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“… after nearly a millennium of inward and landward focus, we are once again
turning our gaze outwards and seawards, which is the natural direction of view
for a nation seeking to re-establish itself, not simply as a continental power, but even more so as a maritime power, and consequently as one that is of significance on the world stage”.
The term maritime security represents the broadest approach to issues and aspects which pertain to the sea and have an important bearing on the country’s security. The scope of the term maritime security entails those issues which pertain to the maritime domain and have a critical bearing on the country’s security. These include seaborne trade and commerce of goods and services particularly that of energy resources, the management of living and non-living marine resources within the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the country, ensuring sanctity of the delimited international seaward boundaries, and the deployment and employment of naval and military forces in the Indian Ocean for providing safety and security to own trade, resources, domination of the maritime domain of the country within the specified maritime boundaries of the country.
A maritime boundary is a conceptual division of the Earth’s water surface areas using physiographic or geopolitical criteria. As such, it usually bounds areas of exclusive national rights over mineral and biological resources, encompassing maritime features, limits and zones. Generally, a maritime boundary is delineated at a particular distance from a jurisdiction’s coastline. Although in some countries the term maritime boundary represents borders of a maritime nation that are recognized by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), maritime borders usually serve to identify the edge of international waters. Maritime boundaries exist in the context of territorial waters, contiguous zones, EEZ and the continental shelf. However, the terminology encompasses only those waters which are in the seas. The limits of maritime boundaries are expressed in polylines/ polygon layers of sovereignty and controlcalculated from the declaration of a baseline. The baseline is described as per the provisions of the UNCLOS. Baseline of a country is a straight line which is the low water line (a line that encloses bays, estuaries, inland waters) or a combination of the two. The zones of maritime boundaries are expressed in concentric limits surrounding coastal and feature baselines. the details are as follows:-
- Inland Waters– the zone inside the baseline.
- Territorial Waters– the zone extends 12 Nautical Miles(nm) from the baseline.
- Contiguous Zone– it extends24 nm from the baseline.
- Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)- extends 200 nm from the baseline except when the distance between the two maritime neighbours is less than 400 nm. In case of overlapping space, the boundary is either decided based on equidistance principle or based on a bilateral/ multilateral treaty. The difference between territorialwaters and the EEZ is that; the first confers full sovereignty over the waters, whereas the latter is merely a “sovereign right” which refers to the coastal state’s rights below the surface of the sea. The surface waters are considered as international waters.
- Continental Shelf– Article 76 of the Law of seas defines it for a nation and it comprises of seabed and subsoil of the submarine areas that extend beyond its territorial waters throughout the natural prolongation of its land territory to the outer edge of the continental margin or to a distance of 200 nm (cited from UNCLOS, 1982).
The geography of India with its peninsula, island territories, warm waters of Indian Ocean and other seas as the seas on West and East of Indian peninsula have become more important than ever before to the security of the country in the existing geopolitical environment;due to; India’s off shore living and nonliving assets; need for trade passing through these waters and the threat of piracy. In this paper an attempt is being made to examine the maritime dimensions of Indian security in a comprehensive manner in terms of economic, political, and military matters of India’s maritime security.
The extent of India’s Maritime Interest
“Whoever controls the Indian Ocean dominates Asia. In the 21st Century, the destiny of the world will be decided on its (the Indian Ocean’s) waters.”
Indian Ocean Region (IOR)
The Indian Ocean is the world’s third-largest ocean, covering 70,560,000 km2 (19.8% of the water on the Earth’s surface). It is bounded on the West; by East Africa; on the North by India; on the East by Indochina and Australia and on the South by the Southern Ocean off the coast of Antarctica. The Indian Ocean has an average depth (land to shelf break) of 19 ± 0.61 km (11.81 ± 0.38 mi) with a maximum depth of 175 km (109 mi).[12
1Map-1: Indian Ocean Region (Source:https://www.pinterest.com/pin/750482725375736276/?nic=1)
In IOR, Australia, Indonesia, and India are the three countries with the longest shorelines and as such have larger EEZs. The continental shelf makes up 15% of the Indian Ocean. More than two billion people live in countries bordering the Indian Ocean, compared to 1.7 billion for the Atlantic and 2.7 billion for the Pacific (some countries border more than one ocean). The Indian Ocean drainage basin covers 21,100,000 km2. 40% of the sediment of the Indian Ocean is found in the Indus and Ganges fans. The oceanic basins adjacent to the continental slopes mostly contain terrigenous sediments. Average grain size reflects the energy of the depositional environment.
Map-2: Indian Ocean Choke Points (Source: Brahma Chellany, “Democratic Powers must Intensify Indian Ocean Cooperation” pub in Stagecraft and Statecraft dated 29 Sep 2017 and uploaded on https://chellaney.net/2017/09/29/democratic-powers-must-intensify-indian-ocean-cooperation/)
The Indian Ocean is the warmest ocean in the world. Long-term ocean temperature records show a rapid, continuous warming in the Indian Ocean, at about 1.2 °C Research indicates that human induced greenhouse effect is a trigger to this strong warming in the Indian Ocean.
