much longer Timor will be able to balance its ties with other players.

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Vietnam India’s relations with Vietnam have been extremely friendly from the early 1950s, based on similar historical experiences in the struggle for freedom from the European colonial powers.65 It is said that the Indian Prime Minister Nehru had established a deep personal bond of friendship with the Vietnam President Ho Chi Minh and was one of the first visitors to Vietnam following Hanoi’s independence in 1954. President Ho Chi Minh also visited India in 1958. Another fact of history that defence officers from both sides never forget to recall is that India and Vietnam are the only two countries to have fought a direct war on land with China in the past 60 years.66 In recent years, bilateral relations have been marked by a greater level of political engagement and close defence cooperation. In September 2016, after a 15 years’ gap, Prime Minister Modi visited Hanoi, where he signed a series of agreements including defence, maritime security cooperation, technology, and space, thus expanding bilateral ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership.67 Recent exchanges include a state visit by President Kovind to Vietnam in November 2018, where he stated India-Vietnam economic relations are on an upswing. We committed to further deepen our defence and security cooperation. I reiterate India’s commitment to provide training support for Vietnam’s armed forces.68 Significantly, a few weeks after the president’s return from Hanoi, a highlevel Vietnam Navy delegation visited India.69 Bilateral trade and economic linkages have also grown significantly, with trade volumes surpassing $12.8 billion in 2017–18.70 Both sides have agreed on a new trade target of $15 billion by 2020.71 In 2011, Vietnam offered two blocks for oil prospecting to India in the disputed waters of the South China Sea. This led to China’s issuing a protest to India for accepting ­Vietnam’s offer72; although India has backed Vietnam’s sovereign claims over the blocks, actual prospecting is yet to commence. India has been closely involved in ­c apacity building for the Vietnamese armed forces, particularly in the field of naval cooperation. The areas of focus have been information sharing, training assistance, repairs and maintenance s­ upport, defence exports, ship visits, and staff talks. Indian naval ships regularly visit ports in Vietnam, but in 2016, for the first time, a Vietnam naval ship participated in the International Fleet Review at Vishakhapatnam.73 Given that the ­Vietnam People’s Navy inventory ­i ncludes a wide range of Soviet/Russian origin equipment also used in India, the Indian Navy has been able to extend training and maintenance to them. For instance, in 2008, India supplied around 5,000 items of spares for Vietnam’s Soviet origin, Petya-class boats, in addition to helping Hanoi to overhaul several Soviet-era platforms such as MiG-21 fighters and T-55 main battle tanks.74 In 2014, India extended a $100 ­m illion credit line to Vietnam for four patrol

156  Maritime security and Southeast Asian States craft for the Vietnam People’s Navy under construction in I­ ndia.75 Later, in September 2016, during his visit to Hanoi, Prime ­Minister Modi announced a $500 million credit line for defence procurement for ­Vietnam.76 Most significantly, the Indian Navy provided submarine training to 500 Vietnam naval personnel at the navy’s submarine training school in Vishakhapatnam in 2014 and is considering sale of the BrahMos anti-ship missile to the Vietnam People’s Navy.77 Moreover, in December 2015, New Delhi announced the setting up of a satellite tracking station in Ho Chi Minh City at a cost of $23 million.78 The Indian Navy has also stationed a permanent training team at Vietnam for providing training in English and information technology.79 India’s close defence tie with Vietnam is a clear indication of an implicit strategy aimed at countering China’s strategic relationship with Pakistan. The location of Vietnam in East Asian waters, adjacent to China and overlooking the PLA Navy submarine base on Hainan Island, provides enormous strategic potential to India. However, the Vietnam armed forces are weak, technologically and clearly ill-prepared to play the role of a potential coalition partner. Thus, Indian defence cooperation with Vietnam is specifically directed at capacity building and training. Indian actions indicate a long-term commitment with a view to prepare the Vietnam People’s Navy to absorb modern and advanced technologies to play a greater role as a strategic partner in the future. Vietnam is one of the best-performing economies in Asia and highly dependent on trade with China. Bilateral trade was close to $100 billion in 2018, particularly helped by the ongoing U.S.-China trade war. However, despite growing economic interdependence, Vietnam has been the most outspoken contender to the South China islands, with claims that encompass both the Spratly and Paracel group of islands. The violent naval clashes between both countries in 1974 and 1988 for control over some of the islands have not been forgotten in Vietnam and anti-China riots had broken out in Vietnam in 2014, resulting in over 21 deaths in attacks on Chinese-owned businesses, after China positioned an oil close the disputed waters.80 In order to balance China’s overpowering influence in the region, Vietnam has sought to boost defence cooperation with India and also improve its ties with the United States. In 2016, President Obama’s visit to Hanoi and lifting of the U.S. arms embargo on Vietnam has since supported rapprochement between the two former foes. The same year, Vietnam also welcomed the first U.S. aircraft carrier since the end of the Vietnam War, the USS Carl Vinson at Da Nang. Subsequently, exchanges between the two coast guards have been reported. Overall, the U.S. strategic interests in the South China Sea aimed at preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific are clearly aligned with that of Vietnam and the contemporary bilateral security relationship seems poised to grow rapidly in the coming years.

Maritime security and Southeast Asian States  157

India’s geographical link with Southeast Asia: significance of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands Geographically, India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands are co-located with the Southeast Asian littoral states, astride the Western entrance to the Strait of Malacca. These islands provide India with immense strategic advantage in the Indo-Pacific region and have been regarded as India’s “springboard” into the Pacific and the reason for China’s so-called “Malacca dilemma.” The Andaman and Nicobar group, comprising over 556 islands extending between Myanmar to Indonesia, are situated 1,200 kilometres from the Indian mainland, lying just 160 kilometres from Indonesia to the south and only 45 kilometres from Myanmar’s Coco Islands to the north. In the late 1980s and early1990s, following the end of the Cold War and the announcement of India’s Look East policy, Indian military presence on the islands was expanded beyond the existing rudimentary presence. During this period, the Indian Navy in line with the Look East policy focused on engagements with Southeast Asia and, in 1995, hosted the first multinational naval exercise Milan at Port Blair.81 In 2001, India created its first joint operational theatre command, the Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC), in Port Blair, with bare minimum assets pooled from the three services. This could be viewed as an experiment in “jointness” for the Indian military. This development also appears to have been spurred by concerns of Chinese “string of pearls” strategy to encircle India with dual-use maritime infrastructure projects in Sittwe, Myanmar, and talk of a Kra Isthmus canal in Thailand.82 For long, the scale of military assets based at Port Blair remained fairly modest, including a naval air station, an infantry brigade, a few air force transport aircraft, some coast guard patrol boats, and minor naval vessels, including patrol boats and amphibious vessels. But, in recent times particularly since 2017, the islands have received much-needed attention and several new projects for development of maritime infrastructure, improving connectivity and upgradation of military facilities have been initiated by the Indian government. A second naval air station, INS Baaz, was commissioned in 2012 at Campbell Bay near the southern tip of the islands.83 The base was originally built with a 3,500-feet-long runway but later extended to support larger aircraft.84 In 2019, a third naval air station, INS Kohasa, was commissioned in North Andaman. Other developments include a logistics node for supporting military operations, a second dry dock for vessels up to 8,000 tonnes, and a long-range missile testing facility in South Andaman.85 Furthermore, the Indian Air Force has announced plans to permanently base fighters in ANC. The upgradation of military infrastructure in the Andaman Islands is expected to promote India’s maritime security cooperation with the Southeast Asian states. Already, plans for a new trilateral maritime exercise involving India, Singapore, and Thailand in the Andaman Sea have been announced, and it is speculated that Japanese naval ships could be provided logistics support in Andaman under a future agreement.86

158  Maritime security and Southeast Asian States Upgrading the ANC, which has so far remained the “weak link” in ­India’s maritime strategy, is a viable strategic solution for India to counter growing Chinese maritime power in the Indian Ocean. A rapid build-up of strategic military infrastructure should, therefore, be accorded greatest priority. However, in addition to upgradation of the military infrastructure, a change in the mindset of policy-makers on how to view the islands is equally ­i mportant. For long, it has been argued that stationing assets in the ­Andaman and Nicobar Islands on a permanent basis could be unnecessary as they could be deployed from the mainland whenever required. Therefore, in the absence of permanent assets, the ANC was viewed as a far-flung ­naval outpost rather than a modern operational theatre command that it was supposed to be. One may speculate that this viewpoint could be attributed to the ­inter-service rivalry that has hampered India’s higher defence organisation,87 as once remarked by Admiral Arun Prakash: …the navy was on the verge of receiving approval for a “Far ­Eastern Naval Command” (FENC) in Port Blair when the 2000 Group of ­Ministers was convened. In a rare gesture of magnanimity, the navy offered FENC as proving ground for India’s first Joint formation. In the bargain, the navy also handed over all assets (land, buildings, transport, airfield) to ANC. The other two services REFUSED to hand over any assets, and dragged their heels over most issues relating to r­ einforcing/ consolidating the fledgling ANC.88 The other reason, going beyond the inter-service turf battles, could be ­attributed to the continentalist mindset of the country’s leadership that, for long, neglected the maritime domain choosing to focus on mainland ­India. This strategic short-sightedness is evident in the recent setting up of the largest Indian naval base east of Suez, for basing the Western Fleet, at ­Karwar. The decision, envisioned in the late 1980s, to relocate the I­ ndian Navy’s Western Fleet from Mumbai to Karwar seems to have been premised on tactical or operational considerations of the time, based on the range of P ­ akistan’s F-16 fighters, rather than long-term strategic imperatives. ­Perhaps, India’s geostrategic location in the Indian Ocean overlooking the shipping lanes was regarded as adequate strategic advantage over China by Indian planners. However, it is now evident that the expansion of ­China’s maritime power will pose a serious challenge or even neutralise India’s ­geographic advantage. Another key factor that seems to have influenced Indian strategic thinking are misplaced concerns that building up a more robust presence in the Southeast Asian region could create an unfavourable environment for ­India. As discussed earlier in this book, this could have been an outcome of the pacifist thinking that has long influenced India’s foreign policy.89 ­However, as examined above, the rapid growth in relations between India and the ASEAN states since the early 1990s suggests that such concerns have been

Maritime security and Southeast Asian States  159 largely unfounded. Furthermore, based on India’s extant wide-ranging maritime security cooperation with most Southeast Asian states, it is clear that any concerns regarding India’s aspirations for maritime power amongst ASEAN states have been misplaced. The timing thus appears to be ripe for India to upgrade the ANC from a naval outpost to the level of other naval commands in terms of support facilities and other related infrastructure to allow for basing of submarines, major naval combatants, including aircraft carriers and amphibious ships, air force fighters, and even ballistic missile defences. Perhaps, the functions of an Indian naval outpost could be shifted to the Seychelles or Mauritius. Strengthening of the military infrastructure in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands could forever alter the nature of China’s “Malacca dilemma” from being a notional threat to a real one in the Chinese calculus. Moreover, a large naval presence at the eastern entrance to the Indian Ocean would not only add more force to India’s diplomatic efforts in the region and enhance India’s status as the net provider of security but also provide India a crucial strategic lever for dealing with China, particularly in times of incursions across the Himalayan border in northeast India. Considering that it took over 35 years to complete India’s newest and largest naval base at Karwar, south of Mumbai, it is already rather late to develop the ANC, and therefore, there is clearly a need to start work as soon as possible.

Overall assessment of India’s relations with Southeast Asia India’s relations with all Southeast Asian states have expanded significantly since the 1990s and the current level of security cooperation with most countries based on the various maritime engagements has never been ­better. India’s relations with Indonesia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and ­Vietnam are particularly close, whilst relations with others seen as improving. In comparison, China’s security ties are sparse, although recent efforts aimed at improving defence cooperation such as the China-ASEAN combined exercise have been successful. Whilst the United States continues to be the largest contributor to security in the region, India’s Act East p ­ olicy and maritime security cooperation has also received support from the United States as it complements their strategic “pivot” to the Asia-­Pacific region, highlighted in the U.S. Asia Pacific Maritime Security Strategy of August 2015: In South Asia, the Department sees a strategic convergence between I­ ndia’s “Act East” policy and the U.S. rebalance to the Asia-Pacific ­region, and we are seeking to reinforce India’s maritime capabilities as a net provider of security in the Indian Ocean region and beyond.90 Support from the United States seems to have been an important factor in improving India’s position in Southeast Asia. Also, India’s relations with the

160  Maritime security and Southeast Asian States regional states and other U.S. allies in Asia-Pacific region, such as A ­ ustralia, Japan, and South Korea, appears to be shaping up in conformity with the overall strategic interests of the United States in the Asia-Pacific. A much-needed focus by the Indian government on improving civil, ­maritime, and military infrastructure in the Andaman Islands and other steps such a new trilateral combined exercise in the Andaman Sea and plans for joint development of a naval base at Sabang, Indonesia clearly suggest that India has larger strategic plans to expand its maritime influence in the region. These developments are expected to add force to India’s political, diplomatic, and strategic efforts in Southeast Asia and increasingly impinge on Beijing’s sphere of influence.91 However, backing from the United State and continued support from the ASEAN states means that India can expect to balance Chinese economic and political influence in the region with close maritime engagements.

Notes 1 “India Needs Policy to Look East, Link West: Narendra Modi,” Deccan Herald, 25 September 2014. 2 “Indo-Asean Trade Rises 10% to $72bn in FY17, But is Long Way off Potential,” The Times of India, 26 January 2018. 3 “China, Asean Kick off Inaugural Maritime Field Training Exercise in ­Zhanjiang, Guangdong,” The Strait Times, 22 October 2018. 4 Ibid. 5 Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs, “Media Briefing by Secretary (East) in Jakarta on Prime Minister’s Ongoing Visit of Indonesia,” 13 October 2013, available at http://www.mea.gov.in/media-briefings.htm?dtl/22326/Transcript+of +Media+Briefing+by+Secretary+East+in+Jakarta+on+Prime+Ministers +Ongoing+Visit+of+Indonesia+October+11+2013.html. 6 “Indonesia, India to Develop Strategic Indian Ocean Port,” Channel Newsasia, 30 May 2018. 7 “Emulating Nehru, PM May Travel to Indonesia by Sea,” The Tribune, 13 May 2018. 8 Ibid. 9 Government of India, Annual Report 2014–15, Ministry of Defence, New Delhi, 2015, p. 162. 10 “29th India-Indonesia Co-Ordinated Patrol (Corpat) Commences,” Press ­Information Bureau, 9 May 2017. 11 “India Exploring Sale of BrahMos Cruise Missile to Indonesia,” Hindustan Times, 8 January 2019. 12 Ibid. 13 “Indonesian, Pakistani Naval Chiefs Discuss Avenues of Cooperation,” P ­ akistan Today, 26 November 2014. 14 Prashanth Parameswaran, “China and Indonesia under Jokowi: Show Me the Money,” The Diplomat, 28 January 2015. 15 Shannon Teizzi, “Indonesia, China Seal ‘Maritime Partnership’,” The Diplomat, 27 March 2015. 16 “Et tu, Jakarta?” The Washington Times, 19 November 2015. 17 “Indonesia Opens Military Base on Edge of South China Sea to ‘Deter Security Threats,” South China Morning Post, 20 December 2018.

Maritime security and Southeast Asian States  161 18 “South China Sea: Indonesia Renames Part of Maritime Economic Zone in ­Defiance of Beijing,” ABC News, 15 July 2017. 19 Government of India, India-Malaysia Relations, Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi, 21 August 2017, p. 5. 20 “Malaysian Prince at Home in India,” The Hindu, 27 January 2007. 21 Government of India, India-Malaysia Relations, p. 4. 22 “HAL Hands Back First Overhauled Su-30MKI to Indian Air Force,” IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, 11 January 2015. 23 “Chief of Malaysian Navy Meets Pakistani Counterpart,” Daily Times ­[Pakistan] 6 December 2014. 24 “Pakistan, Malaysia Conduct Naval Exercises Mal-Pak II,” Frontier Post, 18 February 2019. 25 Euan Graham, “Dominoes in the South China Sea,” Lowy Institute ­Commentary, 1 November 2016. 26 Shannon Tiezzi, “Can China Rebuild Its ‘Special Relationship’ with Malaysia?” Diplomat, 18 November 2015. 27 Sumathy Permal, “China and Malaysia’s First-ever Joint Military Exercise is an Important Strategic Move,” The Star, 28 September 2015. 28 Graham, “Dominoes in the South China Sea”. 29 Prashanth Parameswaran, “Is China Now Malaysia’s Largest Investor?” ­Diplomat, 13 January 2016. 30 Ralph Jennings, “Malaysian PM Shows Signs of a Bolder Stance on South China Sea,” Voice of America, 25 June 2018. 31 “Mahathir Mohamad Warns against ‘New Colonialism’ during China Visit,” Financial Times, 20 August 2018. 32 Government of India, High Commission of India, Brunei Darussalam, India Brunei Bilateral Brief, August 2017, p. 2. 33 Michael Hart, “Brunei Abandons South China Sea Claim for Chinese Finance,” Global Monitor, 4 April 2018. 34 Ibid. 35 “Belt and Road is Drawing China and Thailand Closer Together,” The Nation, 27 September 2018. 36 Prashanth Parameswaran, “What’s with the New China-Thailand Military ­Facility?” The Diplomat, 17 November 2017. 37 “State Visit of the President of the Republic of Singapore to India,” Press ­Information Bureau, 9 February 2015. 38 Government of India, Annual Report 2014–15, Ministry of Defence, New Delhi, 2015, p. 34. 39 “India, Singapore Vow to Deepen Defence Ties, Ensure Freedom of N ­ avigation,” The Economic Times, 12 July 2018. 40 Peh Shing Huei, “Commentary: The New Normal of Singapore’s Relations with China,” Channel NewsAsia, 6 October 2016. 41 Ibid. 42 Ankit Panda, “Singapore: A Small Asian Heavyweight,” Council on Foreign ­Relations, 26 June 2018. 43 Ibid. 44 Brewster, India’s Ocean, p. 137. 45 Barry Buzan and Ole Waever, Regions and Powers: Structure of International Security, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2003, p. 284. 46 Namrata Goswami, “Act East Policy: Northeast India as a Strategic Catalyst,” Centre for Land Warfare Studies Journal, Summer 2015, Vol. 72, pp. 70–74. 47 John W. Garver, Protracted Contest: Sino-Indian Rivalry in the Twentieth ­Century, University of Washington Press, Seattle, 2011, pp. 270–273.

162  Maritime security and Southeast Asian States 48 Ibid. 49 Rahul Bedi, “Myanmar gets India’s Maritime Aircraft,” Hindustan Times, 12 May 2007. 50 Ibid. 51 “1st India-Myanmar Naval Exercise,” The Deccan Herald, 8 March 2013. 52 Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs, “Joint Statement by I­ ndia and Myanmar on First Meeting of the India-Myanmar Joint Consultative ­Commission,” 16 July 2015, available at http://mea.gov.in/bilateral-documents. htm?dtl/25485.html. 53 Government of India, Annual Report 2013–14, Ministry of Defence, New Delhi, 2014, p. 34. 54 “Army Commandos of 21 Para Entered Myanmar to Kill Northeast Terrorists,” IBN Live, 10 June 2015. 55 Ye Htut, “‘Myanmar-China Relations in 2018: Enter the Dragon’ by Ye Htut,” Institute of Southeast Asian Studies-Yusof ishak Institute, 5 January 2018. 56 Garver, Protracted Contest, pp. 260–270. 57 Nian Peng, “China and Myanmar’s Budding Relationship,” EastAsia Forum, 24 August 2018. 58 Nan Lwin, “China’s Six Belt and Road Projects in Myanmar to Watch in 2019,” The Irrawaddy, 24 January 2019. 59 “Indian Navy ‘looks East’ to Cambodia,” The Phnom Penh Post, 25 June 2015. 60 Charles Edel, “Cambodia’s Troubling Tilt toward China,” Foreign Affairs ­S napshot, 17 August 2018. 61 Ibid. 62 Ibid. 63 “Joint Statement between the People’s Republic of China and The D ­ emocratic Republic of Timor-Leste on Establishing Comprehensive Partnership of Good-neighbourly Friendship, Mutual Trust and Mutual Benefit,” The Belt and Road Portal, 27 April 2014, available at https://eng.yidaiyilu.gov.cn/zchj/ sbwj/11917.html. 64 “Australia-East Timor Treaty Unlocks $40bn Oil and Gasfield,” Financial Times, 7 March 2018. 65 Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs, “India Vietnam Relations,” Media Brief, December 2014. 66 Based on the author’s experience at the Indian Ministry of Defence. 67 “India, Vietnam Sign 12 Agreements to Strengthen Ties,” NDTV, 3 September 2016. 68 “Vietnam and India Agree to Boost Trade, Defence Cooperation,” Live Mint, 20 November 2018. 69 “Vietnam uses US-China Trade War to Rebalance its Economic and Security Relationships,” South China Morning Post, 12 December 2018. 70 Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs, “India Vietnam Relations,” Media Brief, September 2017, p. 4. 71 Ibid. 72 “India-Vietnam Naval Ties to Deepen Strategic Partnership,” The Hindu, 26 ­October 2014. 73 Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs, “India Vietnam Relations,” p. 6. 74 “Indian Navy to Train Vietnamese Submarine Crews,” IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, 2 December 2013. 75 “India-Vietnam Naval Ties to Deepen Strategic Partnership,”. 76 “India Offers US$500 Million Defence Credit as Vietnam Seeks Arms Boost,” Channel News Asia, 3 September 2016.

