Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Modi Oz Visit Highlights Maritime Vision


The two most important factors driving India-Australia maritime security cooperation are the growing Chinese naval presence in the Indian Ocean, and the concept of the “Indo-Pacific.” In the past few years China has expanded its military-maritime footprint in the IOR – a reality starkly brought home by the recent deployment of a Chinese submarine to the region. But even as India has watched a greater PLA-N presence in the Indian Ocean with studied wariness, it has desisted from a closer maritime partnership with the U.S., Japan and Australia. 
New Delhi does have a point. Close alignment with the U.S. and its allies in the Pacific is a provocative move and one likely to disturb the regional maritime equilibrium. In the search for alternate ideas, however, a suggestion to create Indo-Pacific “middle power coalitions” – an informal arrangement where the powers in the middle would make it a priority to strengthen and help one another, working in self-selecting groups, or “minilateral” arrangements that do not include Beijing or Washington, seems interesting. This sort of arrangement could indeed achieve a favorable end-state without India having to overtly align with the U.S. A number of Indian analysts, in fact, now agree that in the implementation of the current government’s “Act East Policy” there is a need to legitimize the “Indo-Pacific” concept – even if in a qualified sense.

More @ The Diplomat 

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