Marginal Seas, Gulfs, Bays and Straits of the Indian Ocean– Some of the important straits and gulfs are as described hereafter. On the northern coast of the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden is connected to the Red Sea by the strait of Bab-el-Mandeb. In the Gulf of Aden, the Gulf of Tadjoura is located in Djibouti and the Guardafui Channel separates Socotra island from the Horn of Africa. The northern end of the Red Sea terminates in the Gulf of Aqaba and Gulf of Suez. The Indian Ocean is artificially connected to the Mediterranean Sea through the Suez Canal, which is accessible via the Red Sea. The Arabian Sea is connected to the Persian Gulf by the Gulf of Oman and the Strait of Hormuz. Along the West Coast of India, the Gulf of Kutch and Gulf of Cambay (Khambhat) is located in Gujarat at the Northern end while the Laccadive Sea separates the Maldives from the Southern tip of India. The Bay of Bengal is off the East Coast of India. The Andaman Sea is located between the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Islands. The Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait separate Sri Lanka from India. Adam’s Bridge, also known as Rama’s Bridge or Rama Setu, is a chain of limestone shoals, between Pamban Island, also known as Rameswaram Island, off the South-Eastern coast of Tamil Nadu, India, and Mannar Island, off the North-Western Coast of Sri Lanka. Further East in Indonesia, the so-called the Indonesian Seaway is composed of the Malacca, Sunda and Torres Straits.
Sea Lanes– The Indian Ocean provides major sea routes connecting the Middle East, Africa, and East Asia with Europe and the Americas. It carries a particularly heavy traffic of petroleum and petroleum products from the oil fields of the Persian Gulf and Indonesia. Chinese companies have made investments in several Indian Ocean ports, including Gwadar in Pakistan, Hambantota and Colombo in Sri Lanka and Sonaldia in Bangladesh. All these investments have certain strategic implications (more about these a little later.The sea lanes in the Indian Ocean are considered among the most strategically important in the world with more than 80 percent of the world’s seaborne trade in oil, transits through Indian Ocean and its vital choke points, with 40 percent passing through the Strait of Hormuz, 35 percent through the Strait of Malacca and 8 percent through the Bab el-Mandab Strait.
Indian Ocean a Store House of Resources
Among the tropical oceans, the Western Indian Ocean hosts one of the largest concentrations of phytoplankton blooms in summer, due to the strong monsoon winds. These phytoplankton blooms support the marine ecosystem, as the base of the marine food web, and eventually the larger fish species. The Indian Ocean accounts for the second-largest share of the most economically valuable tuna catch.Its fish are of great and growing importance to the bordering countries for domestic consumption and export. Fishing fleets from Russia, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan also exploit the Indian Ocean albeit illegally, mainly for shrimp and tuna. Large reserves of hydrocarbons are being tapped in the offshore areas of Saudi Arabia, Iran, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Indonesia and Western Australia. An estimated 40 percent of the world’s offshore oil production comes from the Indian Ocean. Beach sands are rich in heavy minerals; case in point is monazite sands of East Coast and Kerala Beach in India in particular, which is highly rich in Thorium. As per the estimation of the US Geological Survey (USGS); India has world’s 25 percent Thorium reserves. Offshore placer deposits are actively exploited by bordering countries, particularly India, Pakistan, South Africa, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.
The Indian Ocean’s living resources represent one of the region’s most significant assets. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), catches from Indian Ocean marine capture fisheries have soared from less than 900,000 tons in 1950 to 11.3 million tons in 2010, about 14.6 percent of the world catch. Aquaculture – farming fish, shellfish, and other aquatic animals in captivity – has expanded equally rapidly, growing twelve-fold globally since 1980. In 2010, six Indian Ocean nations – India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Thailand, Egypt, and Myanmar – counted among the top ten producers worldwide, supplying over 11.3 million tons of fish between them, as much as all the region’s capture fisheries combined.
The sea floor of the Indian Ocean and the continental margins bordering the ocean are covered by a wide variety of terrigenous, biogenous and antigenic mineral deposits. The important features are as follows:-
- The humid tropical climate of some of the land areas bordering the Indian Ocean accelerates weathering of the source rocks. This coupled with the large river runoff and wave and current conditions favour the formation of a variety of placer deposits. The beach and offshore placer deposits of the Indian Ocean may be some of the largest in the world.
- The biogenous deposits in the Indian Ocean comprise of the corals on shallow banks and on the continental shelves and the oozes in the deep sea. The antigenic deposits in the Indian Ocean comprise of the phosphorites and the polymetallic nodules. Occurrences of phosphorite deposits have been found both along continental margins (South Africa and Western India) and around seamounts (these are undersea mountains which are formed by volcanic activity)(Eastern and Western Indian Ocean). The continental margins of South Africa, East Africa, Southern Arabia, Western India and the Andamans are marked by strong upwelling and provide non-depositional environment which is conducive to the formation of phosphorite.
- The polymetallic nodules in the Indian Ocean cover an area of 10–15X106km2 and the resources are estimated to be about 1.5 X 1011 A study of over 900 chemical analyses from 350 stations shows that the deposits in most of the basins are submarginal; in the Central Indian Ocean they are para-marginal (Nickel + Copper + Cobalt > 2.4% and concentrations > 5 kg / m2).
- Most of the exploration for minerals even on the continental margins of the Indian Ocean has been carried out by the developed countries from outside the region and little work has been carried out by the countries bordering the Indian Ocean. There is a need to develop the capabilities within the region; particularly in India, for the exploration of the mineral resources as a part of ATMA NIRBHAR Campaign of India on high priority.
- Potential for Gas Hydrates– gas hydrates are a naturally occurring, ice-like combination of natural gas and water found at the floor of the oceans and polar regions. The amount of gas within the world’s gas hydrate accumulations is estimated to be in excess of the volume of all known conventional gas resources. The known exploration data reveals that large deposits of gas hydrates have been found in the Bay of Bengal. Although it is possible to produce natural gas from gas hydrates, there are significant technical challenges, depending on the location and type of the formation. Previous studies have shown that the currently; technologies exist to extract gas from the gas hydrate at high concentrations in sand reservoirs only.