Maritime security and Southeast Asian States  163 77 “Indian Navy to Train Vietnamese Submarine Crews.” 78 “India Is about to Activate Its Satellite Monitoring Station in Vietnam,” Defense News, 31 December 2015. 79 Government of India, Annual Report 2014–15, Ministry of Defence, New Delhi, 2015, p. 131. 80 “China-Vietnam Relations Fall to a One-Year Low Over a New Maritime ­Dispute,” Forbes, 31 July 2017. 81 Vice Admiral G.M. Hiranandini, Transition to Guardianship: Indian Navy 1991– 2000, Lancer Publications, New Delhi, 2009, p. 31. 82 Ibid. 83 “INS ‘Baaz’ – Commissioned by Admiral Nirmal Verma as First Naval Air ­Station in Nicobar Group of Islands,” Press Information Bureau, 31 July 2012. 84 Sanjeev Miglani, “From Remote Outpost, India Looks to Check China’s Indian Ocean Thrust,” Reuters, 15 July 2015. 85 C Raja Mohan and Ankush Ajay Wagle, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Andamans: India Ends the Neglect of the Strategic Island Chain,” Institute of South Asia Studeis Insights No: 540, 8 March 2019, p. 3. 86 Ibid., p. 4. 87 Patrick Bratton, “The Creation of India Integrated Commands,” Strategic ­Analysis, Vol. 36, No. 3, May 2012, pp. 441–448. 88 Anit Mukherjee, “The Andaman and Nicobar Command,” in Anit M ­ ukherjee and Raja Mohan eds., India’s Naval Strategy and Asian Security, Routledge, London and New York, 2016, p. 97. 89 Brahma Chellaney, “The Non-violence Myth: India’s Founding Story Bestows upon it a Quixotic National Philosophy and Enduring Costs,” The Times of ­India, 4 February 2019. 90 U.S. Department of Defense, Asia Pacific Maritime Security Strategy, ­Washington, DC, July 2015, p. 28. 91 Baladas Ghoshal, China’s Perception of ‘Look East Policy,’ and Its Implications, Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses Monograph Series No. 26, New Delhi, October 2013, pp. 70–75.

8 Maritime security cooperation with other powers

For all extra-regional powers including the United States, Russia, Japan, Britain, and France, with crucial strategic interests in the Indian Ocean ­region, India is the main regional partner; a tacit acknowledgement of ­India’s regional power status. Prime Minister Modi, in his five-point policy framework of March 2015, noted, India recognises that while the Indian Ocean littorals have the primary responsibility for peace, stability and prosperity in the Indian Ocean, it also acknowledges that extra- regional powers too have interests in the region. India will seek to engage with them through the mechanism of dialogue, visits, exercises, capacity building and economic partnership.1 Since independence, India had disapproved of foreign presence in the ­Indian Ocean region, a view initially manifested in Nehru’s proclamation of the ­Indian version of the “Monroe doctrine” and later a move to establish the Indian Ocean as a “zone of peace.” Ostensibly, India’s concerns stemmed from a belief that the former colonial powers could impede or challenge its bid for regional leadership. But, in the twenty-first century, in what appears to be an act of “strategic balancing” in the face of rising Chinese maritime power, India is seen as taking keen interest in engaging with those extra-­ regional powers that have a stake in the Indian Ocean. Therefore, the ­Indian Ocean region could emerge as the arena for “the new Great Game with great power rivalry involving the United States, China, Japan and India in the cards.”2 This chapter provides a detailed examination of India’s bilateral maritime engagements with the other key powers in the Indian Ocean r­ egion that include the United States, France, Japan, ­Russia, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

The United States As the global superpower, the United States continues to remain the ­underwriter of security in the Indian Ocean region. U.S. naval forces in the Indian Ocean include the Fifth Fleet based at Manama, Bahrain, under

Maritime security and other powers  165 U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), and a naval base at Diego Garcia. Additionally, ships from the U.S. Seventh Fleet at Yokosuka, Japan, under U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM), are regularly moved on cross ocean ­deployments to the Indian Ocean through the Strait of Malacca.3 Currently, U.S. forces in the Indian Ocean include three task forces including the U.S.led Combined Maritime Force (CMF) of 30 member nations, engaged in anti-piracy patrols in the north Arabian Sea. Other combined task forces (CTFs) comprise CTF 150 on a maritime security and counter-terrorism mission, CTF 151 on a counter piracy mission under the CMF, and CTF 152 for Arabian Gulf security and cooperation. The U.S. Navy has maintained at least one, and sometimes two, aircraft carriers on station in the Arabian Sea almost throughout the preceding decade. In addition to naval forces, U.S. land forces are currently engaged actively in Afghanistan, albeit in the process of withdrawal. However, a return of U.S. troops to Iraq or ­A fghanistan or a deployment in Syria to fight the Islamic State terrorists, in the future, could be a possibility.4 In 2012, recognising the strategic linkages between the Indian Ocean ­region and the Western Pacific and East Asia regions, and the rise of China as a regional power, the U.S. government issued fresh directives in a January 2012 defence strategic guidance document, Sustaining US Global ­Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense, for a strategic rebalance – popularly known as the pivot strategy – towards the Asia-Pacific region.5 This was further stated in the 2014 QDR as follows: Supporting the broader U.S. rebalance to the region, the United States will maintain a robust footprint in Northeast Asia while enhancing our presence in Oceania, Southeast Asia, and the Indian Ocean. The 2014 QDR indicated that by 2020 the United States would station 60 per cent of its naval assets in the Pacific, including an enhanced presence at ­Japan. The assets include up to four Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) stationed at Singapore in addition to basing several more destroyers, amphibious ships, and the latest Joint High-Speed Ships with the Indo-Pacific Command. Additional naval and air assets and Marines are also being stationed at Guam, and a 2,500 strong Marine force will annually rotate through ­Darwin, Australia.6 Reportedly, the United States will also join Australia in developing the Lombrum naval base in Papua New Guinea.7 Further, in addition to positioning of extra forces, the United States will increase ­routine and persistent rotational presence in Southeast Asia for training with ­regional partners through the bilateral Force Posture Agreement (FPA) with Australia and the Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with the Philippines.8 If the “pivot” to the Asia-Pacific strategy announced in 2012 by the U.S. government raised questions about their commitments to the Indian Ocean region, they were put to rest by the March 2015 document, A Cooperative

166  Maritime security and other powers Strategy for 21st Century Seapower, which indicated that the U.S. Navy would concurrently focus on Africa and also increase the number of ships postured in the Middle East from 30 to about 40 by 2020.9 The Cooperative Strategy also seeks to cultivate U.S. partnerships with states such as Bangladesh, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Micronesia, Pakistan, Singapore, and Vietnam.10 In recent years, faced with defence budget sequestrations, in what is described as the new “age of austerity,”11 American foreign policy thinkers have advocated that the United States adopt alternative strategic options with respect to the Indian Ocean region. One option, labelled an “offshore strategy,” calls for the United States to adopt a “hands-off” strategy by cultivating a network of alliances and partnerships with major Indian Ocean littoral states, including Australia, Indonesia, India, and South Africa, as regional strategic partners that are capable of ensuring regional stability and security, without direct U.S. participation.12 The proposed strategy also calls for maintaining a reduced presence at existing bases in the region, so as to ensure continued access for U.S. forces in times of crisis. Whilst the longterm impact of a declining U.S. defence budget, and Washington’s reducing dependence on oil imports from the Persian Gulf,13 upon their Indian Ocean strategy is difficult to forecast, it would be fair to assume a continued involvement by the United States, even if reduced, in the Indian Ocean region in the future. In any case, the geopolitical realties point to continued U.S. engagement with India. Bilateral relations with India As the world’s oldest and largest democracies, India and the United States share common values and have a broad convergence of global strategic interests. The framework agreement for India-U.S. defence relationship of June 2005 and the bilateral civil nuclear cooperation agreement of O ­ ctober 2008 were major landmark events in the bilateral relationship. The agreement for full civilian nuclear energy cooperation was widely regarded as representing the most direct recognition to date, of India’s status as a ­nuclear weapons state, and thus a reversal of more than three decades of U.S. non-­proliferation policy. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh attributed the re-energising of U.S.-India ties to three factors: the end of the Cold War, the accelerating pace of globalisation, and the increasing influence of nearly two million ­Indian-Americans.14 The latter is key factor missing in the case of other countries such as Australia and the United Kingdom where a sizeable Indian origin community is yet to able to influence the government. The visit of the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Washington in 2009 and President Obama’s visit to India the following year imparted further momentum to bilateral cooperation and helped establish a long-term framework for an India-U.S. global strategic partnership.15 President Obama characterised the India-U.S. relationship as one of the defining partnerships

Maritime security and other powers  167 16

of the twenty-first century and stated that “India and the United States are not just natural partners … America can be India’s best partner.”17 Since 2014, under the Modi government, the pace of India-U.S. cooperation has clearly gathered speed, evidenced from the spate of high-level political ­exchanges, counting three meetings between Prime Minister Modi and President Obama within a span of six months, including the first-ever visit by a U.S. president to India’s Republic Day parade. Under President Trump, the U.S. commitment to promote Indo-U.S. strategic ties has remained strong, and in order to further enhance diplomatic and security efforts, a 2+2 ministerial dialogue was launched in 2018. India’s relations with the United States have now blossomed into a “global strategic partnership,” with currently over 50 bilateral dialogue mechanisms between the two governments.18 The broad architecture of dialogue is built around six pillars of mutual interest, notably, strategic cooperation; energy and climate change; education and development; economy, trade, and agriculture; science and technology; and health and innovation.19 Importantly, each of these areas of interest are addressed at the ministerial level by bilateral dialogues.20 Meanwhile, ­bilateral trade between India and the United States has tripled in value between 2005 and 2017, reaching $126 billion.21 Furthermore, in March 2019, following successful conclusion of the India-U.S. Strategic Security Dialogue, New Delhi and Washington agreed on a proposal to build six nuclear power plants in India.22 Finally, a new legislation by a select group of American lawmakers to accord India the status of an NATO ally, for the purposes of the Arms Export Control Act, is under consideration and, if enacted as law, could help to solidify Indo-U.S. defence partnership.23 All these developments indicate a major shift in India’s perception of the United States, for long viewed through the prism of the Cold War and its relations with Pakistan. Maritime security cooperation The framework for Indo-U.S. military-to-military ties was originally laid down in the 1991 Kicklighter Proposals, named after Commander-in-Chief Pacific Command Admiral Claude Kicklighter.24 This led to the initiation of a series of small-scale combined exercises between 1992 and 1996. In 1992, the two navies held the first combined exercise Malabar, whilst U.S. Marines participated in a short training course at the Indian ­Paratrooper Training School (PTS) in Agra. In 1995, the two countries established a ­Defence ­Policy Group (DPG) to oversee future military-to-military ­activities. ­Exercise ­Malabar II was held in 1995, and in 1996 Malabar III was the last Indo-U.S. military exercise before military ties were suspended ­following India’s nuclear tests in 1998. Following the events of 9/11, there was a flurry of high-level political and military exchanges, leading to the reactivation of the DPG and an expansion in the scope and number of combined ­exercises,25 eventually leading to the signing of the framework agreement

168  Maritime security and other powers for the India-U.S. defence relationship in June 2005, which paved the way for deeper Indo-U.S. defence cooperation. The January 2012 defence strategic guidance document Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defence, highlighted that the United States would be investing in a long-term strategic partnership with India “to support its ability to serve as a regional economic anchor and provider of security in the broader Indian Ocean region.”26 This was further emphasised in the 2014 QDR: The United States supports India’s rise as an increasingly capable actor in the region, and we are deepening our strategic partnership, including through the Defense Trade and Technology Initiative.27 The Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI) – also known as the “Carter Initiative” – was created in 2012, primarily to strengthen defence cooperation between India and the United States by elevating defence ­cooperation to the most senior levels of government. The aims of the DTTI are as follows: • • • •

Transform the bilateral defence relationship into one that is limited only by independent strategic decisions, rather than bureaucratic obstacles or inefficient procedures. Strengthen India’s defence industrial base by moving away from the traditional “buyer-seller” dynamic towards a more collaborative approach. Explore new areas of technological collaboration from science and technology cooperation through co-development and co-production. Expand U.S.-Indian business ties.28

The DTTI currently includes four pathfinder projects and two working groups on aircraft carrier cooperation and jet engine technology.29 ­Additionally, there are other specialist working groups at the working level, established to progress India-U.S. cooperation. It is also reported that the United States has identified 17 defence technologies that it aims to co-­ develop and co-produce with India under the DTTI to boost its military-­ industrial base and augment its military capacity in the region. Further, it is believed that the U.S. government has established a six-man India Rapid Reaction Cell (IRCC), headed by a senior Pentagon official, only to monitor all defence-related issues with Delhi.30 In June 2016, following the visit of Prime Minister Modi to Washington D.C., the United States recognised India as a “Major Defence Partner.” This is a seminal development and such a status commits the United States to “facilitate technology sharing with India to a level commensurate with that of its closest allies and partners, and industry collaboration for defence co-production and co-development.”31 In 2015, the Asia-Pacific Maritime Security Strategy issued by the U.S. government identified a strategic convergence between India’s Act East

Maritime security and other powers  169 policy and the U.S. rebalance and sought to “reinforce India’s maritime capabilities as a net provider of security in the Indian Ocean region and beyond.”32 The document lays down a three-pronged approach to maritime security cooperation with India, as follows: … maintaining a shared vision on maritime security issues; upgrading the bilateral maritime security partnership; and collaborating to both build regional partner capacity and improve regional maritime domain awareness.33 The shared vision for maritime security in the Asia-Pacific region was also reflected in the U.S.-India Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Regions signed in January 2015.34 Under the agreement, both sides agreed as follows: Regional prosperity depends on security. We affirm the importance of safeguarding maritime security and ensuring freedom of navigation and over flight throughout the region, especially in the South China Sea. We call on all parties to avoid the threat or use of force and pursue resolution of territorial and maritime disputes through all peaceful means, in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.35 Notwithstanding the mention of the South China Sea in the above statement, India is yet to demonstrate active participation in the region, perhaps indicative of the limits of Indo-U.S. shared interests or India’s core interest in the Indian Ocean region.36 A recent development under the joint strategic vision was the conduct of the first maritime security dialogue in May 2016, involving officials from both defence and external affairs ministries.37 Reportedly, the issues discussed in the first meeting included Asia-Pacific maritime challenges, naval cooperation, and multilateral engagement. It is expected that the maritime dialogue will provide the framework to decide the scope of future maritime security cooperation at the bilateral and multilateral levels.38 India and the United States are in the process of enhancing their bilateral exchanges through participations in combined exercises such as the U.S.hosted Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise and the flagship naval exercise hosted by the Indian Navy, Malabar. Hosted since 1971, RIMPAC is the largest international military exercise in the world, symbolic of the U.S. Navy as the most powerful navy in the world. The 2014 edition of RIMPAC was the largest ever on record with participation from 22 nations (including China), involving 49 surface ships, six submarines, more than 200 aircraft, and 25,000 personnel in and around the Hawaiian Islands and southern California.39 The twenty second iteration of the Malabar annual combined naval exercise involving India, Japan, and the United States was held off the coast

170  Maritime security and other powers of Guam in June 2018. Significantly, the Malabar exercise held in 2007 included ­participation by Singapore, Japan, and Australia along with the United States and India, and featured a total of three aircraft carriers, 28 surface vessels, 150 aircraft, and over 20,000 personnel, making it one of the largest multilateral naval exercises ever held in the Bay of Bengal. This led to protests by China, prompting Beijing to issue démarches to all five participating countries.40 Whilst India justified the participation of other states as measures to save costs and economise efforts (as India was already conducting bilateral exercises with Singapore), it subsequently discontinued participation by Japan, Singapore, and Australia in the Malabar series. Presently, India conducts separate bilateral exercises with Singapore (Slinex) and Australia (Ausindex). With the Modi government coming to power in 2014, Japan was once again invited to participate in Malabar. The significance of Malabar 2015, involving India, the United States and Japan, was not lost on the Chinese, and an article about the naval exercise in China Daily, a government mouth-piece, noted, The U.S. concept of Asia Pivot revolves around isolating China and creating a block of Regional and Extra Regional second tier powers to strategically suffocate China in the 21st century. These second tier powers include India, Australia and Japan.41 India has consistently maintained that its engagements with the United States are not aimed any country nor a move towards alliance building. Therefore, in what appears to have been an effort to placate the Chinese, the Indian Army participated in a combined exercise, Hand-in-Hand 2015, with the People’s Liberation Army in Kunming, China, a few days prior to the commencement of the Malabar exercise.42 Malabar 2015 was the first iteration regarded as an advanced combined exercise, involving a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier and a nuclear submarine, and a Kilo-class submarine and a Boeing P-8I long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft from the Indian Navy.43 However, Malabar 2017, which concluded in July 2017, was a step further with three carriers notably; USS Nimitz, INS Vikramaditya, and JS Izumo, Japan’s helicopter carrier.44 Malabar 2017 qualifies as the one of the most advanced level combined naval exercise ever undertaken by the Indian Navy. The Malabar series, unlike any other bilateral exercise held by the Indian Navy, includes use of common tactical drills and procedures outlined in the NATO Multinational Tactical Publications series (MTP) and a dedicated communication system Centrixs (Combined Enterprise Regional Information Exchange System), a secure information and intelligence ­exchange ­communications system specifically designed for use between the U.S. Navy and its coalition partners. The extant level of naval engagement encompasses a wide range of naval operations, except combined amphibious operations, which would generally fall under “offensive operations.” It is likely that in

Maritime security and other powers  171 the future, the U.S. Navy, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, and the Indian Navy may graduate to combined amphibious operations involving U.S. Marines, probably under the garb of HADR exercises. This could be regarded as a tough message to China of a de facto military alliance involving India, Japan, and the United States. China has been closely following India’s naval engagement with the United States and a 2016 proposal by the commander of U.S. PACOM, ­inviting India, Japan, and Australia to form an informal strategic coalition for “joint” patrols in the Pacific region, was strongly criticised by China.45 A leading Chinese analyst, Shen Dingli, commented that India would not join such a network for fear of Chinese retaliation, stating: China actually has many ways to hurt India … China could send an aircraft carrier to the Gwadar port in Pakistan. China had turned down the Pakistan offer to have military stationed in the country. If India forces China to do that, of course we can put a navy at your doorstep.46 Although the Indian defence minister categorically rejected the idea of “joint” patrols with the U.S. Navy,47 the above exchange of words conveys a sense of the direction of India’s strategic engagement with the United States and future outcomes. Sale of military hardware The Indian armed forces are currently under a process of modernisation, with nearly $150–$200 billion in acquisitions planned over the next decade.48 India is keen to diversify its arms supplies away from Russia and also develop indigenous capabilities; thus, the DTTI offered by the United States fits in well with India’s plans. The growth in India-U.S. ties has been accompanied by an increase in defence sales from America to India from 2005, with sales touching $9 billion by 2014, and the United States, for the first time, surpassed Russia as India’s major arms supplier.49 A common grievance expressed by Indian defence experts about defence support from the United States was that the Americans, unlike the ­Russians, were unwilling to sell their latest and best technologies to India. Over the years, India’s ties with Russia have evolved from a buyer-seller relationship to a collaborative partnership, and the Indian government was keen to adopt a similar model for defence cooperation with the United States. ­Apparently, the U.S. government appears to have taken cognisance of Indian defence requirements and has offered under the DTTI, 17 stateof-the-art ­technologies to India for co-development and co-production. Of these, four “pathfinder” technologies are presently under way in India, including one for hand-launched unmanned aerial vehicles, another to develop protective clothing for soldiers, two for roll-on/roll-off intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance modules for the Indian Air Force.50 The

172  Maritime security and other powers most significant area of technology transfer from the United States is the Electro Magnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS), developed by G ­ eneral Atomics. This is currently being overseen by a joint working group established under the DTTI. India is evaluating EMALS for its 65,000-tonne ­Indigenous Aircraft Carrier-II (IAC-II) planned to be constructed at the Kochi Shipyard.51 ­Furthermore, according to media reports, Lockheed Martin and Boeing have made proposals to the Indian government to build production facilities in India for manufacture of the F-16 Fighting Falcon and the F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets.52 Reportedly, Lockheed Martin even proposed to move its entire F-16 assembly line from Texas to India, making India the sole producer of the single-engine combat aircraft.53 Recent defence sales from the United States to India include eight ­Boeing P-8I Neptune long-range maritime surveillance aircraft, ten ­Boeing C-17 Globemaster III, 12 Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 Super Hercules ­m ilitary transport aircraft,54 and a U.S. amphibious ship, the USS Trenton, ­marking the first sale to the navy under a “hot transfer” in 2007.55 The ship was re-commissioned into the Indian Navy as INS Jalashwa in June 2007. ­Additional acquisitions at various stages of delivery from the United States include four additional P-8Is, six C-17s,56 15 Boeing CH-47F Chinook heavy lift, and 22 Boeing AH-64E Apache attack helicopters.57 Challenges Whilst Indo-U.S. bilateral defence relations seem to have moved steadily under the Congress Party government led by Manmohan Singh which remained in power until 2014, few key areas of incompatibility had started to retard its progress and bilateral ties seemed to have plateaued. These issues were mainly centred around certain foundational agreements insisted on by the United States as a prerequisite for transfer of high-end defence technology, such as the Communications and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) for sharing of sensitive technology, the Logistics Support Agreement (LSA) that could potentially allow basing/refuelling facilities for U.S. platforms in India, and the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) for Geospatial Intelligence to facilitate classified intelligence sharing.58 New Delhi has always shied away from signing formal agreements for binding military commitments. A former Indian foreign secretary, whilst justifying India’s position, stated that the “form” of India’s relationship with the United States should not be confused for “substance,” highlighting that both sides had received logistics support from one another, even in the absence of formal agreements.59 Indeed, Indian naval ships have received fuel from U.S. Navy tankers in the past and India provided refuelling to U.S. Air Force planes during the first Gulf War. Since mid-2014, with the emergence of a strong BJP government under Prime Minister Modi, many of these long-standing hurdles coming in the way of Indo-U.S. ties have been removed. In August 2016, a watered-down

Maritime security and other powers  173 version of the LSA called the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) was signed by India. Broadly, LEMOA provides a framework to govern and facilitate the provision of logistical support, supplies, and services between the two militaries on a reimbursable basis.60 Later, in September 2018, an Indianised version of the CISMOA called the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) was signed. Reportedly, the remaining agreement, BECA, is also under discussions and could be signed later. Overall assessment of Indo-U.S. relations India’s aspirations to be a net security provider in the Indian Ocean region finds common ground with the United States and, therefore, fits into the American grand strategy for the larger Indo-Pacific region. Both sides have converging strategic interests in combating terrorism, piracy, and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), reflected in the joint strategic vision statement of January 201561 and a shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific region. India’s defence cooperation with the United States is unprecedented in scope and depth, a clear reflection of India’s hedging strategy in the face of growing Chinese maritime power in the Indian Ocean. India is also keen to collaborate with the United States in the modernisation of its armed forces and to “leapfrog” in defence technology to develop its own military-­ industrial complex. Having replaced Russia as the primary defence supplier to India, the United States is expected to play a major role in India’s ongoing defence modernisation programme. Notwithstanding the progress in India-U.S. relations, New Delhi is wary of openly antogonising China. Perhaps the possibility of a Sino-U.S. rapprochement to establish a “G2” arrangement, however remote it may appear, seems to shape Indian strategic thinking. For this reason, India ­continues to avoid a formal political commitment to the proposed quadrilateral ­arrangement.62 Whilst a lack of official commitments by New Delhi may have earlier unnerved the Americans, this time, as noted by an Indian analyst, “the United States is demonstrating patience and a strategic empathy that had eluded the bilateral relationship earlier” and thus India-U.S. maritime security cooperation continues to move forward.63

France France has major strategic interests in the Indian Ocean region. The French island territories in the Indian Ocean, including La Reunion and Mayotte, provide it with an EEZ covering 2.6 million square kilometres, more than one-quarter of the total French EEZ of 11 million square kilometres; the second largest EEZ in the world. Altogether, the French island territories account for over one million citizens.64 Significantly, over 25 per cent of

174  Maritime security and other powers the population of La Reunion is of Indian origin.65 The French-speaking sub-region of the Indian Ocean, including Mauritius, Madagascar (a former French colony), the Seychelles, and Comoros plus the two French territories, are brought together under the Indian Ocean Commission (COI) operating under a rotating presidency, currently held by Comoros.66 Crucially, the French island of Mayotte is claimed by Comoros. According to a recent study report, France provides considerable resources to this sub-region to support the COI. The report notes, It [Paris] also goes a long way towards ensuring that territorial claim by Madagascar and Mauritius, as well as Comorian irredentist claims over Mayotte - the residents of which have repeatedly, and by increasing margins, voted for closer integration with France - can be put to one side without compromising the COI[Indian Ocean Commission].67 Notwithstanding the internal disputes between COI member states, they find French membership advantageous as an influential world power that understands their challenges. And for France, membership of the COI provides it with legitimacy and influence in the Indian Ocean.68 Importantly, France has offered India a membership in the COI in order to encourage its involvement in European Union (EU) projects for the Indian Ocean.69 In order to safeguard its strategic interests in the Indian Ocean, France maintains an active defence presence, with troops and some ships mainly based on the island of La Reunion and Mayotte.70 Additionally, French troops continue to remain based at Djibouti, under a bilateral defence ­cooperation treaty that actually ended in 2011.71 In 2009, France established a base at Mina Zayed, Abu Dhabi, its first permanent military complex in the Persian Gulf. This complex includes army and air force facilities and a naval jetty for various types of ships, except the aircraft carrier, Charles de Gaulle, which is routinely deployed in the Indian Ocean region.72 Since 2001, France has committed troops in support of the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan and ships on anti-piracy patrols under Combined Maritime Forces Task Force 151. Further, France has also contributed to anti-piracy patrols under the EU NAVFOR Operation Atlanta.73 Bilateral relations with India India established a strategic partnership with France in 1998 and has made significant progress in several areas of bilateral cooperation, including defence, counter-terrorism, nuclear energy, and space. In 1998, when India conducted its second nuclear test, France did not condemn the tests which invited international sanctions. Moreover, following the waiver given by the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group that allowed India to resume full civil nuclear cooperation with the international community post-sanctions, France was

Maritime security and other powers  175 the first country to enter into an agreement on civil nuclear cooperation with India.74 In February 2013, French resident, Francois Hollande, chose India as the first country in Asia for a bilateral visit, highlighting the importance accorded to India by the French government. Subsequently, the Indian prime minister visited Paris in April 2015, where he signed a series of MoUs related to cooperation in the fields of defence, civil nuclear energy, and space research. In January 2016, the French president visited New Delhi as the head guest for the 67th Republic Day parade, the fifth time that India extended this honour to France. Significantly, a contingent from the French Army’s 35th Infantry participated in the parade, marching along with ­Indian troops.75 As one of the world’s largest exporters of military hardware and a leading manufacturer of state-of-the-art defence equipment and platforms, France is a key supplier to India, and thus defence cooperation forms the bedrock of the Indo-French strategic partnership. During his 2015 visit to France, Prime Minister Modi announced a multibillion-dollar order for French Rafale jets for the Indian Air Force, which were selected over comparable American and Russian competitors. Earlier major imports from France include the Mirage 2000 multi-role bomber, inducted into the Indian Air Force in the 1980s, and six diesel-electric Scorpene submarines – valued at US$3.5 billion when the contract was signed in October 2005 – which are currently under construction in India under a transfer of technology from the French manufacturer DCNS.76 The Scorpene project was later marred by leaks of classified technical information about the submarine published in the Australian media; and reportedly, an order for three extra platforms has been put on hold.77 However, on the whole, this does not seem to have impacted Indo-French defence cooperation. India and France conduct regular combined military exercises between the three services, including Exercise Shakti between the two armies, ­exercise Garuda for the air forces, and a naval exercise, Varuna, which c­ ommenced in 1992. The 16th iteration of the exercise was conducted in May 2018 in Goa. Earlier exercises had included the Indian aircraft carrier Viraat operating with the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle and its Rafale fighters. In 2015, a bilateral maritime dialogue was instituted to progress ­maritime security cooperation. Later in 2018, during the visit of French President ­Macron to New Delhi, an agreement for “Provision of Reciprocal L ­ ogistics Support” was signed.78 This is similar to the LEMOA signed with the United States to facilitate the two navies to use each other’s installations for repair and replenishment of supplies. For India, this could potentially improve reach and deployment of naval ships in the southern Indian Ocean. France has sought to leverage India’s leadership in the regional institutions such as the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) to upgrade its status of dialogue partner to full membership. However, former French colonies of Mauritius and the Seychelles have opposed this. India has generally

176  Maritime security and other powers sided with the regional states on such issues, including the dispute over the Chagos archipelago involving the United Kingdom and Mauritius, but has been more sympathetic to France. However, following the recent advisory by the International Court of Justice, rejecting U.K.’s claim for sovereignty over the Chagos seems to have weakened the French position. India and France have also fostered solid collaboration in space. The ­Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has completed over 50 years of collaboration with the French space agency,79 successfully launching the first Indo-French satellite in September 2012, followed by a second one in February 2013, aimed at oceanic and climatic research.80 In 2018, an MoU between ISRO and the French Centre national d’etudes spatiales (CNES or National Centre for Space Studies) was signed, aimed at co-developing a maritime surveillance satellite system for the Indian Ocean and related data fusion mechanisms.81 This is expected to significantly improve maritime ­domain awareness in the Indian Ocean region. Overall assessment of Indo-French relations At the grand strategic level, both Indian and French interests are closely aligned around maintaining stability in the Indian Ocean region. Whilst ­India regards the presence of former European colonial powers as illegitimate, it generally views France as an intrinsic Indian Ocean power in recognition of the level of importance its accords to its territories, which are locally administered by an elected government. This concession or recognition had not been extended to the United Kingdom since the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), including the Chagos archipelago with the island of Diego Garcia, are currently administered directly from Britain. Moreover, BIOT does not have any native inhabitants, all of whom were relocated to Mauritius and the Seychelles in the 1960s and 1970s prior to handing over the island of Diego Garcia to the United States to establish a naval base.82 Thus, in 2008, whilst France was accorded full membership of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), the United Kingdom was not. India’s relations with France have grown significantly in recent years based on a shared world view and strategic convergences in several areas noted above. India’s defence procurements from France also seem to have provided it with significant political influence. For instance, in 2011, u ­ nder Indian pressure, France halted a major defence sale to Pakistan, which was to have included fighter aircraft, submarines, and anti-ship ­m issiles. ­Evidently, during the Indo-French defence dialogue in 2011, French ­Defence ­Minister Gerard Longuet had assured his Indian counterpart, A.K. ­Antony, that France would “put on hold” the supply of “heavy” materiel to ­Pakistan.83 With the signing of the largest defence deal for Rafale jets for the Indian Air Force, valued at over $10 billion, it is expected that India’s defence cooperation, and consequent political leverage, with France will be further enhanced.

Maritime security and other powers  177

Japan Japan is the world’s third largest importer of crude oil and oil products. More than 80 per cent of its oil imports are sourced from the Indian Ocean region and transit the Strait of Malacca, making Japan critically dependent on the Indian Ocean SLOCs.84 Additionally, Japanese exports destined for Africa and Europe are routed through the region. Japan thus takes a keen interest in Indian Ocean maritime security. As an alliance partner of the United States, Japan has been involved in the U.S.-led security operations in Afghanistan as well as the anti-piracy missions under the CMFs. Although constitutional and other domestic political constraints have prevented ­Japan from engaging in offensive military operations, it has nevertheless played a key role in the reconstruction and stabilisation process in ­A fghanistan.85 Similarly, in the anti-piracy missions, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) tankers have provided logistics support to coalition ships on deployment since 2009.86 Japan is also an active participant in the ongoing U.N. Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (­U NMISS). In order to support its military commitments in the Indian Ocean region, the Japanese government under Prime Minister Abe established a logistics facility at Djibouti in 2013, the first semi-permanent Japanese overseas military facility since World War II. Abe is also regarded as leveraging J­ apan’s military involvement in Africa to further the military normalisation process, initiated under his government.87 In 2014, Japan took a historic shift away from post-War pacifism, allowing for a relaxation of certain constraints of Article IX of its constitution, which states, The Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes…. Land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained.88 Under the new interpretation, Japanese forces will now be able to play a more proactive role in exercising the right of collective self-defence and thus even assist the U.S. or other allies if they were attacked, although there would still be limits on the scope of Japanese assistance.89 In recent years, Japan has also funded large infrastructure projects in ­various countries of the Indian Ocean region. Since 2015, when Prime ­Minister Abe announced a “Partnership for Quality Infrastructure,” J­ apan has financed several major infrastructure projects in Asia and ­Africa, ­including Bangladesh, India, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, ­Vietnam, Madagascar, Mozambique, and Kenya. To provide a substitute for Chinese investments, under the belt and road initiative (BRI), that could help to wean away indebted countries from China, Japan has sought to coordinate its efforts with India, and in 2017, India and Japan established the “Act East Forum” to institutionalise bilateral cooperation and synerigse

178  Maritime security and other powers mutual efforts for infrastructure development in the Asia. The same year, India and Japan jointly initiated the Asian-Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC) to improve connectivity with Africa.90 Both these initiatives help to streamline and coordinate regional development projects, for instance, in Bangladesh, Indian companies are engaged in building roads whilst Japan is building bridges. Thus, joint Indo-Japan development projects are a key driver for bilateral ties. Bilateral relations with India Despite the large geographical separation between India and Japan, current relations between the two countries are rooted in ancient religious and cultural ties that can be traced back to 752 AD, when a Buddhist monk from India visited Japan. During the period of freedom struggle in India led by Netaji Subhash, Japanese support and assistance to Netaji and the Indian National Army during the early 1940s created much goodwill. Subsequently, after Indian independence, there were a few high-level exchanges of political visits, including a visit by the Japanese Crown Prince. However, the bilateral relationship stagnated thereafter, with fewer political or diplomatic exchanges, although, in 1991, when India was faced with a balance of payment crisis, Japan was one of the few countries that helped to bail out the Indian economy. This was also followed up with significant foreign direct investments, which reached a peak of $531.5 million in 1997, with big names in Japanese industry such as Toyota, Honda, Sony, and Mitsubishi, establishing an Indian presence.91 Just when India-Japan relations started improving, the second Indian nuclear tests of 1998 resulted in an “exceptionally harsh” response by Japan, which temporarily withdrew its ambassador and swiftly imposed economic sanctions, including suspension of all financial aid and other punitive measures.92 Relations started to improve gradually in 1999, helped by the recapture of Japanese merchant vessel Alondra Rainbow by the Indian Coast Guard and Indian Navy that year. The Indian and Japanese coast guards have since established strong ties and conduct a bilateral exercise, Shahyog-Kaijin. Significantly, the Indian Coast Guard is also an active member of the Heads of Asian Coast Guard ­Agencies ­Meeting (HACGAM), initiated by Japan in 2004. The rise of China in the twenty-first century and its adoption of a muscular stance with regard to the dispute with Japan over the Senkaku islands in the East China Sea, and over the Spratlys with its other neighbours in the South China Sea, seems to have compelled Japan to revisit its earlier ­polices. In 2006, Indo-Japan relations were elevated to the level of a global and strategic partnership. The global partnership formed the foundation for the strengthening of ties in diverse fields, including identifying areas of strategic convergence with the provision of annual Prime Ministerial Summits. India is the only country with which Japan has such annual summit meetings alternating between Delhi and Tokyo.93

Maritime security and other powers  179 In September 2010, when Japan arrested a Chinese fishing boat captain, China blocked the export of rare earth metals to Japan, threatening “­ further measures” against Tokyo if the captain was not immediately released.94 The Chinese fisherman was later released. However, this incident seems to have been a watershed moment for Japan as it added a sense of urgency to their initiatives to further their strategic partnership with India. There were also growing concerns in Japan about America’s ability to abide by its security commitments, and thus Tokyo sought a new strategic p ­ artnership with ­India. Since 2010, Indo-Japan relations have been marked by highlevel ­political visits and a spurt in economic and military engagements. In 2013, in a rare gesture, the Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko made a week-long visit to India, followed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who visited New Delhi for the 8th Annual Summit with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and as the Chief Guest at the Republic Day parade in New Delhi in January 2014. The prime ministers signed a Joint Statement sharing their vision on intensifying the India-Japan Strategic and Global Partnership95 and India invited Japan to rejoin the Indo-U.S. combined naval exercise Malabar in 2015,96 a significant development since Japan’s earlier participation in 2007 in the Malabar series of exercise was suspended due to Chinese concerns.97 Since 2015, Japan has been a regular participant in Malabar and July 2017 edition of the exercise involved USS Nimitz, India’s aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya and Japan’s helicopter carrier and its largest warship JS Izumo for the first time.98 Significantly, in 2015, the two countries instituted a “maritime affairs dialogue” to progress bilateral maritime security cooperation. In 2014, Prime Minister Modi visited Japan, signing the “Tokyo Declaration for India-Japan Special Strategic and Global Partnership.” The visit resulted in substantive outcomes: Japan conveyed its intention to invest 3.5 trillion yen ($35 billion) of public-private funds in India over a five-year period as well as to double the number of Japanese companies operating in India, and defence equipment and technology was identified as a ­major new area of cooperation.99 Prime Minister Modi stated that his visit would “write a new chapter” in relations, whilst Abe said that India-Japan ­bilateral ties have the “most potential in the world.”100 Since 2018, with a view to provide a substitute to Chinese capital under the BRI, Japan has launched alternate and cheaper funding options such as the Asia–Africa Growth ­Corridor (AAGC) development plan. The AAGC seeks to “facilitate and enhance economic growth by linking economies in Asia and Africa,”101 and India is currently working in close collaboration with Japan in several infrastructure projects in South Asia. Recent developments in India-Japan defence cooperation include a potential sale of 12 unarmed utility Seaplane Mark 2 amphibious search and rescue aircraft by Japan for the Indian Navy at a cost of around $1.65 ­billion.102 Reportedly, whilst two of these aircraft could be supplied directly from Japan, the remaining might be manufactured in India under a transfer

180  Maritime security and other powers of technology arrangement. If this deal fructifies, it would be the first-ever sale of military hardware by Japan, post–World War II. Overall assessment of Indo-Japan strategic relations Japan’s strategic interests in the Indian Ocean and shared concerns over the rise of China are the two main drivers for Japan’s bilateral relations with India. The inclusion of Japan with the United States in combined naval exercise Malabar hosted by India is the strongest indicator of an attempt at alliance forming aimed at countering China. This development appears to have made a significant impact on the political leadership in Beijing. Whilst, in 2007, China had issued a démarche to Japan to mark its protest against Japanese participation, in 2015 the Chinese response had been “far more cautious and moderate.”103 Probably, as noted before, since it was preceeded by an India-China combined army exercise. In any case, the muted response from China following Malabar 2015 also seems to have further emboldened India to pursue closer defence cooperation with Japan and the United States. Given the process of normalisation initiated by the Abe government and the recent relaxation in the interpretation of Article IX of the Japanese constitution, it is expected that Japan might pursue a proactive policy for furthering defence cooperation with India.