- Potential for Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC)– The sun’s heat warms the surface water a lot more than the water in the deep ocean, and this temperature difference can be exploited to generate power based on the thermal energy conversion. Just a small portion of the heat trapped in the ocean would be sufficient to power the world. The principle of the OTEC entails extraction of solar energy absorbed by the sea water and converting it through a heat engine operating across the temperature difference between warm surface water of Indian Ocean and cold deep water. In the tropics, surface waters are above 80-degree Fahrenheit, but at ocean depths of about 1,000 meters, water temperatures are just above freezing point everywhere in the ocean. This provides a 45 to 50 -degree Fahrenheit temperature differential that can be used to extract energy from the surface waters. The most optimistic expectations for OTEC prediction for a comparative cost- effective energy conversion system as compared to conventional fossil sources is that it is of the order of ten times greater than that for conventional fossil sources. If OTEC can ever be made cost effective, India is ideally situated to use it, with its large length of coastline
adjacent to the deep offshore waters of the Indian Ocean.
Piracy in IOR
Indian Ocean is a very busy ocean. On an average 30000 vessels pass through Indian Ocean every year.Piracy is quite common in IOR especially in western IOR. In 2011 there were 237 attacks . In fact, the frequency of attacks and hijacking increased from 2008 onwards when about 111 attacks including 42 hijacking were reported. In 2009 it grew by almost ten times and on an average 79 attacks were reported. Their focus shifted to Gulf of Aden. On 05 Oct 2008 the UN Security Council (UNSC) adopted Resolution No 1838 calling upon the nations with vessels operating in the region to apply military force to tackle piracy. During the 101 Council of the IMO India proposed a UN Peacekeeping Force under a unified command. India deployed Indian Navy Ships with effect from November 2008 for anti-piracy operations . They were joined by US Navy in Apr 2009, Russian Navy in 2010 and South Korea in 2011. From Western IOR by now piracy had stretched up to Lakshadweep. Due to a concerted international effort by 2013, the piracy started showing a decline, but illegal fishing in IOR increased and they (the living marine assets) became the new targets of pirates. Piracy showed a resurgence again in 2017, despite a very heavy deployment of international naval task forces.
India’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)
Map-4: India’s Exclusive Economic Zone (Source: https://en-wikipedia.org/wiki/Exclusive_economic_zone/)
In 1976 India enacted the territorial waters, continental shelf, EEZ and other maritime zone Act-1976. It was incorporated into the Article 297 of the Chapter III, Part XII of the Indian Constitution. According to National Institute of Oceanography, India has a coastline of 7500 kms and as such, as per UNCLOS provisions, the total area of the Indian EEZ works out to be 2,30,51,433 Km2 with the breakdown of; Mainland India and Lakshadweep: 16,41,514 Sq Km and Andaman & Nicobar Islands: 6,63,629 Sq Km respectively. By June 1997, India had ratified the UNCLOS III segment of the treaty which signified its agreement with the region-specific agenda of the treaty. Boundaries of the EEZ are however not entirely clear cut. There are maritime disputes between India and Pakistan and India and Sri Lanka. It is relevant to note that the geo-scientific mapping of the EEZ has not yet been completed. According to Ministry of Earth Sciences , Govt of India till 19 Jan 2018 had got only about 30 % of the deep-water regions (greater than 500 meters depth) mapped. Since the start of the current decade the Govt of India has taken up with the UN to extend the EEZ from 200 NM to 350 NM, under the provisions of the UNCLOS with respect to the Coastal States whereby the EEZ can be extended to 350 NM, provided the concerned State could lay claim to having an extended Continental Shelf around it. Implication of such an extension will be that the EEZ of India will become almost double and will facilitate India to have greater access to offshore resources such as oil and natural gas. Difficulty in extending the EEZ is due to the maritime boundary with Maldives, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh fouling with the respective claims.
India has maritime disputes with two of her neighbors, namely; Pakistan and Sri Lanka. With Pakistan it is boundary demarcation in Sir creek. With Sri Lanka it is the issue of fishermen’s rights. There was a maritime boundary issue with Bangladesh but the issue has been resolved and the maritime boundary has successfully been delineated in 2014.
Map-5: Marine Dispute of Sir Creek
Brief details of the disputes are as follows:-
- Maritime Dispute with Pakistan- Sir Creek is a tidal estuary which exist on the border of India and Pakistan (Gujarat state of India and Sind Province of Pakistan). The dispute has two major parts. Firstly; the actual demarcation “from the mouth of Sir Creek to the top of Sir Creek”.Secondly; demarcation of maritime boundary between India and Pakistan in Arabian Sea. Pakistan claims that the maritime boundary lies to the eastern flank of creek ( Which places entire Creek with Pakistan). India on the other hand claims that the Thalweg doctrine should be applied to demarcate the boundary. It would mean the boundary would lie midway through the navigable channel of the Creek. The importance of the area lies in its being rich in Oil and gas below the seabed.
- Map-6: Location of KachchathivuSource: https://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?artid=25484&catid=13
- India- Sri Lanka maritime issue- India does not have a maritime boundary issue with Sri Lanka. The issue is about fishermen and Kachchathivu Island. The entailed issues are as follows-
- In 1974 Agreement, the boundary line was agreed upon based on ‘modified equidistance line’. And Kachchathivu island was given to Sri Lanka and special provisions were included to allow the continuing use of Kachchathivu for pilgrimage and for drying nets and free movement of vessels in the Palk Bay as before. But, fishing was not explicitly mentioned.
- Indian fisherman has claimed their traditional fishing rights in the region which have been denied by the Sri Lankan authorities. But such rights are not mentioned in agreement. This has infuriated Indian fishermen.