Russia India has long-standing relations with Russia and enhanced levels of cooperation in multiple areas, including defence, civil nuclear energy, space, science and technology, hydrocarbons, and trade and investment. During the 2010 visit of then Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to New Delhi, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stated that Relations with Russia are a key pillar of our foreign policy, and we regard Russia as a trusted and reliable strategic partner. Ours is a relationship that not only stands independent of any other, but whose significance has grown over time.104 Following the signing of “Declaration on the India-Russia Strategic Partnership” in October 2000, Indo-Russian ties had been upgraded to the level of a “Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership,” with several institutionalised dialogue mechanisms operating at both political and official levels to ensure regular interaction and follow up on cooperation activities.105 An annual summit meeting between the Prime Minister of India and the President of the Russian Federation is the highest dialogue mechanism under the Strategic Partnership between India and the Russian Federation.106 Additionally, there are regular annual interactions under two inter-governmental commissions, one on Trade, Economic, Scientific,

Maritime security and other powers  181 Technological and Cultural Cooperation (IRIGC-TEC), co-chaired by the Indian external affairs minister and the Russian deputy prime minister, and the other on Military Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-MTC), co-chaired by Russian and Indian defence ministers.107 In 2016, bilateral trade between India and Russia exceeded $7.7 billion, with Russian imports accounting for $5.32 billion,108 led by defence and nuclear power equipment.109 This is fairly short of the target of $30 billion by 2025 set during the 15th Annual Summit of 2014. Pertinently, in May 2015, the Indian President Pranab Mukherjee attended the Russian commemoration of the 70th anniversary of victory in World War II in Moscow, joined by the Chinese President Xi Jinping, but largely unattended by most Western leaders. An Indian contingent also participated in the military parade in Moscow on 9 May 2015.110 Defence cooperation About 70 per cent of India’s defence equipment is of Russian or Soviet origin dating back to the 1960s.111 It is estimated that since the early 1960s, India has acquired more than $40 billion worth of defence hardware from Moscow.112 Over the past 20 years, India’s defence imports from Russia have been varied and extensive and included a Kiev-class aircraft carrier (ex Admiral Gorshkov), destroyers such as the Rajput-class; stealth frigates including the Talwar-class; corvettes; missiles boats; conventional submarines including the Foxtrot-class and the Kilo-class; nuclear submarines on lease (Akula-class); maritime reconnaissance aircraft such as the IL-36 and Tu-142M; naval helicopters such as the Ka-35; air force fighters such as the MiG-29, MiG-29 SMT, Su-30K, and Su-30MKI; helicopters including the Mi-17 and Mi-18; transport aircraft including the An-32; air defence systems; and army main battle tanks such as the T-72 and the T-90.113 China was the number one arms importer from Russia for a long time; however, it was overtaken by India as Russia’s largest arms buyer in 2007. This trend continued until recently, when the United States emerged as India’s largest defence supplier. During the early years, India’s defence cooperation with Russia was characterised as “a simple buyer-seller” relationship. However, over the years, the framework for defence cooperation now has evolved to one involving joint research, development, and production of advanced defence technologies and systems.114 Some successful projects include the BrahMos anti-ship cruise missile system, joint development of the fifth generation fighter aircraft, and the multi-transport aircraft, as well as the licensed production in India of the SU-30 fighter aircraft and T-90 tanks.115 Recently, defence acquisitions by India from Russia include the S-400 Triumf surface-to-air anti-ballistic missile defence system, in a deal valued at about $10 billion, making it the largest ever single defence deal with Russia.116 This has been followed by an agreement to manufacture over 200 Kamov 226T helicopters in India in collaboration with Reliance Defence,

182  Maritime security and other powers a private Indian company; 117a contract for four stealth frigates (including two to be built in India) and a $3 billion deal for a third ­Russian Akula-class nuclear attack submarine on lease from 2025, signed in March 2019.118 It is pertinent to note that India’s defence procurements from ­Russia are liable to come under U.S. sanctions under a new law, Countering A ­ merica’s ­Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). However, keeping in mind the scale of India’s defence procurements from the United States and its role as a strategic partner, it appears that the Trump administration will probably waive the sanction for India.119 In addition to defence purchases, India conducts a range of combined exercises involving the three services, including a bilateral naval exercise codenamed Indra first initiated in 2003.120 The scope and scale of the Indra series has expanded over the years, and the tenth naval exercise took place in the Bay of Bengal in December 2018. Notwithstanding the success of Indo-Russian defence cooperation, there have been past problems related to the declining quality of Russian equipment, high costs, and poor after-sales service from Russian companies.121 Indo-Russian defence cooperation was seriously marred by the ex-Gorshkov deal, during which renegotiations that dragged on for three years until early 2010, the Russians demanded over $1.2 billion more than the original price of $1.5 billion.122 This experience appears to have driven India to explore alternate sources for defence procurements from the United States, Israel, and Europe. Consequently, in 2011, in what appears to have been a r­ etaliatory move by the Russians to dissuade India from seeking alternate suppliers, the Russian Navy abruptly cancelled exercise Indra.123 Russia also transgressed a decades-old informal understanding with India by agreeing to supply ­Pakistan with Mi-35 helicopters.124 However, considering the scale of recent acquisitions by India, it appears that these bilateral issues have now been settled. Overall assessment of India-Russia relations India is keen to maintain its time-tested relationship with Russia despite improved relations with Washington. India shares Russia’s vision of a multipolar world and, within South Asia, Russia has always supported India over the Kashmir issue and opposed its internationalisation.125 Further, the issue of terrorism is another area of strategic convergence of interests.126 It is evident that defence ties with Russia constitute the core of Indo-Russian relations. Given that nearly 70 per cent of Indian military equipment is of Russian/Soviet origin, it is clear that India will continue to depend on Russia in the long term for spares, maintenance, and upgrades. Further, notwithstanding recent progress in India-U.S. defence cooperation, Russia remains India’s major supplier for strategic platforms and systems including the aircraft carrier, conventional and nuclear submarines and fighter aircraft, and the latest ballistic missile defence system. However, in many other cases,

Maritime security and other powers  183 a clear trend of replacing aging Russian origin equipment with the latest American equipment is evident. For instance, the American C ­ hinook and Apache AH-64E helicopters will gradually replace the Russian Mi-26 and Mi-35 helicopters and the Boeing P8Is have replaced the Tu-142 m ­ aritime reconnaissance aircraft. This may also be seen as a move by India to balance between Russian origin and Western origin hardware and to try and get the best of both. Over the years, India has mastered the task of operating and maintaining Russian platforms, equipment, and systems, in Indian conditions. This has helped India to provide support to other users of Russian arms in the Indian Ocean region and thus to develop its own security ties. For instance, in 2008, the Indian Navy transferred over 5,000 spare parts for the old ­Soviet origin Petya-class patrol ships to Vietnam and also repaired their aging MiG-21 fighters and T-55 tanks.127 The Indian Air Force (the largest Su-30 fighter operator in the world) also conducted training for the Malaysian Air Force on the Su-30MKI fighters for over two years.128 And during the visit of Prime Minister Modi to Malaysia in 2015, India and Malaysia signed an agreement to establish a Su-30 forum for cooperation in training, m ­ aintenance, and technical support of the Russian fighter jets.129 The decision by Indonesia to acquire the Su-30 also appears to have been influenced by the fact that these planes could be repaired and overhauled in India. Australia Over the past decade, Australia has pursued its strategic relations with I­ ndia as a matter of national priority. This is evidenced by the fact that all four Australian prime ministers between 2006 and 2014 visited New Delhi. In 2009, during Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s visit, bilateral ties were upgraded to a strategic partnership and a series of agreements for cooperation in defence and security matters were signed. Yet, there were no reciprocal visits from India until 2014, when Prime Minister Modi visited Canberra, the first Indian prime minister to visit Australia for 28 years. The highlight of the visit was a landmark agreement for civil nuclear energy cooperation, underscoring Australia’s support for strengthening India’s energy security by supplying uranium for India’s safeguarded nuclear reactors, and the signing of a joint declaration on security cooperation to establish a framework for further cooperation in security issues. The 2014 security declaration expands on the earlier joint declaration on security cooperation with Australia signed in 2009. Importantly, the signing of the 2009 joint declaration with Australia completed the final bilateral agreement with each of the members of the so-called quadrilateral security dialogue that was proposed by Japan in 2007 and then quickly abandoned.130 The 2014 agreement provides an action plan for an annual meeting by the two prime ministers and regular interactions between foreign ministers and between defence ministers. It includes, inter alia, a broad agenda for cooperation in the fields of

184  Maritime security and other powers defence and maritime security, including an annual bilateral naval exercise Ausindex, information sharing, civil nuclear cooperation, and cooperation in regional and multilateral fora.131 Australia is only the third country after the United States and Japan with whom India has signed a similar framework agreement. India-Australia defence cooperation currently includes a wide range of activities such as an annual defence policy talks between the two defence ministers, an annual Track 1.5 defence strategic dialogue, service-to-­service engagements involving regular high-level visits, annual staff talks, combined training, multinational combined exercises, and the annual bilateral naval exercise, Ausindex. Additionally, both sides have also agreed to explore defence research and development cooperation and promote joint industry links.132 For the first time, the Indian and Australian navies participated in exclusive bilateral exercise Ausindex, conducted in the Bay of Bengal in September 2015. The exercise has progressively increased in scale and scope and the 2019 edition included ships, submarines, and aircraft from both sides practicing a “scenario for maintaining sea lines of communications in a complex submarine environment.”133 In 2017, the Indian Air Force participated in the combined air combat exercise, Pitch Black, a biennial exercise hosted by Australia, that included the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Indonesia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, and other countries. Reportedly, the Indian Air Force deployed four ­Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jets and a C-17 Globemaster III strategic airlift aircraft for the exercise.134 Despite wide-ranging and high-level bilateral defence engagements, India has declined requests by Australia for inclusion in the multinational combined naval exercise, Malabar, with the United States and Japan. Obviously, a quadrilateral naval exercise by India sends a clear political signal to China, that India, currently, seems unprepared to do, at least not for Australia, traditionally positioned as a “detached” regional state. Clearly, for now, this limits the extant level of Indo-Australia strategic ties, much to their chagrin. However, Australia having for long played an important role in the regional security, but as an alliance partner of the United States, is now determined to carve out a larger role for itself in the Indian Ocean and is seen to be working towards boosting its position as a leading maritime power in the region. The latest announcement of “Indo-Pacific Endeavor 19,” a naval deployment launched in March 2019 by the Australian navy and involving exercises and cooperation with seven nations: Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Singapore, is evidently a step in that direction. Clearly, a large-scale annual combined naval exercise by the Australian navy, including various countries in the region, would help Australia improve its profile as regional maritime power and carve out a larger role for itself in the Indian Ocean. Whilst Australia has been closely associated with various Southeast Asian states, a new partnership with Sri Lanka could pave the way for further for engagements with the Maldives and beyond. On

Maritime security and other powers  185 balance, growing Australian influence in India’s neighbourhood may not be a cause for worry in India and could be used to advantage to counter Chinese influence in the region. However, Australia would be well advised to be mindful of India’s concerns, which will include treading carefully on relations with Pakistan.

The United Kingdom Although the strategic interests and presence of the United Kingdom in the Indian Ocean region had been steadily declining since the withdrawal of most British forces from the east of Suez in 1967, the past few years have witnessed growing British interest in the region. In 2013, Admiral Sir Trevor Soar, the Royal Navy’s former Commander-in-Chief Fleet, noted that over 50 per cent of the Royal Navy’s deployed manpower and assets were then located in the Indian Ocean.135 A sizeable presence has since been maintained and in 2018, the United Kingdom deployed two naval ships to the South China Sea for a period of over six months and typhoon fighter jets to train with Japan, South Korea, and Malaysia.136 Presently, the primary strategic interests for the British in the region encompass maritime trade including energy products from the Middle East, and the administration of the BIOT comprising the Chagos archipelago. The Chagos archipelago is a group of seven atolls comprising 55 individual tropical islands, many of which are very small. The archipelago lies about 500 kilometres(300 miles) south of the Maldives and about 1,600 kilometres (1,000 miles) southwest of India.137 The largest island, Diego Garcia, was leased to the United States in 1966 for 50 years to house their Indian Ocean naval base.138 Mauritius claims the entire archipelago, a demand tacitly supported by India, maintaining that the B ­ ritish violated the “intangibility of colonial borders” by appropriating Chagos and forcibly relocating all the native people to Mauritius and the Seychelles. However, the British contend that Chagos was never a part of Mauritius, but only administered by the British colonial government of Port Louis for administrative convenience.139 The original 50-year lease to the United States, which expired in 2016,140 has now been extended by another 20 years, and reportedly, the British government has ruled against the return of over 3,000 displaced islanders to Chagos.141 In 2017, Mauritius approached the International Court of Justice, arguing that they were coerced into giving up Chagos. On 25 February 2019, the courts delivered an advisory opinion stating: The process of decolonization of Mauritius was not lawfully completed when that country acceded to independence” and that “the United Kingdom is under an obligation to bring to an end its administration of the Chagos Archipelago as rapidly as possible.142 Although the above ruling is an advisory, it remains to be seen how the United Kingdom responds to it. In any case, the status of Diego Garica as

186  Maritime security and other powers a U.S. Navy base is unlikely to change. It is believed that India’s support to Mauritius was subject to status quo being maintained with regard to the U.S. naval base. The United Kingdom has been closely involved in the ongoing anti-­piracy and anti-terrorism security operations in the region and also maintains a naval presence in Bahrain which hosts the U.K. Maritime Component Command (UKMCC) headquarters.143 Significantly, the United Kingdom is a major supplier of military hardware to Gulf states, such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which closed multi-billion dollar deals for the procurement of the Eurofighter Typhoon.144 Further, Britain continues to maintain its defence links, albeit tenuous, with Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Malaysia, through the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) dating from 1971. The FPDA conducts combined naval and air exercises each year, with Royal Navy ships participating regularly. The Royal Navy has also been conducting a bilateral naval exercise with the Indian Navy codenamed Konkan since 2004. In recent years, the United Kingdom has sought to ­leverage its leadership in the Commonwealth forum, a grouping mostly of former parts of the British Empire, to play a greater role in fostering defence cooperation, including several Indian Ocean states. A 2011 report h ­ ighlights scope for greater strategic cooperation, including intelligence sharing and cooperation.145 However, given that the Commonwealth is still viewed, at least in India, as a “largely ceremonial, British-dominated organization with an antiquated aura,”146 the idea appears unlikely to be successful. India-U.K. defence cooperation and overall assessment After a period of relative decline since the 1970s, India-U.K. defence cooperation was renewed with the establishment of a Defence Consultative Group (DCG) in 1995.147 Bilateral defence cooperation has since picked up, albeit slowly, marked by training exchanges, combined naval exercise Konkan which commenced in 2004 and sale of military hardware, notably Jaguar fighters and 66 Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer from BAE.148 In recent years, India’s bilateral relations with the United Kingdom seem to have been overtaken by emerging strategic ties with other European powers, including France and Germany. This is evidenced from the fact that the United Kingdom was only the 27th country visited by Modi in his overseas tours, despite three visits by the British prime minister to India in the past six years. Moreover, India chose French Rafale fighters over the Eurofighter Typhoon, partly built by British defence giant BAE systems. Evidently, ­India and the United Kingdom are divided over several global issues, such as Syria, Russia, and Afghanistan. Most crucially, “Indian diplomats see the U.K. as hopelessly naïve on the issue of Pakistan,” with whom the United Kingdom has maintained strong defence and intelligence ties.149 Thus on balance, India’s ties with the United Kingdom seem to have lost their “exclusivity” and are gradually waning, replaced by other European powers and the United States.

Maritime security and other powers  187

The quadrilateral arrangement In 2007, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe proposed a coalition of four Indo-­ Pacific democracies: Australia, India, Japan, and the United States, to respond to increasing Chinese assertiveness. He propositioned to develop this quadrilateral arrangement by expanding the scope of the 2002 trilateral strategic dialogue (TSD) involving Australia, Japan, and the United States. Although, at the time, New Delhi was “still in the early stages of a reorientation away from its non-aligned past towards more robust strategic partnerships with the US and Japan,”150 it seemed enthused with the idea, and in 2007 invited Australia and Japan along with Singapore to participate in the Indo-U.S. combined naval exercise, Malabar. The notion of a “Quad” dialogue and the expanded scope of the Malabar appear to have unnerved China who issued a démarche to all the four members. Subsequently, ­Australia, Japan, and ­Singapore were dropped from Malabar and Australia quietly withdrew from the dialogue in “deference to China’s sensitivities.”151 Evidently, India dismissed appeals from Japan and the United States to revive the quad,152 ostensibly in the hope of improving ties with China. However, by 2017, India had rejoined the Quad, following major differences with China over the BRI, support for Pakistan, obstruction of India’s membership into the nuclear supplier’s group, and Sino-India border clashes at Doklam. Significantly, Japan was re-invited to the Malabar in 2015. The Quad together with the Malabar series of exercises provide India with an additional leverage to deal with an assertive China, although India has taken care to “walk slowly” with the Quad and not include Australia in the Malabar group. Indeed, the Quad seems to have had a desired effect on China, and in 2018, Beijing ­signalled its intent to improve relations with India by hosting an informal summit between Prime Minister Modi and President Xi Jinping at Wuhan. Can the Quad be regarded as a new security alliance to counter China? Evidently not. The quad in its current form is a dialogue between senior officials from the foreign ministries and not even a ministerial-level forum. But considering the wide range of formal defence cooperation agreements signed by India with other members, an unprecedented move away from its earlier strictly non-aligned position, the scope and depth of extant maritime security cooperation established by India, interoperability between forces achieved through regular advanced combined naval exercises, and supply of crucial defence technology and arms, the Quad clearly has most of the key elements in place to be regarded a functional military alliance. However, the lack of clear political intent and will, by both India and Australia, keep it one or two steps short of a formal security alliance.

Conclusion On balance, an examination of India’s bilateral relations with extra-regional states indicates that India has sought to maintain close strategic ties with all

188  Maritime security and other powers major powers that have strategic interests in the Indian Ocean, particularly the United States, with whom India’s strategic ties are unsurpassed in scope and scale, arguably at the same level as ties with the erstwhile USSR during the Cold War. As one of the largest arms buyers in the world, self-reliance in defence is an important precondition to strategic autonomy for India. Given the extant gap in India’s own military-industrial capabilities, India has sought to leapfrog in technology and modernise its armed forces through large-scale defence imports. To that end, the doctrine of non-alignment that has shaped India’s foreign policy has actually helped India to source military hardware from all major suppliers globally. As a result, India has been able to induct state-of-the-art equipment from the United States, Russia, Israel, France, and the United Kingdom, a crucial advantage over China, which has virtually no access to state-of-the-art defence technology from the United States or Europe. This has proved to be a significant advantage, a fact grudgingly acknowledged even by the PLA Navy leadership who believe that the Indian Navy has had the benefit of amalgamating the best seamanship practices inherited from the Royal Navy, robust platforms and equipment from the Soviets, and sophisticated American technology and tactics.153 Furthermore, whilst India has maintained strategic defence partnerships with Western Pacific states such as Japan and Vietnam, it has taken care to not unduly antogonise China and has therefore avoided prolonged or overt presence in the Western Pacific region. As such, the naval exercises involving Japan are conducted in the Indian Ocean region and India’s maritime cooperation with Vietnam has been kept low key. Furthermore, as noted earlier, New Delhi dismissed a proposal from the commander of U.S. ­Indo-Pacific Command for coordinated “freedom of the seas” patrols in the Western Pacific region.154 Finally, India’s growing maritime security cooperation with the United States, Japan, and Australia and participation in the Quad since 2017 is the clearest indication of an implicit strategy aimed at alliance forming to counter China. Over the years, the scope of the Malabar combined naval exercises has increased in complexity and scope. The inclusion of Japan in these exercises in since 2015, overriding Chinese concerns, shows a sense of urgency on the part of India to balance growing Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean. Yet, having achieved a high level of interoperability of forces and political compatibility within the Quad, with regard to dealing with China, India has been reluctant to formalize the Quad arrangement. If this is a deliberate strategy to keep China off balance, then it seems to be having the desired effect.

Notes 1 Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs, “Prime Minister’’s Remarks at the Commissioning of Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) Barracuda in Mauritius,” March 2015, available at http://mea.gov.in/outoging-visit-detail .htm?24912/Prime+Ministers+Remarks+at+the+Commissioning+of+Offshore +Patrol+Vessel+OPV+Barracuda+in+Mauritius+March+12+2015.html.

Maritime security and other powers  189 2 Mohan Malik, “The Indo-Pacific Maritime Domain,” in Mohan Malik, ed., Maritime Security in the Indo-Pacific: Perspectives from China, Indian, United States, Rowman and Littlefield, New York, 2014, p. 5. 3 Ibid., p. 7. 4 “Ashton Carter: U.S. to Begin ‘Direct Action on the Ground’ in Iraq, Syria,” NBC News, 27 October 2015. 5 U.S. Department of Defense, Sustaining US Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense, January 2012, Washington, DC, p. 2. 6 Quadrennial Defense Review 2014, p. 34. 7 “US to Join Australia in Papua New Guinea Naval Base plan,” BBC, 17 ­November 2018. 8 U.S. Department of Defense, The Asia-Pacific Maritime Security Strategy, Washington, DC, 2015, p. 23. 9 U.S. Department of Defense, A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower, Washington, DC, March 2015, p. 7. 10 Ibid., p. 7. 11 Walter C. Ladwig, “Strengthening Partners to Keep the Peace: A Neo-Nixon Doctrine for the Indian Ocean Region,” in Peter Dombrowski and Andre C. Winner, eds., The Indian Ocean and US Grand Strategy, Georgetown University Press, Washington, DC, 2014, p. 25. 12 Ibid. 13 Malik, “The Indo-Pacific Maritime Domain,” p. 7. 14 Cited in K. Alan Kronstadt, “U.S.-India Bilateral Agreements in 2005,” CRS Report for Congress, 8 September 2005, p. 3. 15 Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs “India – U.S. Relations,” Media Brief, September 2013. 16 Ibid. 17 “More than Just an Idea,” The Hindu, 25 February 2015. 18 Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs, “India – U.S. Relations,” Media Brief, June 2017. 19 Ibid. 20 Ibid. 21 Shayerah Ilias Akhtar, K. Alan Kronstadt, “U.S.-India Trade Relations,” ­Congressional Research Service, 24 October 2018. 22 “Six U.S. Nuclear Power Plants to be Set Up in India,” The Hindu, 14 March 2019. 23 “Bill Introduced In US Congress Aims to Put India on Par with NATO Allies,” NDTV, 12 April 2019. 24 “Indo-U.S. Strategic Ties on the Upswing,” Jane’s Intelligence Review, 10 ­January 2003. 25 Ibid. 26 U.S. Department of Defense, Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership, p. 2. 27 United States Department of Defence, Quadrennial Defence Review Washington, DC, 2014, p. 17. 28 “U.S.-India Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI),” Office of the ­Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, ­available at http://www.acq.osd.mil/ic/DTTI.html. 29 “More Than Just an Idea,” The Hindu, 25 February 2015. 30 “Carter to offer Scorpion to India Under Joint Development Plan,” Jane’s ­Defence Weekly, 1 May 2015. 31 Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs “India – U.S. Relations,” Media Brief, June 2017. 32 U.S. Department of Defence, Asia-Pacific Maritime Security Strategy, p. 28. 33 Ibid., p. 28.