- In 2014, Tamil Nadu Government pleaded in Supreme Court to cancel the ceding of island to Sri Lanka as it was not approved by Parliament. But Indian government clarified that, island was not ceded, but was a disputed territory and therefore was given during boundary settlement process.
- The issue is more related to technical and administrative measures than to maritime dispute and should be solved accordingly.
Resources in the Indian EEZ
Fisheries– Due to such a large EEZ, India gets access to resources which are quite substantial. In terms of marine fishery resources, it is 3.92 million tons, though presently India is able to exploit only 3.2 million tons. Although India has enacted a legislation to regulate fishing and fisheries by Indian fishing vessels operating in the EEZ yet poaching goes unabated. Further India has enacted another act, namely, “Enforcement of the Maritime Zones of India Act-1981”, which is meant to prevent illegal fishing by foreign vessels within the country’s EEZ. However, despite such stringent laws poaching for Sea Horses and Sea cucumbers goes on unabetted. Infact, many of these species have totally vanished from certain areas of the IOR.
Resources Other than Fisheries– The type of resources and their quantity found in the Indian EEZ include hydrocarbons and metalliferous deposits which represent only the tip of the iceberg as to the vast treasure trove that lies in India’s waters. A three year survey was ordered which was intended to carry out a ‘High Resolution Seabed Mapping’ and ‘Natural Resource Evaluation’ of India’s EEZ. The study succeeded in generating high-resolution seabed morphological data covering 181,025 km2. Some of the important findings of the report were as follows:-
- Report confirmed the existence of 10,000 million tons of lime mud in India’s EEZ.
- The survey found Phosphate sediment deposits around Mangalore, Karwar and Chennai.
- Gas hydrates, cobalt bearing ferro-manganese crust was found in the Mannar basin around Tamil Nadu coast and Andaman respectively and Manganese micro-nodules were found around Lakshadweep.
- A combined team consisting of scientists from ONGC and USGS has found location of Highly enriched natural gas hydrates in the Bay of Bengal. This is the first discovery of its kind in in the Indian Ocean that has the potential to producible.
- About 600 species of seaweed grow in the rocytidepools along the Indian Coast. These are highly nutricious and are good option to add food security of India.
IOR in India’s Security Matrix
“Peace and stability of the Indian Ocean relates to that of the whole world; freedom and security of navigation on the ocean is vitally important to the restoration of the world economy.”
Vice Admiral SuZhiqian,
Commander of East Sea Fleet, PLAN
The Indian Ocean region is one of growing geopolitical importance and is characterized by competition and intense rivalries involving both littoral states and external powers. The strategic environment is volatile and a focus of increasing global attention. China has had its interests in IOR since long. In 15th Century Admiral Zhang He, used sea lanes in IOR to reach East Coast of Africa. In recent times her interests have again been rekindled, as her economy grows. Eyes are on the emergence of China as a new and powerful regional player seeking to increase its influence in the region. There is a logic in the increased interest of China in IOR because for its speedier growth energy is the most important element and 80 percent of China’s energy supply passes through Malacca Strait. Similarly, China considers dominance in the South China Sea an important element for its safe marine trade, 64 percent of which passes through South China Sea. No wonder the former President of China Hu Jintao in 2003 referred to Malacca Strait as China’s Malacca Dilemma. Malacca strait is located between Sumatra Islands and Malay Peninsula and has Singapore to its East. Total length is 930km and max with is 2.8 km. This narrow stretch of water could be easily blocked by the rival nations of China, affecting the big China machine, in lieu of the fact that around 80 percent of its exports pass through this strait.The passage is dominated by India’s Great Nicobar Island.
Map-7: Malacca Dilemma
Source: NavyaMudunuri,” The Malacca Dilemma and Chinese Ambitions: Two Sides of a Coin”, pub in Diplomatist dated 07 Jul 2020 uploaded on https://diplomatist.com/2020/07/07/the-malacca-dilemma-and-chinese-ambitions-two-sides-of-a-coin/
For India, Indian Ocean is of particular importance. Firstly, India is the most populous littoral country; secondly; the peninsular geography of India gives it a deep reach into the ocean and thirdly; presence of Andaman & Nicobar group of islands on East and Lakshadweep & Minicoy group of islands in the West, make India an important Stake holder in the IOR. IOR due to these factors make India an important player in the region to influence the geopolitics of the region, provided she is well equipped to take care of her maritime interest and the maritime security of the country. Although India has long been preoccupied with problems due tounsettled boundaries with China and Pakistan however in recent years, she has started to pay attention to her maritime boundaries. India’s Indian Ocean Region strategy—which in only just taking shape—conforms closely to global priorities for preserving the Ocean as a shared resource: an important channel for trade, a sustainable resource base, and a region secure, from heightened military competition, non-state actors, and catastrophic natural disasters. Achieving these objectives will require further investments in capacity, greater transparency and confidence-building measures, and enhanced institutional cooperation.
With the need to safeguard her interestsIndia has recently been engaging with Vanilla Islands; Madagascar, Comoros, Seychelles and Mauritius by participating in an economic development meet in Reunion Islands. India has also signed a defense agreement with Comoros. It may be noted that India already has defense agreement with other three. India also has a logistics agreement with France and as such can access to French Defense Bases in these islands.
India is wary of China’s growing naval footprints in the IOR, which has witnessed regularforays by Chinese warships and submarines. China is also looking to establish additional logistics facilities in the IOR after setting up its first overseas military base at Djibouti on the Horn of Africa in August 2017. The current rapid modernization of Chinese war fighting capabilities and increased weaponization, ranging from long range nuclear ballistic missiles and anti-ship cruise missiles, submarines and aircraft carrier programsare a matter of concern for the littoral countries. It appears that the Chinese Navy’s intent is to operate in a much broader area, which includes IOR. It is further appreciated that the Chinese Aircraft Carrier group will also get deployed in IOR in due course of time.For this kind of capability, China has gone for a naval base for nuclear submarines at Yulin alongthe southern coast of the Hainan Island, China.The images collected by the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) in February 2008 shows that China constructed a large scale underground base for its naval forces.This base is essentially to dominate the South China Sea but gives her option to venture into Indian Ocean. The reconnaissance data suggests that the caverns are capable of hiding up to 20 nuclear submarines. The harbor houses nuclear ballistic missile submarines and is large enough to accommodate aircraft carriers. The US Department of Defense estimated that China has five Type 094 nuclear submarines with each capable of carrying 12 JL-2 Inter-continental ballistic missiles.
Strategic Interests of India in Indo- Pacific Region (IPR)
The IPR is a biogeographic region, comprising of the tropical waters of the Indian Ocean, the Western and Central Pacific Ocean and the seas/ straits connecting the two in the general area of Indonesia.The term ‘Indo-Pacific’ refers to the maritime space stretching from the littorals of East Africa and West Asia, across the Indian Ocean and western Pacific Ocean, to the littorals of East Asia.The spirit of the term was mentioned by Shinzo Abe, the then Prime Minister of Japan in his speech to the Indian Parliament in August 2007 when he spoke about the “Confluence of the Indian and Pacific Oceans” as “the dynamic coupling as seas of freedom and of prosperity” in the “broader Asia”.
Map-8: Indo Pacific Region (Shaded Portion)
However, these days increasingly this term IPR has gained traction in terms of a geopolitical construct with a view to challenge China in an area which comprises of areas of East China Sea to South China Sea and area West of it in Oceana Region. It also has “Symbiotic Link” with the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or QUAD, which so far is an informal grouping of like-minded democracies in the region, The QUAD comprises of Australia,Japan, India and the USA.QUAD had their first summit level meeting on 12-13 Mar 2021. The discussions during the meeting sent a message to China that her action has brought together four committed democracies supporting values of pluralism and free access in the IPR and rule based movement in the region, which China has been trying to appropriate as her back yard. This coalescing of QUAD has definitely not amused China which feels that this grouping is meant to corner her.
The term’s relevance was boosted first time, when it found a mention in the joint statement issued during the visit of the Indian Prime Minister, Sri Narendra Modi to US on 26 Jun 2017.It was stated that both heads of states (India and USA) had agreed that a close partnership between the United States and India was central to peace and stability in the region and as such both the leaders resolved to expand and deepen the strategic partnership between the countries and advance common objectives. These objectives included; combatting terrorist threats; promoting stability across the Indo-Pacific region; increasing free and fair trade; and strengthening energy linkages”. However, President Trump’s November 2017 articulation on Indo-Pacific was widely seen as something that would usher in a new (US-China) Cold War.This led to the Indian Prime Minister spelling out the Indian vision of Indo-Pacific during Shangri La Dialogue, as an enabler for “a common pursuit of progress and prosperity… not directed against any country… (albeit based on) our principled commitment to rule of law.” The PM of India felt that the vision can be translated into reality by SAMMAN (respect), SAMVAD (Dialogue), SHAYAOG (Cooperation), SHANTI (Peace) and SMARIDHI (Prosperity).Some of the relevant aspects of this address of the PM of India were as follows:-
- The region should be free and inclusive.
- Security and Growth for all in the Region- SAGAR.
- Free open and inclusive region.
- Centrality of ASEAN- unity in diversity.
- Equal Access under International Laws.
- No protectionism / debt burden
After negotiations which started during the 2017 ASEAN Summit held at Manila, the leaders of Australia, Japan, India and USA agreed to revive the QUAD. Consequently, India, Japan, and the United States continued to hold joint Naval Exercise, namely Exercise Malabar, which was joined by Australia in 2020.
Map-9: Vladivostok- Chennai Sea link
Source: Andrei I. Torin, “Interview: India-Russia Relations and the New World Order”, pub in the kootneeti.in dated 30 Jul 2019
However, it is probably just a beginning and it will take a while for QUAD to become an effective military alliance. In this connection the relevance of the IPR was further highlighted when the President Joe Biden in his telephonic conversation with the PM Modi discussed the free and open Indo-Pacific. Against the rising and assertive China’s efforts to dominate the region both leaders reiterated the necessity of working with like-minded countries to ensure a rule based international order and agreed to continue close cooperation to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific, including; freedom of navigation; territorial integrity and a stronger regional architecture through the Quad.India has her strategic interest in free movement in the IPR. During a 2019 visit to the Far Eastern port city of Vladivostok, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that New Delhi would provide a $1 billion loan to aid the region’s economic development. He also signed a memorandum to establish a direct maritime corridor between Chennai and Vladivostok.The new sea route is expected to cut the shipping time for goods between India and Russia to 24 days, versus 40 days via a European route.More recently, India has sought to bring Japan aboard its investment plans in the region. Last month, representatives from India, Japan and Russia concluded their first Track II or semi-official negotiations about joint Far East projects. The three countries identified energy, coal mining, diamond processing, forestry, agro-industry, transportation and pharmaceuticals as potential areas of cooperation.India’s interest in the Russian Far East is not purely economic, though. Nandan Unnikrishnan, a distinguished fellow at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi, told Nikkei Asia that Indian policymakers have watched with growing concern in recent years as Russia drew ever closer to China in response to worsening relations with the West.Yet, although India was the first country to open a consulate in Vladivostok in 1992, it has until now maintained a fairly low economic profile in the Far East. The most prominent Indian investment in the region came in 2001, when an overseas arm of the state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (OVL) purchased a 20% share in the $10 billion Sakhalin-1 project. Since then, major Indian investments in the Far East have been few and far between.But that has started to change as more Indian companies look abroad for new opportunities. Unnikrishnan explained that the Russian Far East is attractive to New Delhi because it has an abundance of energy and land suitable for agriculture — two resources that India will need in large amounts over the coming decades to sustain economic growth.Despite China’s objection Vietnam and India are also strengthening cooperation in the energy sector and also in the defence and security sector in IPR. Vietnam is looking forward to an investment of $11 billion in oil and Gas energy sector by ESSAR Exploration. ONGC Videsh (OVL) is also quite active in Vietnam. India has also extended a credit line of $100 million to Vietnam and L&T has built a high-speed boat for Vietnam.