190  Maritime security and other powers 34 Government of India, U.S.-India Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region, Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi, 25 January 2015, pp. 1–2. 35 Ibid. 36 Harsh V. Pant and Yogesh Joshi, “The American Pivot and the Indian Way: Its’ Hedging All the Way,” Naval War College Review, Vol. 68, No. 1, Winter 2015, pp. 48–55. 37 “India, U.S. Hold First Maritime Security Dialogue,” The Hindu, 16 May 2016. 38 Ibid. 39 U.S. Department of Defence, Asia-Pacific Strategy, p. 25. 40 “Indian, U.S. Warships to Take Part in Malabar War Games,” The First Post, 24 February 2012. 41 “The South China Sea and International Security,” The China Daily, 7 August 2015. 42 “The China Challenge: When Military Adversaries Become Friends,” NDTV Online, 22 October 2015. 43 “Significance of the India-U.S.-Japan Malabar Naval Exercise,” The Indian ­Express, 21 October 2015. 44 “Malabar 2017: Spectacular End to Naval Drill,” The Hindu, 17 July 2017. 45 “China slams U.S. Admiral for ‘Irresponsible’ Remarks in Delhi,” India Today, 4 March 2016. 46 Ellen Barry, “U.S. Proposes Reviving Naval Coalition to Balance China’s ­Expansion,” The New York Times, 2 March 2016. 47 “Question of Joint Patrolling with the U.S. Does Not Arise, Need to Cut the Flab from the Military: Parrikar,” Indian Express, 5 March 2016. 48 “China’s Strength Draws U.S. and India Together,” Jane’s Intelligence Review, 5 May 2015. 49 “Civil Nuclear Liability Remains Unclear for Investors, but India-U.S. S ­ trategic and Defence Co-operation Likely to Increase,” Jane’s Intelligence Weekly, 6 February 2015. 50 “India, U.S. Discuss Joint Development of Carrier, Further Technology Ties,” IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, 19 August 2015. 51 Ibid. 52 “As Trump Vows to Stop Flow of Jobs Overseas, U.S. Plans to Make Fighter Jets in India,” The Washington Post, 3 December 2016. 53 Ibid. 54 “China’s Strength Draws U.S. and India Together,”. 55 “Amphibious Assault Ships: Striking Distance,” Jane’s Defence Weekly, 15 June 2010. 56 “China’s Strength Draws U.S. and India Together,”. 57 “Here is Why Apache and Chinook Helicopters are Game Changers for India,” The Economic Times, 23 September 2015. 58 Abhijit Singh, “A Shared Destiny in the Asian Commons: Evaluating the ­India-U.S. Maritime Relationship,” NBR Commentary, 22 October 2015. 59 “An Interview with Shivshankar Menon,” NBR Interview, 26 June 2015. 60 “India, U.S. Sign Logistic Exchange Pact Boosting Defence Ties,” Business Standard, 30 August 2016. 61 Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs, U.S.-India Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region, 25 January 2015. 62 “US commander Hints that Quad Grouping, Which Includes India,” Times of India, 7 March 2019. 63 A. Singh, “A Shared Destiny in the Asian Commons,” NBR Commentary, 22 October 2015. 64 Iskander Rehman, “India-France Relations: Look to the Indian Ocean,” The Diplomat, 4 June 2015.

Maritime security and other powers  191 65 Ibid. 66 Future Directions International (FDI), The Indian Ocean Region – A Framework for Australian Policy Options, Landmark Study Report, Perth, December 2014, p. 88. 67 Ibid. 68 Ibid, pp. 88–90. 69 “Indian, French Forces to Access Each Other’s Naval Facilities in Indian Ocean,” The Wire, 11 March 2018. 70 “France,” IHS Jane’s World Navies 2014–2015, p. 102. 71 Future Directions International, The Indian Ocean Region, p. 90. 72 “France,” p. 102. 73 Ibid. 74 Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs, “India-France Relations,” Media Brief, August 2013. 75 “South Asia: An Overview,” South Asia Monitor, Vol. III, Issue II, January 15, 2016. 76 “India Procurement,” IHS Jane’s Sentinel Security Assessment - South Asia, 14 July 2015. 77 “Scorpene Leak: India Shelves Plan to Expand French Submarine Order after Data Breach,” The Indian Express, 3 September 2016. 78 Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs, “Joint Strategic Vision of India-France Cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region,”10 March 2018, available at https://www.mea.gov.in/bilateral-documents.htm?dtl/29598/Joint +Strategic+Vision+of+IndiaFrance+Cooperation+in+the+Indian+Ocean+ Region+New+Delhi+10+March+2018. 79 Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs, “India and France: Spring Time,” Media Brief, 9 April 2015. 80 Yves-Marie Rault, France & India – Decoding the Strategic Partnership, ­Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies Special Report, No.147, New Delhi, November 2013, p. 23. 81 Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs, “Joint Strategic Vision of India-France Cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region,”10 March 2018, available at https://www.mea.gov.in/bilateral-documents.htm?dtl/29598/Joint +Strategic+Vision+of+IndiaFrance+Cooperation+in+the+Indian+Ocean +Region+New+Delhi+10+March+2018. 82 Central Intelligence Agency, “British Indian Ocean Territories,” The World Factbook, November 2015, available at https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/ the-world-factbook/geos/io.html. 83 “Briefing: MMRCA Cements French Supply Relations with India,” IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, 2 February 2012. 84 “Japan – International Energy Data and Analysis,” U.S. Energy Information Administration, 30 January 2015, p. 1. 85 Kuniko Ashizawa, “Japanese Assistance in Afghanistan: Helping the United States, Acting Globally, and Making a Friend,” Asian Policy, No. 17, January 2014, p. 97. 86 Ibid. 87 Ibid. 88 Library of Congress, “Japan: Article 9 of the Constitution,” available at http:// www.loc.gov/law/help/japan-constitution/article9.php. 89 “Cabinet Decision on Development of Seamless Security Legislation to Ensure Japan’s Survival and Protect its People, July 1, 2014,” available at http://www. cas.go.jp/jp/gaiyou/jimu/pdf/anpohosei_eng.pdf. 90 Axel Berkofsky, “Tokyo’s ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific’: Quality Infrastructure and Defence to the Fore – Analysis,” Eurasia Review, 21 March 2019. 91 S. Jaishankar, “India-Japan Relations after Pokhran II,” March 2000, available at http://www.india-seminar.com/2000/487.html.

192  Maritime security and other powers 92 Ibid. 93 Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs, “India-Japan Relations,” Media Brief, July 2014. 94 “China Blocked Exports of Rare Earth Metals to Japan, Traders Claim,” The Telegraph (UK), 24 September 2010. 95 Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs, “India-Japan Relations,” Media Brief, 14 July 2017. 96 Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs, “Joint Statement on the Occasion of Official Visit of the Prime Minister of Japan to India (January 25–27, 2014),” 25 January 2014, available at http://www.mea.gov.in/bilateral-documents. htm?dtl/22772/Joint+Statement+on+the+occasion+of+Official+Visit+of+the +Prime+Minister+of+Japan+to+India+January+2527+2014.html. 97 Sanjeev Miglani, “India, Japan, U.S. Plan Naval Exercises in Tightening of Ties in Indian Ocean,” Reuters, 22 July 2015. 98 “Malabar 2017: Spectacular End to Naval Drill,” The Hindu, 17 July 2017. 99 Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs, “Q. No. 584 Indo-Japan Ties,” Lok Sabha Question, 26 November 2014, available at http://www.mea. gov.in/lok-sabha.htm?dtl/24340/Q_NO_584_INDOJAPAN_TIES.html. 100 “Why India’s Modi and Japan’s Abe Need Each Other – Badly,” Time ­Magazine, 2 September 2014. 101 Anita Prakash, The Asia–Africa Growth Corridor: Bringing Together Old ­Partnerships and New Initiatives, ORF Issue Brief, New Delhi, 25 April 2018, p. 3. 102 “Japan to Deliver 12 Amphibious Aircraft to Indian Navy,” UPI, 4 January 2016. 103 Monika Chansoria, “Delhi Charts Sovereign Path in Indo-Pacific Region,” Sunday Guardian Live, 7 November 2015. 104 Former Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh, “PM’s Statement at the Joint Press Conference with His Russian Counterpart,” 12 March 2010, available at http://archivepmo.nic.in/drmanmohansingh/speech-details.php?nodeid=870. html. 105 Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs, “India-Russia Relations,” Media Brief, New Delhi, 7 July 2015, pp. 1–4. 106 Ibid. 107 Ibid. 108 Government of India, “India-Russia Relations,” Media Brief, May 2017, p. 3. 109 Government of India, “India-Russia Relations,” Media Brief, 7 July 2015, p. 2. 110 “Moscow Celebrates World War Two Victory Anniversary,” The Telegraph, 10 May 2015. 111 “Russia Moves to Keep Its Position as Top Dog of India’s Defence Market,” IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, 14 October 2010. 112 Ibid. 113 “South Asia 2014–15,” IHS Jane’s Country Risk Assessments, 2015, pp. 38–52. 114 Government of India, “India-Russia Relations,” Media Brief, 7 July 2015, p. 2. 115 Ibid. 116 Ankit Panda, “After China, India Will Become Second Buyer of Advanced Russian S-400 Missile Defense Systems,” The Diplomat, 5 November 2015. 117 “Make in India: Russia Ties Up with Reliance Defence to Manufacture Kamov 226T Choppers,” The Economic Times, 28 August 2015. 118 “India, Russia to Ink $3 Billion Nuclear Submarine Deal This Week,” The Economic Times, 4 March 2018. 119 Laxman K. Behera, “Implications of CAATSA for India’s Defence Relations with Russia and America,” Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses Issue Brief, 26 April 2018, p. 3.

Maritime security and other powers  193 120 Indian Navy, “India – Russia Navy Exercise (INDRA NAVY-14),” available at http://www.indiannavy.nic.in/operations/indra-14.html. 121 “India Left Guessing after Russia Cancels Bilateral Exercises,” IHS Jane’s ­Defence Weekly, 1 June 2011. 122 “Why India Talked Up a U.S. Carrier Deal,” Bloomberg, 4 March 2008. 123 “Indo-Russian ‘Indra’ Exercises Back On,” IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, 8 ­February 2012. 124 “No Major Deals Signed Off in Putin’s Delhi Visit,” IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, 12 December 2014. 125 Gulshan Sachdeva, “India’s Relations with Russia,” in David Scott, ed., Handbook of India’s International Relations, Routledge, London, 2011, pp. 214–220. 126 Ibid. 127 “India to Train Vietnamese Submarine Crew,” IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, 2 December 2013. 128 “Indian Pilot Training Team may Extend Malaysia Stay,” IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, 22 January 2010. 129 “India, Malaysia Strengthen Cooperation in Trade, Security,” Channel News Asia, 23 November 2015. 130 David Brewster,” The Australia–India Security Declaration: The Quadrilateral Redux?” Security Challenges, Vol. 6, No. 1, Autumn 2010, pp. 1–9. 131 Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs, “Framework for Security Cooperation between India and Australia,” 18 November 2014, available at http:// mea.gov.in/bilateral-documents.htm?dtl/24268/Framework_for_­S ecurity_ Cooperation_between_India_and_Australia.html. 132 Ibid. 133 Australian Government, “AUSINDEX 2019 Commences in India,” Department of Defence Media Release, 9 April 2019. 134 “After snubbing Australia on Malabar, India to Send Jets for Air Drill,” The Economic Times, 2 June 2018. 135 Fay Clarke, “United Kingdom: National Involvement in the Indian Ocean ­Region,” Informit.com, No. 147, March 2013, p. 52. 136 “UK Commits ‘Unbroken’ Naval Presence in Asia Pacific,” Philstar Global, 17 August 2018. 137 Claire Mills, Disputes over the British Indian Ocean Territory: A Survey, House of Commons Library Research Paper No. 13/31, 22 May 2013, p. 3. 138 Clarke,” United Kingdom,” p. 54. 139 Jean-Christophe Gay, J. Guébourg, Petites îles et archipels de l’’océan ­indien, Année 2002, Vol. 111, No. 623, p. 97, cited in Lamy Giner, “Accessibility ­Challenges Facing Mauritius and La Reunion,” The International Journal of Research into Island Cultures, Vol. 5, No. 2, 2011, pp. 88–92. 140 “Deal to Send Chagos Islanders Back to Their Tropical Paradise Could be Closer after Cameron and Obama Discussed U.S. Air Base Lease on Diego Garcia over the Weekend,” Mail Online, 11 December 2016. 141 “Chagos Islanders Cannot Return Home, UK Foreign Office Confirms,” The Guardian, 16 November 2016. 142 International Court of Justice, Legal Consequences of the Separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965, 25 February 2019, available at https://www.icj-cij.org/en/case/169.html. 143 Clarke, “United Kingdom,” p. 54. 144 Ibid. 145 Tim Hewish, The Commonwealth’s Call to Duty: Advancing Modern Commonwealth Defence Connections, Commonwealth Exchange, London, 2011, pp. 7–10. 146 Ibid, p. 10.

194  Maritime security and other powers 147 Government of India, Ministry of Defence, Annual Report 2014–15, New Delhi, 2015, p. 165. 148 Krishna Rajan, “India and the United Kingdom,” in Atish Sinha and Madhup Mohta, eds., Indian Foreign Policy: Challenges and Opportunities, Academic Foundation, New Delhi, 2007, p. 755. 149 Shashank Joshi, “Modi in Britain: How Does a Rising India View the U.K.?” RUSI Commentary, 12 November 2015. 150 Jeff M. Smith, “India and the Quad: Weak Link or Keystone,” Australian ­Strategic Policy Institute -The Strategist, 15 January 2019. 151 Ibid. 152 Ibid. 153 Narrated to the author by a former Principal Director of Naval Intelligence, who had called on a Senior PLA Navy officer in 2008 in Beijing. 154 Jeff Smith, “Setting the Record Straight on US-India South China Sea Patrols,” 8 June 2016.

9 Multilateral maritime security cooperation

In pursuit of its overarching maritime strategy to maintain a favourable environment in the Indian Ocean and to counter growing Chinese influence in the region, India has sought to promote close bilateral security relationships with the regional states. India has also endeavoured to foster multilateral maritime security cooperation to tackle the common security threats in the region, with the Indian Navy filling in the gaps in regional capacity wherever required. As the largest regional maritime power, India clearly has a central role in promoting maritime cooperation in the Indian Ocean. Essentially, this is in its own interest as it would enable the entire range of prevalent non-traditional maritime threats to be addressed comprehensively and also provide support and legitimacy to India’s aspirations to be the “net security provider” for the whole region. Manifestly, by promoting maritime cooperation and playing the role of a “net security provider” for the region, India seeks to strengthen its regional influence and counterbalance Chinese maritime power in the Indian Ocean. This chapter looks at India’s role in the various multilateral mechanisms for security cooperation in the Indian Ocean and examines their current status and future prospects. It argues that a lack of cohesion amongst the various sub-regional institutions, coupled with India’s insular ­approach to multilateral maritime security cooperation, which, in turn, has been driven by security concerns over expanding Chinese influence in the ­Indian Ocean region, is hampering regional multilateralism. In the long term, this could be counter-productive for India as it could make its regional leadership untenable and facilitate a greater role for China helped by its naval facility in Djibouti. In the end, the chapter recommends ­various strategic options for India to foster closer collaboration between sub-regional mechanisms in order to strengthen multilateral maritime ­c ooperation, acknowledge legitimate Chinese interests for maritime security in the Indian Ocean, and enable a participatory role for China in regional security.

196  Multilateral maritime security cooperation

Multilateralisation of maritime security in the Indian Ocean Crucial events of the early twenty-first century, such as the terrorist attack in Aden against the USS Cole in 2000 and off Yemen in 2002 against the French tanker Limburg, armed attacks on ships in the Straits of Malacca, and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, were drivers for multilateralisation of maritime security in the Indian Ocean region. India, as the largest maritime power in the region, took the lead in promoting regional maritime security cooperation, playing an instrumental role in fostering multilateralism. A key initiative by India was the formation of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) in 2008, a maritime security construct for the Indian Ocean region along the lines of the Western Pacific Naval Symposium (WPNS). IONS presently includes 24 member states that “permanently hold territory that abuts or lies within the Indian Ocean.” Over the years, IONS has conducted numerous workshops and conferences related to maritime security and issues of common concerns such as humanitarian aid and disaster relief operations, for the navies and other maritime security forces of the region. Even though the IONS has been widely regarded as a successful initiative, as it helped in corralling regional states under one overarching regional ­institution in a relatively short period of time, it now seems to be losing its novelty and could potentially degrade into a “talk shop” forum. This is evident from the fact that most IONS gatherings have centred around similar themes with hardly any innovative ideas to promote maritime security cooperation emerging from the meetings. Some analysts see this as the result of a “tight control” exercised by India. An Australian analyst noted, While the IONS is similar in concept to that of the WPNS, its implementation will be very different … Its continued existence is likely to be entirely dependent on Indian funding and leadership. Potentially this defeats the purpose of a truly cooperative arrangement because India, as a consequence of providing most of the funding, will likely want firm control over IONS activities.1 Another factor that seems to have curbed the evolution of IONS is the fact that its agenda has been limited to non-traditional threats, whilst other more complex issues such as interstate tensions and conflicts in the maritime domain over sovereignty disputes, interpretation of the law of the sea, and the possibility of a naval arms race, being largely outside its purview.2 Some of these issues may be beyond the purview of the Head of navies who represent the various rim states, but for these reasons, the IONS has not been able to evolve into a comprehensive security regime for the Indian Ocean. In addition to creating IONS, India took up the additional challenge of reinvigorating the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), the other regional institution for multilateral cooperation, during its Chairmanship in 2011. The IORA (formerly India Ocean Rim-Association for Regional

Multilateral maritime security cooperation  197 Cooperation or IOR-ARC) was created in March 1997 to enhance economic cooperation amongst the countries of the Indian Ocean rim. IORA membership is open to all sovereign states of the Indian Ocean rim willing to subscribe to the principles and objectives of the Charter, which is firmly committed to the principle of open regionalism, as encouraged by the World Trade Organization (WTO).3 Over the years, membership has expanded and currently includes 21 member states.4 IORA’s six dialogue partners are China, Egypt, France, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The original IORA Charter adopted in 1997 declared that the primary aim of the organisation was to “build and expand understanding and mutually beneficial cooperation through a consensus-based, evolutionary and non-­ intrusive approach.”5 Consequently, in keeping with this spirit, there are no laws, binding contracts, or rigid institutional structures within IORA. The IORA, after an enthusiastic start in 1997, also seems to have quickly lost momentum and stagnated, failing to achieve any substantial gains, economic, or otherwise. Thus, when India took over the chairmanship of IORA, it was expected that as a major maritime power, a founding member, and a rapidly growing economic power, India would re-invigorate the organisation. During its tenure as the chair of IORA from 2011 to 2013, India worked in collaboration with other member states to expand the scope of the organisation and attempted to build consensus on themes of contemporary relevance to all members. Six priority areas were identified to enhance regional cooperation, including, inter alia, maritime safety and security, fisheries, and disaster ­management.6 It was envisaged that individual member states would take leadership roles under each of the priority areas and come up with specific projects that could be sanctioned under the IORA Special Fund. However, no significant large-scale projects have been undertaken so far under this scheme. Although it may be fair to assert that India has a vested interest in keeping itself in the “driver’s seat” in all the multilateral cooperative efforts and also in keeping extra-regional powers, mainly China, out of these regional institutions, it would obviously not want the institutions to languish and fail. A failure of multilateral cooperation would be counter-productive for India and could pave the way for greater unilateral Chinese involvement. China has enormous strategic interests at stake in the Indian Ocean; ­however, as an extra-regional power, it does not qualify for membership in the extant multilateral regional fora. Yet, the PLA Navy has been a significant contributor to the region’s maritime security by engaging in anti-piracy ­patrols off Somalia and other operations since 2009. Clearly, a Chinese naval base at Djibouti could facilitate a larger role for the PLA Navy, effectively diluting India’s role as the primary “net security provider.” It would, therefore, be fair to assume that China’s growing presence, but without a formal role in regional institutions, would weaken maritime security multilateralism. Therefore, it would be in India’s interest to strengthen regional ­multilateral cooperation and formally involve China as a stakeholder in maritime ­security in the Indian Ocean.