Geopolitics of the Region– In Indo Pacific Region earlier security to smaller nations was being provided by USA/ India (in IOR) but with the rise of China in terms of its strengthening economy and assertiveness in terms of rising military power, which is closing the gap with the US has created a situation wherein an alternative to US/India (in IOR) to provide Security to smaller nations has emerged. It needs to be noted that China is able to offer substantial economic projects and military assistance in IOR & IPR in general and South Asia in particular. Increasing collaborations between China and island states such as Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, and Sri Lanka has threatened India’s assumed role of a security provider in IOR driving the Sino-Indian competition in the maritime domain. India’s own approach toward the Indo-Pacific is getting shaped by this new strategic reality, wherein Gap between China and India in terms of strategic assets and economy is also widening. While collaborations with bigger powers such as Australia, France, Japan, and the United States have provided a greater platform for New Delhi to expand its diplomatic footprint, its relationship with island nations will shape India’s role in the Indo-Pacific. Because of the locations of island states like; Maldives; Sri Lanka; Mauritius and Seychelles which have bearing on the maritime security ofIndia, their foreign policy choices will have a direct impact on New Delhi’s security environment. Similar would be the impact of the foreign policy choices of countries like Indonesia, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam to name a few who have bearing on economic and strategic interests of India in the maritime domain of IPR.As such India has adopted an Indo-Pacific strategy to manage a rising China in the region while strengthening partnerships with likeminded stake holders namely; Australia, India, Japan and USA to address a new security environment.The best possible option for India would be to improve interdependence with each one of them in terms of economic engagement.There are three key points shaping New Delhi’s new foreign policy approach. First, the Indo-Pacific is a theatre of opportunity for India where she can significantly expand its strategic and diplomatic footprint through collaborative initiatives. Second, island states and littoral states have played a bigger role in shaping India’s new security environment (no wonder India’s emphasis remains on groupings and initiatives like; Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), BIMSTEC; Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) and EX MILAN). The importance of these islands’ geographic location, has been truly identified by India and as such has now been factored in the strategic thinking of India. The implication of such a change in the strategic thinking has helped India to recognise the need to collaborate for the maritime security and not remain obsessed only with the security against land based aggressions to her sovereignty. Third, it needs to be understood that while Indo-Pacific Region may gradually be emerging as an area of interest to India but her primary focus to consolidate her area of influence will remain IOR.
Increasing Footprints of China in the IOR and IPR
The PLA Navy’s (PLAN’s) growing strength means that it is shaping up to be a formidable force to reckon with. This is complemented by China’s growing maritime ties with countries in the IOR and increasing naval presence in the region. Chinese research vessels and fishing boats have been seen in Indian Ocean, including in the Indian EEZ. In August 2020, an Indian Navy official was quoted as saying that there were “four to six Chinese research vessels known to be presently operating in the IOR. The Indian Ocean is important to China because Chinese trade and energy resources transit this route. So, it is natural that China might want to protect these SLOCs, but an expanded naval presence will also be a direct threat to India. As a result, India’s perception of the Indian Ocean has also changed. This became evident as early as March 2015, in speeches by Prime Minister Modi in Seychelles and Mauritius.During the visit the Prime Minister signed MoUs to develop infrastructure on Agalega Island in Mauritius and Assumption Island of Seychelles.
White Paper published by China in 2015 gives details of Chinese Military Strategy. The paper brought the issues of safeguarding of maritime interests, the security of overseas interests and the security of strategic SLOCs to the forefront, which are also designated as strategic tasks for its armed forces. Consequent to their appreciation of the threats in the maritime domain led to the modernisation of the PLAN and the increased frequency and intensity of naval exercises, as also in exhibition of other aspects of maritime power – like the assertive actions of the maritime militia, especially in the South China Sea. The adoption of a ‘strategic posture favourable to China’s peaceful development’ to tackle threats to China necessitates suitable maritime posturing, requiring not only military actions but supporting actions in other aspects of the maritime domain of the ‘Two Oceans’ – the strategic space deemed critical for China’s security. This posture is being built through visible and sustained naval presence, frequent naval interaction with resident states of the ‘Two Oceans’, building of dual-use maritime infrastructure and arms sales. The recent build-up of military facilities on land features in the South China Sea clearly demonstrate China’s assertiveness in bolstering this posture. China is also actively increasing its military cooperation by fostering new linkages with countries like Malaysia, Thailand, Djibouti and Bangladeshand further strengthening existing relations with Pakistan, Iran and others in the ‘Two Oceans’. In Pakistan besides Gwadar in Balochistan where the PLA is working at a war scale to establish a military base and use the Gwadar port and the Gwadar International Airport for its warships and fighter jets, China is also trying to acquire the islands of Buddhoo and Bundal belonging to Sindh.