198  Multilateral maritime security cooperation The Indian Ocean region, in comparison to the Western Pacific region e­ ncompassing East Asia, appears relatively “less institutionalised”7 and lacks a framework to address security challenges. East Asia has numerous institutions dealing with such issues, including the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the East Asia Summit (EAS), the Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum, and the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) Plus. In contrast, Indian Ocean fora for maritime security cooperation are essentially limited to IORA and IONS. East Asian institutions are also more evolved and range from summit level inter-governmental organisations to informal Track II mechanisms for dialogue such as the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific,8 working in support of official mechanisms. Whilst it could be argued that both the IORA and IONS are relatively young and yet to progress to the level of East Asian institutions or that India has its self-interest in maintaining control over them, clearly there are other challenges that beset the region. A closer look at the sub-regional level reveals that even the Indian Ocean region has several institutions that have worked well within sub-regional ­limits, but because they have developed independent of each other, the r­ egion as a whole has the appearance of a disjointed collection of ­institutions. The main sub-regional organisations or groupings are discussed in the following paragraphs. South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) SAARC is one of the older regional organisations, formed in 1985, and c­ urrently comprises Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the M ­ aldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. The aim of SAARC was to promote the welfare of the people of South Asia through economic, social, and c­ ultural development. In over four decades of existence, although SAARC has made some progress in certain areas such as the formation of a South Asian free trade area (SAFTA), the South Asian University (SAU), and the SAARC development fund (SDF), it has largely been a “complete failure,” as one noted by India’s former External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha.9 ­Manifestly, this is due to the SAARC agenda being dominated by India-­Pakistan ­border tensions, cross-border terrorism, and political mistrust ­between member states that have precluded meaningful regional dialogue. In ­November 2016, following a terrorist attack on Indian troops in Kashmir, the Indian government pulled out of a SAARC summit scheduled in Islamabad. ­Furthermore, based on Prime Minister Modi’s efforts to isolate P ­ akistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Bhutan also declined to participate and it was later ­cancelled. Prime Minister Modi in his SAARC Charter Day ­message of ­December 2016 stated, Our efforts to build regional cooperation have come under serious threat from the rising number of terrorist attacks. These undermine

Multilateral maritime security cooperation  199 peace and security, and disrupt development of the region. It is incumbent on all like-minded people and nations in the region to come together to combat and defeat the scourge of terrorism and its support system … only then we will be able to realize the potential of our region and the aspirations of our people.10 The latest developments raise serious questions about the continued role of  SAARC as a regional organisation. Consequently, it also makes the role of other regional fora more important. Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) This was a lesser-known inter-governmental regional organisation formed in June 1997; however, in recent times, in what appears to be an attempt by India to isolate Pakistan from regional security cooperation initiatives, BIMSTEC has been accorded priority over SAARC. BIMSTEC comprises all the Bay of Bengal littoral states: Bangladesh, ­Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and Thailand, c­ onstituting a c­ ontiguous regional unity or a potential economic bloc. It is essentially a ­s ector-driven cooperative organisation that started with six ­s ectors  – trade, technology, energy, transport, tourism, and fisheries – later e­ xpanding in 2008 to cover others such as counterterrorism and climate change. Since inception until recently, BIMSTEC produced few if any n ­ otable achievements, mainly due to the internal political turmoil and violence that kept member states such as Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, M ­ yanmar, and Thailand internally focused.11 Furthermore, India’s ambitious plans for development of road infrastructure to connect major manufacturing areas in northeastern India with Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Thailand to Vietnam, that could have potentially helped to transform the region, made little progress in over a decade.12 Meanwhile, “as India dithered, China has deepened trans-frontier economic integration with most member states of the BIMSTEC, especially Thailand, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Nepal.”13 Evidently, in order to make up for lost time, the Modi government has accorded greater priority to several infrastructure projects in the northeast states. Recent developments, such as Prime Minister Modi’s decision to invite BIMSTEC leaders to the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) summit at Goa in October 2016 and the firstever military anti-terrorism exercise hosted by the Indian Army in 2018, clearly indicate a renewed focus to re-invigorate BIMSTEC. On balance, given India’s interest to promote BIMSTEC over SAARC and based on its close security relationships with most of the member states, it is likely that closer economic collaboration within the sub-region could provide greater impetus to Indian-led maritime cooperation but limited to the Bay of Bengal region.

200  Multilateral maritime security cooperation Malacca strait security initiative In 2004, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia initiated the Malsindo-­ coordinated patrols to tackle the surge in armed attacks on ships in the region. There were initial concerns that the patrols would fail for want of adequate regional capacity, particularly because Malaysia and Indonesia steadfastly refused direct naval assistance from external powers. However, these concerns have proved unfounded as the littoral states did accept materiel support, training, and funding from user states and stakeholders, such as Australia, China, India, Japan, and the United States, to augment their efforts.14 The Malsindo patrols have been largely successful, evolving into a comprehensive framework for maritime security at the sub-regional level. The success of Malsindo is evident from the fact that the region has remained below the Lloyd’s threshold of high-risk areas since mid-2006, when it was officially declared “war risk” free. Broadly, the Malacca Strait security initiative now includes the coordinated patrols limited exclusively to participation by the littoral states and the Cooperative Mechanism for Safety of Navigation and Environmental Protection in the Straits of ­Malacca and Singapore (Cooperative Mechanism) framed in collaboration with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) as a common forum for all stakeholders. The success of the Malacca Strait security ­initiative could be attributed to this inclusive approach from the initial stages that took into consideration the security requirements of all stakeholders, ­including not just the other major states but also the shipping industry. This is an ­approach that could be emulated by India to involve not just China but also all other stakeholders in Indian Ocean maritime security. Southern African Development Community (SADC) The SADC is a lesser-known but important sub-regional organisation formed in 1980 under the leadership of South Africa. It comprises 14 ­A frican states.15 The SADC states have signed a mutual defence pact that includes maritime security and which seeks to synergise limited sub-regional naval capacity to tackle piracy and other maritime contingencies.16 Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Another important sub-regional security mechanism is the GCC, comprising six Persian Gulf states.17 Under the GCC, maritime security is dealt under the “joint GCC defence pact of 2000” and includes regular combined naval and air exercises. Since 2009, the GCC navies have also coordinated their efforts with the multinational forces in the region, mainly around the Gulf of Aden and the Persian Gulf, to prevent attacks on their oil production and transportation infrastructure.18

Multilateral maritime security cooperation  201 Others A few other sub-regional institutions discussed earlier include periodic ­multinational combined naval exercises aimed at capacity building, notably the Milan hosted by the Indian Navy, Aman hosted by the Pakistan Navy, and the Kakadu series hosted by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). The Djibouti Code of Conduct that came onto force in January 2009 to promote anti-piracy cooperation in the Gulf of Aden region is also a key regional institution comprising 20 countries, including all east African states and the Arabian Peninsula. On balance, although the Indian Ocean region may not have the “alphabet soup” of multilateral institutions as is the case in the Western Pacific, it does have many sub-regional institutions that have “emerged” in response to specific maritime threats of the area. These institutions have generally remained insulated from each other precluding development of a regional regime for maritime security. The reason for the lack of integration can be attributed to the intra-regional fault lines that lie within the Indian Ocean region, which is fractured into various sub-groups such as Southwest Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Africa. As noted by an Indian scholar, Peculiar characteristics, issues and nature of internal dynamics of these [Indian Ocean] sub-groups, which are at great variance with each other, tend to dilute any holistic attempt at formulation of a unified maritime agenda. Furthermore, some states within the above-mentioned subgroups, for example, India and its immediate western neighbour, which are consigned to a tenuous long-term relationship, render most of the cooperative concepts as non-starters. Strained Arab-Israel relations on one hand, and the Iran-Saudi Arabia equation on the other, also follow a similar ‘exclusive’ pattern.19

Strategic options for India to promote multilateral security cooperation Regional integration and synergised naval capability in the Indian Ocean are potentially ways forward to ensure effective regional maritime security, and this is an area where India as the “driver” of IONS and IORA could play a major role. The various strategic options for India are discussed in the following section. An Indian Ocean Assembly of states A key difference between East Asian multilateral institutions and those of the Indian Ocean region is the lack of direct higher-level political leadership in the latter. As noted by Sam Bateman, “IONS lacks the political top cover

202  Multilateral maritime security cooperation that notionally is provided for the WPNS through APEC and the ARF.”20 IONS is a gathering of the heads of navies and coast guards, whilst IORA is largely a gathering of diplomats. Thus, even though there exists enormous scope and potential for promoting close multilateral cooperation between IORA and IONS, particularly with the inclusion of “maritime safety and security” into the IORA agenda – which makes it a common aim for both – the two main regional institutions seem to be functioning independently. A  close and institutionalised working arrangement would provide significant impetus to maritime security in the Indian Ocean region and could lead to greater synergy of naval efforts. Some work in this direction seems to have been initiated by IORA, evidenced from the Perth Communique issued in November 2013, which stated, All IORA Member States have a stake as invited participants in the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS). We consider it important that IORA’s work on maritime security and safety and disaster management align with and complement possible IONS initiatives in these areas, ­including in information sharing and other activities with both civilian and non-civilian dimensions.21 This message has been repeated subsequently in the Padang Communique of 2015, which stated, We reaffirm our commitment to develop a seamlessly and comprehensively connect and integrate Indian Ocean Region toward sustainable and balanced economic growth as articulated in our ‘IORA Maritime Cooperation Declaration’.22 Notwithstanding the various declarations, not much seems to have progressed in practice. An overarching summit level forum or an “Indian Ocean Assembly,” bringing together Heads of State from the Indian Ocean region, mooted by Sri Lanka’s President Wickremesinghe in September 201623 could provide the much-needed political “top cover” to IORA and IONS. This could be ­facilitated by India working in collaboration with other leading regional partners, such as Australia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa. Developing a regional Track II forum Another area where East Asia scores over the Indian Ocean region is in the field of “thought leadership” provided by a lively Track II mechanism. Such institutions including think tanks, by virtue of being unconstrained by limitations of formal constructs, are able to influence and promote sound policy development. This was also an idea originally proposed by Admiral Arun Prakash, former Chief of the Indian Navy, during the inaugural IONS conclave in 2008.24 The Galle Dialogue, initiated by Sri Lanka in 2011, is seen as

Multilateral maritime security cooperation  203 a credible forum for discussion of maritime security – the 2018 Dialogue was attended by senior government officials from about 36 countries and representatives from inter-governmental organisations such as the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHCR), UNODC, ReCAAP, and the European Union and international maritime experts.25 It is expected that such events could help foster closer cooperation within the region and further policy development on similar lines as the Shangri-La Dialogue hosted annually by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in Singapore. The Shangri-La Dialogue is best known for the high-profile delegates including Prime Minister Modi who formally ­announced India’s vision for the Indo-Pacific at the event in 2018. It is thus important that the ongoing Galle Dialogue needs to be similarly ­patronised by India in order to build a credible Track II forum for the ­Indian Ocean region. Collaboration with the maritime industry A key stakeholder in maritime security is the shipping sector. Yet, both IONS and IORA currently do not have any institutionalised interaction with the maritime industry. Over the past few years, mainly as a result of the Somali experience, the shipping industry has come a long way in terms of security and is no longer as vulnerable as it was in the early years of the twenty-first century, having conveniently outsourced the business of security – as it does with other functions – to private security companies. Meanwhile, the private security industry has also evolved with the mushrooming of several security companies, providing a range of services from barbed wire fencing to armed guards and even armed patrol boats for escorting ships through dangerous waters.26 However, this raises the question of whether navies and other maritime security agencies in the Indian Ocean are prepared for, or acting consistently with, these changes in the shipping industry. Apparently not, as IONS does not seem to have initiated any interaction with industry. The CEO of a leading international private security company speaking on the role of regional navies has complained that a lack of regional cooperation created a plethora of legal and jurisdictional requirements for the security industry and that there was a general lack of acceptance that public-private partnerships were the key to policing the maritime domain.27 In the absence of a formal dialogue between the navies of the Indian Ocean and the maritime industry, several key issues such as the formulation of uniform rules of engagement for armed guards and guidelines for floating armouries operating on the high seas, a common reporting system for incidents at sea and demarcation of high-risk areas for insurance purposes, remain a grey area in maritime security. A lack of coordination is evident from a case in India involving the U.S. ship, MV Seaman Guard Ohio, arrested by Indian authorities in October 2013 along with six crew members. The Indian Coast Guard alleged that they intercepted the ship as it was

204  Multilateral maritime security cooperation illegally carrying arms in Indian waters, whilst the ship’s owners, AdvanFort, claim Indian port authorities allowed the vessel to enter port under distress.28 With the fate of the ship undecided, the hapless crew remained in detention in India until 2017.29 Such situations could be easily avoided by closer collaboration between navies and coast guards and the maritime industry under the aegis of IONS. Given the security scenario in the Indian Ocean, it would be fair to assume that private security companies, including maritime security firms, are here to stay. Hence, there is a need to establish a proper mechanism for tracking movements of such vessels and armed guards across the entire region, under a common arrangement. A Cooperative Mechanism for the Indian Ocean In early 2000s, a surge in armed attacks on ships transiting the Malacca and Singapore Strait raised concerns about the capacity of regional states to manage the crisis with several stakeholders hankering to provide assistance, much to the consternation of the littoral states. Extra-regional states including Australia, the United States, and India had evinced interest in conducting security patrols in the region; however, the littoral states were averse to extra-regional participation in security patrols, although they welcomed material support. The predicament for the regional states was in bringing together multiple interest groups and stakeholders under one common mechanism to improve maritime safety and security in the straits. This problem was settled in 2007, by the creation of the “cooperative mechanism on safety of navigation and environment protection in the straits of Malacca and Singapore,” or Cooperative Mechanism, that reconciled the disparate interests of various stakeholders, including extra-regional user states such as Australia, China, India, and Japan, and the maritime industry. The Cooperative Mechanism was facilitated by the IMO and included various projects aimed at promoting navigational safety, ship security, and environmental protection in the Malacca and Singapore Straits.30 The creation of the Cooperative Mechanism was a key event for the international maritime community as it put into operation, for the first time, “the spirit and intent of Article 43 of the United Nations Law of the Sea Convention (UNCLOS).”31 Article 43 encourages user states and states bordering a strait used for international navigation to cooperate in the establishment and maintenance of navigational and safety aids and work towards prevention, reduction, and control of pollution from ships.32 Over the years, the Cooperative Mechanism, closely monitored and controlled by a Tripartite Technical Experts Group (TTEG) jointly led by Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia, has emerged as the main platform for the littoral states, international user states, and other stakeholders including the shipping industry to engage with the regional states and contribute towards improving maritime safety and security in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore.

Multilateral maritime security cooperation  205 The success of the Cooperative Mechanism lies in the fact that it brought together various stakeholders onto a common platform where they could voice their apprehensions or views on various aspects of maritime safety and security and also contribute in terms of funding and other support. At the same time, it permitted the littoral states to maintain effective control and strategic autonomy in affairs of the straits. The Cooperative Mechanism is worthy of emulation in the Indian Ocean, and a similar initiative led by India in close collaboration with the maritime agencies of other prominent Indian Ocean states potentially could be considered under the aegis of IORA or an “Indian Ocean Assembly” as proposed above. States could be brought together into one group mimicking the TTEG, to oversee all aspects of information sharing involving extra-­regional partners and other stakeholders. And, an Indian Ocean Cooperative Forum comprising all relevant Indian Ocean maritime security partners, such as the United States, China, and Japan, and the shipping industry, could serve as the platform for discussions on issues of common interest as well as exchange of information. Significantly, the shipping industry working in close collaboration with the private maritime security industry is a key stakeholder in the maritime security of the Indian Ocean region. Yet, in the absence of a formal dialogue between the navies of the Indian Ocean and the maritime industry, several key issues, such as the formulation of uniform rules of engagement for armed guards and guidelines for floating armouries operating on the high seas, a common reporting system for incidents at sea, and demarcation of ­h igh-risk areas for insurance purposes, remain a grey area in maritime security. A C ­ ooperative Mechanism in the Indian Ocean could bring together various disparate interest groups and help promote multilateral security cooperation. Cooperation with China Based on the role of the PLA Navy in regional maritime security, it would be prudent for India to clearly acknowledge China’s strategic interests in the Indian Ocean and signal an intent to China for building an inclusive cooperative framework. This is also in line with the Indian government’s objective to promote close defence cooperation with China. According to a parliament committee study report, released by the government of India, on the subject of India-China relations, the committee recommended, The Committee are of the considered opinion that defence cooperation is an effective way of ushering mutual trust and confidence between any two countries. Now that the Chinese side has indicated its willingness to resume these exchanges in 2018, the Committee urge the Government of India to take initiative and send their proposals for resuming Defence Exchanges to China, without waiting for proposals from their side. An early resumption of defence cooperation will be in the long term interest of our bilateral ties with China.33

206  Multilateral maritime security cooperation The first step towards dialogue with China was initiated by India in the form of the “Maritime Affairs Dialogue” held in New Delhi in February 2016. This was a seminal event, and the first meeting has been regarded as an “icebreaker” and symbolic rather than substantive.34 The second dialogue postDoklam, in 2018, was an effort to return bilateral relations to normalcy and included discussions on “maritime security and cooperation, blue economy, and further strengthening of practical cooperation.” Moving forward, the India-China maritime dialogue could emerge as a key forum for progressing scope for an Indian Ocean Cooperative Mechanism, described above.

Conclusion Combating twenty-first–century maritime threats and challenges in the Indian Ocean is beyond the capacity of any one country; hence, a multilateral approach is the way ahead. This has led to the emergence of several cooperative fora at both regional and sub-regional levels. As the major Indian Ocean maritime power, India has played an important role in helping to build IORA and IONS, the two main key institutions for multilateral maritime cooperation. However, as discussed, India’s desire to retain “control” over these regional institutions, coupled with the lack of institutional integration and synergy of regional naval resources, seems to hinder progress in multilateral maritime cooperation. Thus, whilst the region has all the ingredients for fostering multilateral maritime cooperation, a region-wide institution is yet to evolve. Clearly, the onus for progressing regional cooperation remains with India, as a failure of multilateralism in the region could pave the way for extra-regional powers, including China, to play a larger role in regional affairs. It is also likely that the India-China rivalry could divide the Indian Ocean region and eventually weaken overall multilateral efforts. Therefore, India must explore opportunities to connect regional and sub-regional initiatives and engage with China and other stakeholders to create a Cooperative Mechanism for the Indian Ocean. By facilitating participation by all stakeholders including China in the regional maritime security under a structured mechanism, India could better manage China’s claims or concerns about maritime security yet maintain sufficient control in the maritime affairs of the region. This could eventually strengthen multilateral maritime security cooperation in the Indian Ocean region and even serve as a confidence building measure to improve overall relations between India and China.

Notes 1 Sam Bateman, “The Indian Ocean Naval Symposium – Will the Navies of the Indian Ocean Region Unite?” S. Rajaratnam School for International Studies Commentary No. 35/2008, 17 March 2008 cited in C. Raja Mohan, Samudra Manthan: Sino-Indian Rivalry in the Indo-Pacific, Brookings Institute Press, Washington D.C., 2012, p. 225.

Multilateral maritime security cooperation  207 2 Sam Bateman, “India and Regional Maritime Security,” in Anit Mukherjee and Raja Mohan, eds., India’s Naval Strategy and Asian Security, Routledge, ­London, 2016, pp. 216–217. 3 The Indian Ocean Rim Association, “The IORA Charter,” March 1997, a­ vailable at http://www.iora.net/charter.aspx.html. 4 Current members include Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, India, ­Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, the ­Seychelles, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, UAE, and Yemen. 5 The Indian Ocean Rim Association, “The IORA Charter,” March 1997. 6 Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs, “The IOR-ARC,” Media Brief, March 2013. 7 Bateman, “India and Regional Maritime Security,”, pp. 216–217. 8 Ibid. 9 Yashwant Sinha, “The SAARC Experiment Has Failed,” The Economic Times, 27 June 2010. 10 South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, “SAARC Charter Day ­message by Indian Prime Minister,” December 2016, available at http://­saarc-sec .org/digital_library.html. 11 David Brewster, “The Bay of Bengal: A New Locus for Strategic Competition in Asia,” Asia Pacific Bulletin, 15 May 2014, p. 1. 12 Brewster, “The Bay of Bengal: A New Locus for Strategic Competition in Asia,” p. 1. 13 Raja Mohan, “Losing the Bay of Bengal,” The Indian Express, 4 March 2014. 14 Sam Bateman, Catherine Zara Raymond and Joshua Ho, Safety and ­Security in the Malacca and Singapore Straits: An Agenda for Action, Institute of ­Defence and Strategic Studies Policy Paper, Nanyang Technological University, ­Singapore, May 2006, p. 12. 15 Member states include Angola, Botswana, Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, ­Malawi, The Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, the Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. 16 South African Development Community, SADC Mutual Defence Pact, ­Gaborone, June 1996. 17 Gulf Cooperation Council member include Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. 18 Kamlesh K. Agnihotri, “Leveraging Maritime Capacities in the Indian Ocean towards Wholesome Cooperation: A Prescription for Win-Win Outcomes,” Journal of Defence Studies, Vol. 10, No. 1, January–March 2016, p. 78. 19 Agnihotri, “Leveraging Maritime Capacities in the Indian Ocean,” p. 83. 20 Bateman, “The Indian Ocean Naval Symposium – Will the Navies of the Indian Ocean Region Unite?” p. 225. 21 Indian Ocean Rim Association Council of Ministers, “13th Meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Indian Ocean Rim Association Perth Communiqué,” 1 November 2013, p. 1. 22 Indian Ocean Rim Association Council of Ministers, “The 15th Indian Ocean Rim Association Meeting of the Council of Ministers Padang Communique,” 23 October 2015, p. 1. 23 Sri Lanka Prime Minister’s Office, “Global Power Transition and the Indian Ocean: Inaugural Address by Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe Prime Minister of Sri Lanka at the Indian Ocean Conference on 1st September 2016 at Shangri La Hotel, Singapore,” available at http://www.pmoffice.gov.lk/download/press/ D00000000050_EN.pdf?p=7.html. 24 Arun Prakash, “Commonality of Maritime Challenges and Options for a ­Cooperative IOR Maritime Security Structure,” in Ravi Vohra, P.K. Ghosh

208  Multilateral maritime security cooperation

25 26 27 28 29 30

31 32

33 34

and Devbrat Chakraborty, eds., Contemporary Transnational Challenges: International Maritime Connectivities, National Maritime Foundation, New Delhi, 2009, pp. 188–189. Galle Dialogue 2015, “Secure Seas through Greater Maritime Cooperation Challenges and Way Forward,” 12 December 2016, available at http://galledialogue.lk/ index.php?id=1.html. “Repelling Pirate Attacks: The Measures to Protect a Ship,” The Telegraph, 10 February 2014. “Global Threats to Maritime Industry are Far from Eradicated,” Homeland ­Security Today, 22 September 2015. “MV Seaman Guard Ohio Crew ‘Must be Allowed Home,’” BBC News, 11 March 2015. “Madras HC Acquits 35 Crew Members of Anti-Piracy Ship MV Seaman Guard Ohio.” Live Law, 4 December 2017. International Maritime Organisation (IMO), “Milestone Agreement Reached on Co-operation over the Straits of Malacca and Singapore,” Briefing No. 29/2007, 18 September 2007, available at http://www.imo.org/Newsroom/mainframe .asp?topic_id=1472&doc_id=8471.html. “Establishment of the Cooperative Mechanism,” 1 August 2017, available at http://www.cm-soms.com/index.php?p=td&id=6.html. United Nations Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, United ­Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, 10 December 1982, Article 43 ­“Navigational and safety aids and other improvements and the prevention, ­reduction and ­control of pollution.” Ministry of External Affairs, Sino-India Relations Including Doklam, B ­ order Situation and Cooperation in International Organizations, 16th Lok Sabha ­Committee of External Affairs 2017–18, September 2018, p. 7. Gurpreet Khurana, “First China-India Maritime Dialogue: Beyond Icebreaking,” National Maritime Foundation Commentary, 23 February 2016.

10 India’s leadership in the Indian Ocean

Over the past few decades, India has emerged as a significant global e­ conomic and maritime power. India of the twenty-first century aspires to regain its historical status as the pre-eminent power in the Indian Ocean and has thus made a determined bid for leadership as the region’s “net security provider.” Meanwhile, China as a rising global power has similar ambitions in seeking to secure its strategic interests in the region. Over the years, India’s relations with China have been dominated by a long outstanding land border dispute and have vacillated between hostility and a “superficial” rapprochement and readjustment. A balance of power has been tenuously maintained by India’s geostrategic advantage in the Indian Ocean. The chance of a conflict erupting between the two powers, as predicted by several analysts, is high and could unfold in the maritime domain. However, a conflict could also be avoided or deferred for a long time, if India is successful in maintaining its geostrategic advantage in the Indian Ocean region backed by adequate force levels. In recent years, India’s policy for dealing with China’s in the Indian Ocean region has coalesced into a whole-of-the-government approach. A national vision for the Indian Ocean region announced by Prime Minister Modi in 2015 as ensuring “Security and Growth for All in the Region” (SAGAR, or Ocean in Hindi) has been the basis for the Indian Navy’s maritime strategy to emerge as the region’s “net security provider.” India’s maritime strategy seeks to establish a “favourable environment” in the Indian Ocean through a network of security relationships with the region states to counter balance expanding Chinese influence and provide benign leadership in tackling the common maritime challenges of the region. The United States sees India as a reliable partner, if not an ally, in the Indo-Pacific. India’s aspirations to be the regional net security provider ­converge with larger American strategic interests, and India has skilfully leveraged its relations to rapidly modernise its navy to fulfill its role in the Indian Ocean region. Additionally, New Delhi has successfully established close strategic partnerships with Russia, France, Israel, and the United Kingdom, in order to acquire state-of-the-art defence technologies and build up its own military industrial complex. It is expected that these

210  India’s leadership in the Indian Ocean partnerships will greatly enhance India’s military capability and credibility as a net ­security provider for the region. At the same time, in what ­appears to be a hedging strategy, India has established close security ties with ­Japan, seen as an “enemy of the enemy” and also put its “foot in the door” in the Western Pacific region by promoting a strategic relationship with both J­ apan and Vietnam. These developments are characteristic of security ­pluralism which has shaped the new global security order in the post-Cold War era. India growing maritime security cooperation with the United States, ­Japan, and Australia is a clear attempt at alliance building to counter China in a balance of power strategy. However, India has taken care not to ­formally acknowledge a strategic “quadrilateral arrangement.” Yet, over the years, India’s maritime security cooperation with the United States, ­Japan, and Australia has unmistakably evolved to a level that seems to deter China from overtly pressurising India across its land border or in the Indian Ocean. Furthermore, China, in a tacit acknowledgement of India’s extant geostrategic advantage and formidable naval power, is conscious of its ­v ulnerability in the Indian Ocean region, manifested in China’s ­“Malacca dilemma.” Evidently, in recent times, China has also realised the limits of its economic and political authority in strategic locations, such as Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Mauritius, and the Seychelles, where India exercises considerable political clout. China’s recent attempts to gain influence, particularly in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, were relatively short-lived and India’s leadership prevailed. Similarly, India has stepped up its diplomatic efforts in other countries, specifically Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Indonesia, to counter Chinese influence and establish closer strategic ties. However, based on the recent Sino-India border tensions over Doklam and China’s support for Pakistan, particularly post-Balakot surgical strikes by India, it is unlikely that China will desist from following its containment strategy directed at India. On the contrary, China’s resolve to challenge ­India’s leadership in the Indian Ocean seems to have strengthened. What then are the prospects for India’s regional leadership in the face of expanding Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean region? China’s massive trade and investments under the belt and road initiative in West Asia and Africa have resulted in significant political and economic influence. Here, India’s benign leadership in the face of persuasive Chinese economic power appears to be failing. China already enjoys almost complete political and economic control in Pakistan and major influence in East African states, specifically Comoros, Eritrea, Tanzania, and Djibouti. In less than a decade since 2009, when the PLA Navy first entered the Indian Ocean, China commissioned a full-fledged and fortified naval base at Djibouti in 2017, with additional facilities likely to come up in other African states. Clearly, China’s assertive projection of maritime power compared to India’s benign approach has accorded China a “quick win,” and it is expected that China will work towards consolidating its position in the wider region.

India’s leadership in the Indian Ocean  211 For several years, India’s political leadership seemed reticent in exercising maritime power. This was attributed to “sea blindness” and manifested in a general disregard not only for the Indian Ocean states but also India’s own island territories, notably the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the Lakshadweep and Minicoy Islands. Outlying islands bases are key focal points to project maritime power and India seems to have dithered in establishing naval bases in the Indian Ocean region. As discussed earlier in this book, pacifist thinking of the past seems to have curtailed efforts to build up military presence in the Andamans and the Lakshadweep Islands based on misplaced concerns of antogonising the neighbouring states. Similarly, India seems to have lost opportunities to convert political and diplomatic successes in the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, and the Seychelles, where India has intervened militarily in the recent past, to establish long-term naval presence. Although this stance is gradually changing, India seems to have retained strategic control in its core sphere of influence in South Asia, specifically in Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Bangladesh, and Myanmar, where ­India’s security engagements in recent times have expanded. However, ­India’s influence in several parts of the region appears to have diminished. Urgent measures under the Modi government to refocus the country’s attention towards the Indian Ocean region are seen as attempts to limit India’s loss of influence to China and reverse some of the earlier deficiencies. I­ ndia’s “Act East” policy seems to have yielded the desired effect, and strategic relations with South East Asian states have progressed further under the Modi government, particularly with Indonesia, a potential regional partner to counter China. Here, India must endeavour to boost its security relationship to benefit from Indonesia’s strategic location across the Indo-Pacific region. In West Asia, India is presented with an unprecedented opportunity to improve overall relations, particularly with the Gulf Arab states particularly the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and proactive efforts could help to counter balance growing Chinese economic and political authority in the region. In East African, an area which was long seen to lie on the fringes of India’s strategic interest, leading to a general neglect of historic ties, India appears to have ceded influence to China and, consequently, Chinese economic and political influence overshadows India’s relations in this region. Further, the Chinese position in Africa has been strengthened by the new PLA Navy base at Djibouti. However, India could seek to counter China by establishing its own base at the Seychelles or Mauritius. It is clear that Chinese strategic interests in the Indian Ocean region would eventually lead to its deeper involvement in regional security dynamics, and China’s economic power could help it to dominate certain key ­regional states. Although it is currently difficult to prognosticate which states would choose to align with China over India, the process of division of the region into India and China-led groups seems to have begun. A parliamentary study report commenting on the inroads made by China in India’s neighbourhood noted,

212  India’s leadership in the Indian Ocean It is clear that we now have to contend with the possibility of some of the countries in our neighborhood playing the China card as leverage in their relations with us.1 The above implies that regional states are likely to place greater demands on India in its role as the net security provider and that any failure on ­India’s part to live up to the expectations of the smaller and more vulnerable ­regional states as they prepare to grapple with twenty-first–century m ­ aritime challenges could have adverse implications for India, pushing some states closer to China. With the operationalisation of the PLA naval base at ­Djibouti in terms of basing of manpower and ships, China could pose a clear challenge to India as the primary net security provider for the region. A regional base will help the PLA Navy to expand its footprint in the Indian Ocean and future deployments of PLA Navy carrier battle groups, submarines, and other ships appears inevitable. Thus, on balance, China seems poised to play a larger role in the region as a security provider, potentially neutralising India’s geostrategic advantage in the Indian Ocean region and displacing India as the primary net security provider. As Chinese maritime power in the Indian Ocean region expands, the threat of China altering the extant balance of power in its own favour looms large. What are possible strategic options for India? India’s maritime ­strategy is greatly dependent on bilateral relationships with the various r­ egional states that could change over time. This could be a significant drawback since national strategy is about leveraging own resources rather than depending on external support. Furthermore, the weakest link in India’s maritime strategy is the Andamans and the Lakshadweep Islands, whose strategic potential is yet to be fully realised. By failing to develop these islands as a full-fledged operational command rather than far-flung outposts, India has failed to ­leverage their geostrategic potential. India’s decision to develop a new base close to an earlier one at Mumbai, conceived 35 years ago, is a glaring example of strategic short-sightedness. What is the strategic impact of a new base close to an existing facility? Looking ahead in the coming years, India may have to reconcile to a permanent Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean that could effectively neutralise its own geographic advantages. Thus, for India strengthening of its islands bases at the Andamans and the Lakshadweep and boosting current diplomatic efforts to establish new naval bases in the Seychelles, Mauritius, and/ or other locations in the region, is of paramount importance. By maintaining a network of naval bases covering the Indian Ocean and upgrading the Andamans and the Lakshadweep Islands, India can hope to out-manoeuvre China in the Indian Ocean. India must concurrently endeavour to strengthen maritime multilateralism in the Indian Ocean region and work towards closer integration of ­extant institutions. One of the key reasons for the failure of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) and the Indian Ocean Rim Association

India’s leadership in the Indian Ocean  213 (IORA) to emerge as all-inclusive frameworks could be attributed to India’s efforts to take complete “ownership” of these fora. Evidently, India has sought to keep itself in the “drivers seat” of the various multilateral regional security initiatives by keeping out China. This approach could potentially stymie growth of maritime multilateralism. India must work towards creation of an “Indian Ocean Assembly” – as mooted by Sri Lanka – involving the regional heads of states. An “India Ocean Assembly” could facilitate greater synergy of effort and maritime capabilities in the region and provide a much-needed high-level political cover for maritime security cooperation. In the long term, it could even evolve into a comprehensive maritime security framework for the Indian Ocean region. Furthermore, India could help to develop a Track II forum to provide guidance and support to regional institutions and drive policy formulation. India must also acknowledge that there are other stakeholders that have genuine interests and associated security concerns in the Indian Ocean ­region. Rather than keeping China out of the multilateral fora, India could rather initiate a dialogue with China to involve it in the regional multilateralism and work towards creation of a Cooperative Mechanism for the ­Indian Ocean region that facilitates active participation by all user states and other non-state stakeholders such as the shipping industry in a public-private partnership. This could be modelled on the Cooperative ­Mechanism in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore and directly controlled by the proposed “Indian Ocean Assembly” to ensure complete regional control. By adopting such an approach, India could continue to retain its influence and position in the regional fora whilst at the same time fostering greater multilateralism and, most importantly, building confidence with China. As regard I­ ndia’s concerns of maintaining a maritime strategic balance of power with China, strengthening its Andamans force posture alone could provide the necessary “bulwark” against any future possibility of confrontation with China in the Indian Ocean and should be accorded the highest priority by the ­Indian government. The effectiveness of India’s maritime strategy will ultimately be measured by its success in ensuring national security and contributing to the maintenance of a balance of power with China. By strengthening the Andamans posture and establishing overseas Indian naval bases in the region, India could fully exploit its geostrategic advantage to “checkmate” China in the Indian Ocean, and by involving China in a cooperative role, India could build trust and confidence. Together, these twin strands of policy could ­i mprove regional stability and security for all in the Indian Ocean.

Note 1 Ministry of External Affairs, Sino-India Relations Including Doklam, Border Situation and Cooperation in International Organizations, 16th Lok Sabha Committee of External Affairs 2017–18, September 2018, p. 9.

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226 Bibliography Mitsui OSK Line http://www.mol.co.jp/en/pr Naval Technology http://www.naval-technology.com NDTV Online http://www.ndtv.com Pakistan Navy http://aman.paknavy.gov.pk Peoples Republic of China (Min Foreign Affairs) http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng Press Information Bureau, India http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease Reuters http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation http://www.saarc-sec.org Southern African Development Community http://www.sadc.int Splash (maritime news) http://splash247.com Sri Lanka Prime Minister’s Office http://www.pmoffice.gov.lk Suez Canal Authority http://www.suezcanal.gov.eg TASS, Russian News Agency http://tass.com/defense Tesfanews, Eritrea https://www.tesfanews.net/ The Hindu http://www.hinduonnet.com The Indian Express http://www.indian-express.com The Straits Times http://straitstimes.com.asia1.com.sg The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com The Washington Post http://www.washingtonpost.com The Washington Times http://www.washtimes.com U.S. Energy Information Administration https://www.eia.gov UK Ministry of Defence https://www.gov.uk United States Department of Defense http://www.defenselink.mil UPI News Service http://www.upi.com/Defense-News Xinhuanet http://www.xinhua.com/engli

Index

Note: Bold page numbers refer to tables; italic page numbers refer to figures and page number followed by ‘n’ denote endnotes. AAGC see Asia-Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC) Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud (King of Saudi Arabia) 105, 106 Abe, Shinzo 177, 179, 180, 187 Acharya, Amitav 71 “Act East Forum” 177–8 “Act East” policy 42, 142, 159, 168–9, 211 ADMM+ see ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM+) advanced level cooperation 75–6 African Standby Force (ASF) 135 African Union Mission for Somalia (AMISOM) 122 Africa’s Integrated Maritime (AIM) Strategy 117 Air Asia Flight QZ8501 19 aircraft carriers 17; see also specific types air-independent propulsion (AIP) 82 Air India 53 Akihito (Japanese Emperor) 179 Akula-class nuclear attack submarine 182 alliance/treaty 63–4 Alondra Rainbow 54, 178 Al-Qaeda 23, 96, 122, 123 Al-Udeid 104 Aman 145, 146, 201 American Chinook 183 Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) 157–9 Andaman and Nicobar Islands 157–9, 211 anti-piracy patrols 19, 54, 62, 65, 75, 90, 102, 103, 108, 110, 111, 121, 127, 128, 131, 137, 165, 174, 177, 186, 197, 201

Anti-Ship Ballistic Missiles (ASBMs) 16 ANZUS Treaty 65 Apache AH-64E helicopters 183 Arms and Influence (Schelling) 33 Arms Export Control Act 167 ASEAN-China relations 143 ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM+) 63, 142, 198 ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) 198, 202 Asia-Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC) 87, 178, 179 Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) 18, 145 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 198 Asia-Pacific Maritime Security Strategy 159, 168–9 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) 35, 38, 40, 41, 154, 158–60 Ausindex 184 Australia 2, 4, 25, 65, 183–5 Azhar, Masood 12 Azmat-class missile fast attack craft 82 Bab el-Mandeb Strait 5 Bagamoyo project 125 Bahrain 96–8 balance of power theory 63–4 Bangladesh 83–5 Barracuda 42, 128 Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) 172 Bay of Bengal Initiative for MultiSectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) 149, 199 BeiDou Satellite Navigation System 82

228 Index belt and road initiative (BRI) 13, 14, 18–20, 44, 84, 97, 99, 100, 103, 111, 118, 127, 129, 136, 145, 177 Bersama Lima 66 Bhaskar, Uday 31 Bilal, Mohammed Gharib 124 bilateral cooperation 62–3, 148, 154 Booth, Ken 56 Bose, Netaji Subhash Chandra 32 BrahMos anti-ship missile 156, 181 Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) 133–4 Breedlove, Philip 64 BRI see belt and road initiative (BRI) British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) 35, 176 Brunei 147–8 Brunei Darussalam International Defence Exhibition & Conference (BRIDEX) 148 Buzan, Barry 80, 151 Cambodia 153–4 Cape of Good Hope 9 carrier-based aircraft 17 “Carter Initiative” 168 Catapult Assisted Takeoff But Arrested Recovery (CATOBAR) 17 The Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) 33, 45n9, 49 Centre national d’etudes spatiales (CNES) 176 Centrixs (Combined Enterprise Regional Information Exchange System) 170 Chabahar project 98 Chagos archipelago 176, 185 Chakra 52 Changxing Dao 19, 90 Charles de Gaulle 174, 175 Chatterji, A. K. 50 Chellaney, Brahma 32–3 CH-4 hunter-killer drones 106–7 China 1–2, 7, 11–13; in Africa 118; with Bahrain 97–8; Bangladesh and 84; Brunei with 148; with Comoros 126; defence cooperation 82; with Eritrea 120; with Indonesia 145; with Iran 99; Iraq with 100; with Israel 101; with Kenya 123–4; with Kuwait 102; with Madagascar 127; Malaysia and 147; and Maldives 86–7; with Mozambique 133; Oman with 103; Qatar to 104–5; with Saudi Arabia 106–7; with Seychelles 131–2; with South Africa

134–5; with Southeast Asian region 142–3; and Tokyo 179; UAE with 108–9; Vietnam with 156; wars with 34–6; with Yemen 110 China and Sino-Pakistan nexus 11–13, 25; belt and road initiative 18–19; maritime power 21–2; maritime strategy 15–16; naval base(s) 20–1; PLA Navy 16–20; strategic interests and vulnerabilities 13–15 China-Maldives Friendship Bridge 86 China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) 13, 82, 107 Chinese defence transfers 84 climate change 2, 23, 42, 87, 167, 199 CMF see Combined Maritime Force (CMF) coalition 65–7, 69–70 Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) 68 COI see Indian Ocean Commission (COI) Cold War 21, 22, 33, 35, 38, 40, 41, 44, 50–3, 56, 60, 61, 63, 64, 71, 75, 80, 106, 133, 157, 166, 167, 188, 210 collaborations 50, 67, 74, 176, 203–5 Colombo 39 Colombo International Container Terminal (CICT) 19, 90 Combined Maritime Force (CMF) 62, 101, 165, 177 Communications and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) 172 Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) 173 Communist Party of China (CPC) 120 Comoros 125–6, 136, 174 confidence building measures (CBMs) 67–8 constant commitment 66 Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) 122 Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) 62, 68 Cooperative Mechanism, Indian Ocean 200, 204–6, 213 A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower 165–6 coordinated patrols (CORPAT) 84 costs, maritime security cooperation 69, 71 Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific (CSCAP) 68