Map-10: Buddo and Bundle Islands off Karachi
These islands will be the extensions of Karachi and Gwadar respectively. The objective of china appears to be strengthen its footholds in the Arabian Sea through a China-Pakistan maritime collaboration. Not only these China is carrying out feasibility studies of developing at least eight islands. It has been speculated by people in the know that if the work at Karachi and Gwadar continues at the current pace, the world will be seeing Chinese Submarine bases in the Arabian Sea during the next 3-4 years. China has also been pursuing a strategic deal with Iran since 2016. As per this proposed deal China will invest $400billion in Iran in next 25 years in energy and other sectors including port development. In return China will have access to heavily discounted supply of oil for next 25 years (75 % of her needs are met through import), Iran will become a crucial pivot of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), linking China to Europe. The accord will give China a foot hold in the region. A particular point of Chinese interest is port facilities at Bandar-e-Jask just outside the Strait of Hormuz along the coast of Sea of Oman, which will provide PLAN a greater reach. The PLAN has already visited and participated in military exercises many a times since 2014. It is mentioned in the White Paper published by China that the PLANwill now “gradually shift its focus from ‘offshore waters defence’ to the combination of ‘offshore waters defence’ with ‘open seas protection’”. The white paper also talks about the great importance which will be attached to managing the seas and oceans, and protecting maritime rights and interests. The increasing presence and visibility of PLAN actions in the IOR is intended to show its increasing assertiveness in the IOR.The 13thFive Year Plan (FYP) for economic and social development of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), approved in ,March 2016 had setout the goals and missions to be achieved by the PRC for the period 2016-2020. Prominent among these goals were those intended to develop China into a ‘strong maritime country’. As such establishment of a multi-dimensional global observation network is a priority maritime project in the FYP. Accordingly advancing the ‘construction of strategic maritime hubs along the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (MSR)’ is an important objective for the ‘development of international economic cooperation corridors’. This aspect is going to be further taken up during the 14th FYP as one of the objectives of this plan is going to be “To unify economic and military development”, which means continued civil-military fusion.
The recent events in Sri Lanka, wherein the Chinese have been handed over the operation of the Hambantota port, and in Gwadar, where they are being handed over large tracts of land by the Pakistani government – both touted as maritime hubs – gives credence to Chinese objective to dominate IOR. The FYP also states that China will participate in the building and operation of major ports along the road, and will develop Fujian as the core region for the MSR. The FYP also focuses on development of high-end equipment for deep- sea exploration.The data thus generated can be utilised for military purposes, especially for underwater operations. China understands the primacy of strengthening its ‘strategic posture’ in its immediate neighbourhood and is therefore focusing on the South China Sea and the Western Pacific. The Indian Ocean has presently been a secondary area for the Chinese and as such has been accorded a possibly lower priority. Consequently, Chinese naval presence in the Indian Ocean has been limited to a rather small fleet of about two-three ships of the PLAN, but China has been gradually increasing its commercial activity in the region – especially in the development of ports and sale of arms. As the PLAN grows in size – its increased presence in larger numbers is likely to follow, leading to a need of more robust strategic posture intended to secure its interests in the IOR. In the interim, China will maintain a strategic posture in IOR and will deploy assets and carry out activities as it deems necessary to assert its legitimacy.
The IOR in recent times is becoming the home of a contest between India and China.China with its deep pockets but with opaque business practices has made aggressive moves to advance its strategic interests in the region, particularly by gaining access to military bases and strategic ports. Sri Lanka is a prime example of application of such a business strategy of China, where Chinese companies gained access to the country’s port in Hambantota in a 99-year lease as Sri Lanka failed to pay off a nearly $1.1 billion debt to China.It is significant to note that the , data from the Center for Global Development shows that four countries in the IOR, namely Djibouti, Laos, Maldives, and Pakistan, are getting into the debt trap of China.Actions of trapping these countries in debt trap when seen in the context of China’s Military Base coming up in Djibouti, it becomes clear that China is attempting to encircle India, in what is described as the String of pearls in the sphere of interest of India.Indeed, As such India is making sure that China should not be allowed replicate the pattern it used in the South China Sea and challenge territorial claims and international norms of freedom of navigation in the IOR.
INDIA’S RISING PROFILE IN THE INDIAN OCEAN REGION
India has recognized the growing Chinese activity in the IOR and has already taken steps aimed at countering Chinese deployments. Indian Navy has taken a conscious decision to enhance its presence in the IOR.India has gone for agreements with a number of littoral states in the IOR to access for the Indian Navy in the military bases of these countries. The important agreements are for Deep sea port of Sabang in Indonesia and Duqm in Oman.India has also gone for agreements with France and the United States through logistics agreements, which grant India access to port facilities at the U.S. base on Diego Garciaand the French base on Reunion Island.France has called for the creation of a “Paris-New Delhi-Canberra” axis in the Indo-Pacific to hedge against rising influence of China in the IOR.Indian Navy has also been holding bi-yearly multilateral naval exercises called “Milan” in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands with littoral states of IOR.From a humble beginning in 1995 when only four countries had participated in this exercise in 2018 it has become 39 delegates from 16 countries.There is yet another exercise; Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC), sailing alongside the Australian, Japanese, and U.S. naval forces. An important grouping which has started taking shape is QUAD (More about it has already been discussed in an earlier sanction). The Malabar Ex under its aegis has been held since 1992. Initially it was a bilateral exercise between Indian Navy and US Navy. Japan Maritime Self-defence Force joined in this exercise in 2015 and finally Australia joined in 2020. One issue which India needs to address is the investment in creating hard power/ assets. However as compared to other stakeholder powers in IOR India currently spends far less. Budgetary allocations for 2021-22 is ₹33,253.55 crore, as against the revised estimates for 2020-21 being ₹37,542.88 crore, which as can be seen is a significant decline despite enhanced threat.It is only 14% which is lowest amongst the three services. India as compared to other members of the QUAD and also China is spending less on Defence in general and Navy in particular. The United States leads the pack, spending nearly 30% of its military expenditure on its navy,while Australia and Japan spend nearly 25% and 23%,respectively. Official numbers from China are hard to obtain, but reports indicate that China spends nearly three times as much as India on its military overall.A combination of cooperation with other stake holders and investing in building hard power is necessary to counter China’s coercive strategy is the way ahead. However a comparative analysis is as tabulated below clearly brings out that India needs to walk the talk:-
Table 1: Comparison of Defence Expenditure (2019/ 2020) of QUAD Countries and China
|Country||Expenditure (in USD billion)/Percentage of GDP||Expenditure (as % of GDP)|
|Japan||51.7 (for Fiscal 2021) Auth: Daily SABAH 21 Dec 2020|
|Australia||42.7/ 2.19 (for fiscal 2020-21) Auth: https://www.aspi.org.au/report/cost-defence-2020-2021-part-2-aspi-defence-budget-brief|
Sources: “SIPRI Military Expenditure Database”, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, 2019 and PRS.