Index  229 Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) 182 CPEC see China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) “critical security domain” 15 C-17 Globemaster III strategic airlift aircraft 184 Da Gama, Vasco 37 Daishandao 22 Dangerous Allies (Fraser) 65 Darfur 120 dead weight tonnage (DWT) 8 “dead zones” 24 Deception: Pakistan, the United States and the Secret Trade in Nuclear Weapons (Levy & Scott-Clark) 105 de facto alliance 12, 105, 171 Defence Consultative Group (DCG) 186 defence cooperation, 33, 36, 62, 65, 82, 85, 97, 99, 100, 102, 104–8, 119, 124, 132, 144, 146, 147, 149, 150, 153, 173, 179, 181–2, 184, 186, 205 defence exposition (DEFEXPO) 104, 148 “defence pact” 83, 200 “Defence Plan 1964–69” 50 Defence Policy Group (DPG) 167 Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) 100 Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI) 168, 171, 172 Delhi 32, 33, 39, 42, 83, 87, 172, 209 Dempsey, Martin 7 DF-21D 16 Dhaka 83 Dhoinine, Ikililou 125 Diego Garica 185–6 Dixit, J. N. 35, 36, 40 Djibouti 4, 5, 16, 18–20, 22, 111, 118–19, 121, 130, 131, 133, 136, 137, 174, 177, 195, 197, 201, 210–12 Doha international maritime defence exhibition (DIMDEX) 104 Dosti 89 DTTI see Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI) Duqm 103 “dysfunctional polity” 105, 108 East African states 2, 117–18, 135–7; Comoros 125–6; Djibouti 121; Egypt 119; Eritrea 119–20; Kenya 123–4; Madagascar 126–7; Mauritius 127–30;

Mozambique 132–3; Seychelles 130–2; Somalia 122–3; South Africa 133–5; Sudan 120; Tanzania 124–5 East Asia Summit (EAS) 198 Eastern Bridge 103 East European allies 34 “East-West Economic Corridor” 149 Egypt 119 Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) 17, 172 Elisra 100 Energy Information Administration (EIA) 5–7 Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) 165 Ensuring Secure Seas: Indian Maritime Security Strategy 56, 58–60 Eritrea 5, 119–20 Ethiopia 119, 124 European Union (EU) projects 174 exclusive economic zones (EEZs) 2, 4, 24, 67, 85, 87, 88, 127, 128, 130, 144, 145, 173 ex-Gorshkov deal 182 Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum 198 F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets 172 familiarity between partners 69 Far Eastern Naval Command (FENC) 158 Faure, Danny 131 fishing, illegal 24–5 Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) 66, 151, 186 force levels and technological gaps 70 Force Posture Agreement (FPA) 165 Foreign Cooperation 54 foreign policy 31–4; developments 41–2; Indo-Pakistan war 36–7; national vision 42–4; neighbouring states, relations 38–40; Southeast Asia, relations 40–1; wars with China and Pakistan 34–6 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) 134 Foxtrot-class submarines 35 FPDA see Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) France 173–4; bilateral relations 174–6; Indo-French relations 176 Fraser, Malcom 65 The Freedom to Use the Seas: India’s Maritime Military Strategy 54, 56 free trade agreement (FTA) 41, 129, 143

230 Index F-16 Fighting Falcon 172 F22P frigates 82 Gandhi, Indira 34–6, 38, 39 Gandhi, Mahatma 32 Gandhi, Rajiv 34, 39 Garuda 175 Gayoom, Maumoon Abdul 40, 85–6 “Global Maritime Partnership” 61, 62 Global Ocean Commission 24 Golleh 121 Great Channel 9–10 Greece 14, 62 gross domestic product (GDP) 2, 4, 18, 44, 86, 121, 124 “G2” arrangement 173 “Gujral Doctrine” 38 Gulf Arab states 211 Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) 102, 111–12, 200 Gulf War 53, 96, 97 Gusmao, Xanana 154 Gwadar 13 Habib 83 Hadi, Abd Rabbuh Mansur 109 Hambantota Port 90 Hand-in-Hand 2015 170 Harbin Z-9 shipborne helicopters 82 Hasina, Sheikh 83–5 Heads of Asian Coast Guard Agencies Meeting (HACGAM) 178 HMS Hermes 51 Ho Chi Minh 155 Hollande, Francois 175 Hormuz Strait 5–7 Hoyt, Timoty D. 65 Hu Jintao 12–14, 105, 131 humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) 17, 22, 25, 60, 144, 171 human trafficking 25 Hun Sen 154 Ibsamar 134 Idai 133, 137 illegal migration 25 illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing 24–5 India-Africa Forum Summit 125, 126 India-ASEAN Summit 142 India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) grouping 133–4 India-Iran relations 98

Indian Air Force 35, 37, 99 Indian Coast Guard (ICG) 59 Indian Maritime Doctrine 54–6 Indian National Army (INA) 32 Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) network 125 Indian Navy 10, 17, 20–2, 25, 31, 35, 39, 43, 49–50, 53–6, 57, 69, 75, 80, 81, 84, 89, 99, 104, 108, 122, 123, 130, 132, 144, 146, 156, 170; Cold War 51–3; Ensuring Secure Seas: Indian Maritime Security Strategy 56, 58–60; Indian Maritime Doctrine 54–6; Soviet assistance 50–1 Indian Ocean Assembly 201–2, 205, 213 Indian Ocean Commission (COI) 174 Indian Ocean Cooperative Mechanism 200, 204–6, 213 Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) 67, 81, 108, 123, 176, 196, 198, 202–4, 206, 212–13 Indian Ocean region 1, 2, 3, 4, 37–44; Bab el-Mandeb 5; Cape of Good Hope 9; Hormuz 5–7, 7; Lombok Strait 8–9; Makassar Strait 9; Malacca and Singapore 8; resources 10, 10–11; Six Degree and Nine Degree Channels 9–10; Suez Canal 4–5; Sunda Strait 9 Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) 125, 175–6, 196–8, 202, 203, 206, 212–13 Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC) 41 Indian Peacekeeping Force (IPKF) 39, 51 Indian Small Arms System (INSAS) 102 Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) 176 India Ocean Rim-Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC) 196–7 India-Pakistan animosity 80–1 India Rapid Reaction Cell (IRCC) 168 Indigenous Aircraft Carrier-II (IAC-II) 172 Ind-Indo 75 Ind-Indo Corpat 144, 146 Indo-ASEAN strategic relations 143 Indonesia 4, 9, 143–5 “Indo-Pacific Endeavor 19” 184 Indo-Pakistan relations 81 Indo-Pakistan war (1971) 36–7

Index  231 Indo-Thai 75 Indra 182 Information Fusion Centre (IFC) 85 INS: Baaz 157; Jalashwa 172; Kadamba 52–3; Kohasa 157; Shivalik 74; Vajrakosh 52; Vikramaditya 179 inter alia 89, 183–4, 197 intermediate level cooperation 74–5 International Fleet Review (IFR) 81, 104 International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) 203 International Maritime Bureau (IMB) 23 International Maritime Organisation (IMO) 200 International North South Transit Corridor (INSTC) 98 IONS see Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) IORA see Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Iran 6, 98–9 Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) 6 Iraq 99–100 Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) 23, 96, 99, 100 Israel 100–1 Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) 100 Israel-Hezbollah conflict 96 IUU fishing see illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing Jaafar 146 Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) 12 Japan 14, 44, 65, 177–8; bilateral relations 178–80; Indo-Japan relations 180 Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) 177 Jayawardene, J. R. 39 Jin-class SSBNs 17 Johnson, Lyndon 35 Joint Doctrine –Indian Armed Forces 56 Joint Exercise at Trincomalee (JET) 50 Jugnauth, Anerood 39 Jugnauth, Pravind Kumar 128 Kakadu 68–9, 201 Kamov 226T helicopters 181 Karwar 53 Ken Booth Triangle 71–2, 72, 74 Kenya 123–4 Kenyatta, Uhuru Muigai 123

Khashoggi, Jamal 107 Kicklighter, Claude 167 Kikwete, Jakaya 124 Kilo-class submarines 99 Komodo 144 Konkan 69, 186 Kovind, Ram Nath 121, 126, 155 Kuwait 101–2 Lakshadweep island 87–8, 211 Lal Dora 39 Lamitye 130 Land Boundary Agreement (1974) 83 Landing Platform Docks (LPDs) 19 language and culture 70–1 Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) 23, 88 leadership 31, 35, 37, 40, 41, 45, 53, 55, 60, 88, 92, 102, 122, 158, 164, 165, 175, 180, 186, 188, 195–7, 200–2, 209–13 Lee Hsien Loong 151 LEMOA 175 Liang Guanglie 131 Liaoning 17 Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) 39, 89 Limburg 196 lingua franca 70 “Little India” 97 Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) 165 logistics exchange memorandum of agreement (LEMOA) 75, 173 Logistics Support Agreement (LSA) 172 Lombok Strait 8–9 Look East policy 40–1, 142, 143 Macron, Emmanuel 175 Madagascar 125–7 Magafuli, John 125 Mahathir Mohamad 147 maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) 146 Makassar Strait 9 Malabar series 75, 167, 169–71, 179, 180, 184, 187, 188 Malacca dilemma 14, 157, 159 Malacca Strait 8, 41, 200 Malaysia 145–7 Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) 60 Maldives 85–7 Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) 85

232 Index Mal-Pak 146 Malsindo 61, 62–3, 70, 200 manoeuvrable re-entry vehicle (MaRV) 16 Mao Zedong 150 maritime security cooperation 60–2; advanced level cooperation 75–6; basic level cooperation 74; collaborations 67; costs 71; drivers for 67–70; evaluation 71–2, 72, 73, 74; force levels and technological gaps 70; intermediate level cooperation 74–5; Ken Booth Triangle 71–2, 72, 74; language and culture 70–1; levels 63–7; state relations 70; types 62–3 maritime silk road (MSR) programme 1, 18 Mattis, James N. 18 Mauritius 4, 22, 39, 42, 117, 118, 126–30, 136, 137, 159, 174–6, 185, 186, 210–12 Mausum Project 44 Mehta, Sureesh 54 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) 81–3, 97, 102, 105, 108, 124, 126, 129, 132, 146, 148, 149, 176 MH 370 (Malaysian Airlines flight) 19 Michel, James 130–1 Michiko (Japanese Empress) 179 Middle East Treaty Organization (METO) 45n9 MiG-21 fighter planes 35, 155, 183 MiG-29 fighter planes 84 Milan exercise series 86, 89, 123, 124, 144, 146, 148–50, 152–4, 157, 201 military-civilian relations 66–7 military hardware, sale of 171–2 Military Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-MTC) 181 Minicoy island 87–8 Mirage 2000 multi-role bomber 175 Mi-35 helicopters 182 Modi, Narendra 41–5, 80, 81, 83–5, 87, 89, 98, 100, 102, 104–8, 118, 122–4, 128, 130, 132, 134, 135, 142, 144, 146, 148, 150, 155, 156, 164, 167, 168, 170, 172–3, 175, 179, 183, 186, 187, 198, 199, 203, 209, 211 Mohamed bin Zayed 107 Mohammed bin Salman 106 Mohamud, Hassan Sheikh 122 Monroe doctrine 34, 45, 164 MoU see Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) Mozambique Channel 126, 132–3 M-Star 23

Mugabe, Robert 136 Mujibur Rehman 36 Mukherjee, Pranab 181 Mullen, Mike 7, 61 multilateral cooperation 62, 197 multilateralisation 196–8, 201; BIMSTEC 199; GCC 200; Malacca Strait security initiative 200; SAARC 198–9; SADC 200 Multinational Tactical Publications (MTP) 69, 170 MV Seaman Guard Ohio 203 Myanmar 151–3 Najib Rajak 146–7 Naseem-Al-Bahar 103 Nasheed, Mohamed 85–6 National Bureau of Asian Research 18 National Command Control Communication Intelligence Network (N3CIN) 85 national vision 42–4 NATO see North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) NATO Maritime Command 64 Natuna Islands 145 natural disasters 2, 14, 23, 143 naval base 52–3 Navies and Foreign Policy (Booth) 56 Nehru, Jawaharlal 12, 31–4, 45, 67, 144, 155, 164 Nehruvian doctrine 32 neighbouring states 38–40 “net provider of security” 42 net security 58, 59, 209 New Zealand 25 Nine Degree Channel 9–10 9/11 event 167 Nishan-e-Imtiaz (Military) 144, 146 Non-Aligned Movement 33 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) 35 non-traditional threats 22–5 North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) 33, 62, 63–4, 69 North Sea Route (NSR) 11 Northwest Passage (NWP) 11 nuclear weapon policy 52 Nyusi, Filipe 132 Obama, B. 42, 156, 166–7 offshore patrol vessel (OPV) 89 Oman 102–3 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) 147

Index  233 operational interoperability 66 operational standards 69 Operation Cactus (1989) 40, 51 Organisation of African Unity (OAU) 53 The Organisation of Islamic States (OIC) 36, 46n30 Pacific Patrol Boat Program (PPBP) 128 Pakistan 12–13, 25, 81–3; Navy 20, 50, 81, 82, 201; wars with 34–6; see also China and Sino-Pakistan nexus Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) 12 Panikkar, G. M. 37 Paratrooper Training School (PTS) 167 “Partnership for Quality Infrastructure” 177 PASSEX (passing exercises) 99 “pathfinder” technologies 171 Paton tanks 35 Peace and Friendship 2015 147 Peace Ark 19, 22 People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy 9, 12, 14–22, 82, 88, 90, 111, 121, 131, 133, 135, 144, 154, 156, 197, 210 People’s Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE) 40 Petya-class: anti-submarine corvettes 35; patrol ships 183 Phalcon 101 Philippines 35 piracy 2, 8–10, 14, 19, 23, 24, 41, 56, 61, 72, 117, 121, 122, 132, 135, 143, 165, 200 Pitch Black 184 pivot strategy 165 PLA Navy see People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy PNS Zulfiqar 23 Pokhran nuclear tests 38 political compatibility 66 political leadership 211 population 4, 18, 23, 36, 39, 64, 88, 89, 96, 97, 99, 107, 109, 110, 118, 121, 124, 127, 129, 130, 136, 145, 150, 174 Portuguese rule 34 post–Cold War 51–3 Prakash, Arun 13, 21, 51, 158, 202 “preparation for military struggle” 15 Putin, Vladimir 180 Qatar 103–5 Qatar Emiri Naval Forces (QENF) 104 quadrilateral arrangement 187 quadrilateral security 183

Raahat 109 Rafale fighters 175, 176, 186 Rahaat 53, 96 Rahman, Chris 67–8 Raja Mohan, C. 12 Rajapaksa, Mahinda 20, 89, 90 Ramaphosa, Cyril 134 Ramgoolam, Navinchandra 127 Rann of Kutch 34 Rao, Narasimha 40 Regional Maritime Security Initiative (RMSI) 61 regional prosperity 169 Rehman, Ziaur 38 Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) 75, 150 Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) 129 Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise 169 “Riyadh Declaration” 105 Royal Australian Navy (RAN) 201 Royal Indian Navy (RIN) 49–51 Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) 146 Royal Navy 186, 188 Royal Thai Navy 149 Rudd, Kevin 183 Russia 180–1; with Australia 183–5; defence cooperation 181–2; IndiaRussia relations 182–3 SAARC see South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) SAARC development fund (SDF) 198 Sagittarius 53 Saleh, Ali Abdullah 109 Salman, King 106 Samudri Jihad (Seaborne Jihad) 23 Saudi Arabia 105–7 Sayari, Habibillah 6 Schelling, Thomas 33, 67 Scorpene project 175 Seabourn Spirit 61 sea lines of communication (SLOC) 13, 15, 16, 21 search and rescue (SAR) 82 SEATO see The Southeast Asia Treaty Organisation (SEATO) Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) 209 Seychelles 4, 19, 20, 22, 39, 40, 42, 43, 75, 118, 129–32, 136, 137, 159, 174–6, 185, 210–12 Seychelles Peoples’s Defence Forces (SPDF) 130, 131

234 Index SHADE 78n63 Shahyog-Kaijin 178 Shakti 175 Shangri-La Dialogue 203 Shared Awareness and Deconfliction (SHADE) mechanism 62 Shastri, Lal Bahadur 35 Shen Dingli 171 Short Take-off But Arrested Recovery (STOBAR) system 17 Simbex 75, 150 sine qua non 66 Singapore 150–1 Singapore Strait 8, 41 Singh, Manmohan 42, 43, 105, 132, 148, 166, 172, 179, 180 Sinha, Yashwant 198 Sino-Egypt relations 119 Sino-Indian competition 40 Sino-Malagasy community 127 Sino-Pakistan naval cooperation 82 Sirindhorn, Maha Chakri 148 Six Degree Channel 9–10 Slinex 89 SLOC see sea lines of communication (SLOC) Soar, Trevor 185 Solih, Ibrahim Mohamed 87 Somalia 122–3 Somali piracy 23–4 Song-class conventional submarine 90 South Africa 133–5 South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) 38, 198–9 South Asian free trade area (SAFTA) 198 South Asian states 2, 80–1, 91–3; Bangladesh 83–5; Lakshadweep and Minicoy islands 87–8; Maldives 85–7; Pakistan 81–3; Sri Lanka 89–91 South Asian University (SAU) 198 Southeast Asian states 2, 40–1, 142–3, 159–60; Andaman and Nicobar Islands 157–9; Brunei 147–8; Cambodia 153–4; Indonesia 143–5; Malaysia 145–7; Myanmar 151–3; Singapore 150–1; Thailand 148–9; Timor Leste 154; Vietnam 155–6 The Southeast Asia Treaty Organisation (SEATO) 33, 45n10, 49 Southern African Development Community (SADC) 200 Soviet assistance 50–1

Soviet Union 33, 34, 36, 40, 50 special economic zone (SEZ) 103 “springboard” 88, 157 Sri Lanka 4, 19–22, 25, 34, 35, 38–40, 42, 43, 51, 54, 82, 87, 89–92, 118, 121, 184, 202, 213 state law and order restoration council (SLORC) 151 State Marine Police 59 state relations 70 status quo power 44 strategic options: China cooperation 205–6; collaboration 203–4; Cooperative Mechanism 204–5; Indian Ocean Assembly 201–2; Track II mechanism 202–3 strategic partnership 143 “strategic prize” 151 “string of pearls” 13 submarines 16–17 sub-regional cooperation 62–3 Sudan 120 Suez Canal 4–5, 119 Sukarno 144 Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jets 184 Sukoon 96 Su-30MKI fighters 183 Sunda Strait 8–9 “Superpower India” 51 Supreme Allied Commander for Europe (SACEUR) 64 surface combatants 17–22 Sustaining US Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense 165, 168 Su-30 fighter planes 146 SY-400 short-range ballistic missiles 104 Tai Shun Hai 19 Tan, Tony 150 Tanzania 124–5 Tanzania People’s Defence Forces (TPDF) 125 Tashkent Agreement 35 “Task Force 88” 13 terrorism 2, 13, 14, 21, 23, 25, 56, 81, 84, 97, 106, 108, 121, 122, 135, 143, 173, 182, 198, 199 T-55 main battle tanks 155, 183 Thailand 35, 148–9 “1,000-ship Navy” 61 Timor Leste 154 Track II mechanism 202–3, 213

Index  235 Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation (IRIGC-TEC) 181 traffic separation scheme (TSS) 5 training/capacity building 68–9 trilateral cooperation 62–3 trilateral strategic dialogue (TSD) 187 Tripartite Technical Experts Group (TTEG) 204 Trump, D. 6, 111, 167, 182 tsunami warning system 125 Tunku Ismail Ibrahim 146 Turkey 62 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attacks (2008) 59 2014 QDR 165, 168 Type 001A 17 Type 052C destroyer 19 Type 054A (modified) frigates 82 Type 071 17 Type 081 17 Type 903 replenishment ship 19 Type 920 Anwei-class hospital ship 22 Type 925 submarine support ship 19, 90 Typhoon 186 U.K. Maritime Component Command (UKMCC) 186 U.K. Response Force Task Group 64 UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) report 11, 14 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 6 U.N. General Assembly 36–8 United Arab Emirates (UAE) 107–9 United Kingdom 34, 185–6; defence cooperation 186 United Nations Law of the Sea Convention (UNCLOS) 204 United States 6, 7, 11, 18, 33–5, 37, 42, 44, 65, 75, 164–6, 209; bilateral relations 166–7; challenges 172–3; India-U.S. relations 173; maritime security cooperation 167–71; military hardware sale 171–2

unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) 106–7 UN mission 122 U.N. Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) 177 UN Security Council (UNSC) 37, 153 U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) 97, 104, 165 U.S. Congressional report 16 U.S.–Japan alliance 65 U.S. naval forces 97, 164–5 U.S. Navy Carrier Strike Group 64 USN ship 101 U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) 165 USS Carl Vinson 156 USS Nimitz 179 Varuna 69 Varyag 17 Vietnam 155–6 Vietnam People’s Navy (VPN) 75 Viraat 175 weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) 173 West Asian states 2, 96, 110–12; Bahrain 96–8; Iran 98–9; Iraq 99–100; Israel 100–1; Kuwait 101–2; Oman 102–3; Qatar 103–5; Saudi Arabia 105–7; UAE 107–9; Yemen 109–10 Western Pacific Naval Symposium (WPNS) 67, 68, 196 Widodo, Joko 143–5 World Trade Organization (WTO) 197 World War II 65 Xi Jinping 13, 18, 84, 86, 99, 100, 106, 136, 145–8, 151, 154, 181, 187 Yahya Khan 36 Yameen, Abdulla 85–7 Yemen 109–10 Yuan-class submarines 20, 82 Yudhoyono, Susilo Bambang 143 “zone of peace” 164 Zuma, Jacob 134