This approach of not allocating adequate funds for the modernisation/ expansion of Indian Navy needs review. As per an Indian Navy appreciation India needs to become a 200- ship navy by 2027,as against the current holding of 137 ships.Among the new ships scheduled to join the Indian Navy by early 2022 is an indigenously built Air Craft Carrier VIKRANT. India also has plans to develop a class of aircraft carriers to follow VIKRANT.Indian Navy has further outlined plans to procure 57 carrier-based fighter jets, as well as modernize its submarine fleet with a new Arihant-class of nuclear-powered attack vessels.However, its needs to be noted that the under-allocation means that India’s navy is severely limiting the capability of the Indian Navy to deter PLAN specially in the Andaman & Nicobar Command, the first Tri-service Theatre Command of Indian Armed Forces. With its present assets is more of a logistic Command rather than a potent force to deter PLAN in Malacca Strait Region. There is a definite need to improve its offensive assets and also assets needed for enhancing surveillance capability. The recent acquisition on lease of two remotely piloted MQ9 Predator ‘B’ Sea Guardian from the United States, a step in right direction. This capability is going to be further boosted with the arrival of four P-81maritime patrolling Aircrafts during the current year.
In 1924, Karl Haushofer coined the term “Pacific age,” envisaging the growth of Japan, China and India.. Over a period of time things kept getting evolved and in in 1988 Deng Xiaoping the supreme leader of the PRC used the phrase Asian Centuryfor future growth area in the world,during his meeting with the then Prime Minister of India; Sri Rajiv Gandhi. That vision is gradually turning into reality in recent years, as people have started saying that the next century will be the century of Asia and the Pacific.The shift of focus in worldview from a Euro-Atlantic to an Indo-Pacific perspective and the repositioning of the global economic and military power towards Asia has resulted in significant political, economic and social changes in the IOR and the same has impacted India’s maritime environment in tangible ways. Few ground realities; which need to be taken into account are resource richness of the IOR in general and Indian EEZ in particular; increased maritime traffic between energy rich Middle East and energy markets of China, South Korea and Japan in IPR; the uneven growth of prosperity of the littoral states have given rise to piracy in the region; yet another area where considerable advancements have come about is the domain of technology which will impact the speed and nature of the manifestation of the threat to the existing system and also the response strategy of the littoral states. In fact , a terrorist attack of the kind of 26/11 in 2008 from seaside, added yet another dimension to the threat calculus of India in terms of coastal and offshore security. All this has made the maritime domain of India quite complex due to both traditional and non- traditional threats to India in this domain. This new security situation calls for a new organizational structure or reoriented/ improved existing structure to empower it to meet the new challenges.Organizational changes alone may not be sufficient, what probably is needed is the review of the working methodology and attended capacity building of the force.
With the realisation thatthe economy is an important determinant of the comprehensive national power the safety security of the long coast line of the country and the optimal exploitation of the country’s EEZ is increasingly becoming important. Also related issue is to develop the nation’s capacity and capability to provide support in terms of Humanitarian Assistance and the Disaster Relief (HADR), training and where necessary in terms of military support and assurance to littoral states of the region with whom India wishes to improve the trade relations.
China with its $ 14.7 trillion economy, an advanced manufacturing capability and proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects is presently able to develop relationship with a number of countries of the region and therefore China is threat in more than one ways that India needs to remain cognizant of. China as explained earlier in the paper is quite concerned about the passage of her commercial interests in the IOR because of Indian Navy being a dominant force in the region as such she has been making a concerted effort to increase her foot print in the IOR besides finding more permanent solutions to her Malacca Dilemma. In IPR which she considers her own back yard particularly the South China Sea and as such is prepared to use a combination of coercive and aid based support strategy. It needs to be clearly appreciated that it would be difficult for India to match this strategy all by herself and therefore India needs to invest in not only strengthening the QUAD. The message from the QUAD summit that emerged was that QUAD Grouping is advocating a need for free, open rules-based order, rooted in international law to advance security and prosperity and counter threats to both in the Indo-Pacific and beyond, the key agenda which attracted global attention was collective response to COVID-19 pandemic in terms of synergizing the vaccination efforts for humanity, with India as manufacturing hub, assisted by others to roll out one billion vaccines by 2020. The other two issues of working groups being emerging critical technologies and climate change.Needless to add here that these messages were, if rattled China, which is quite clear from the statements coming out of China, were highly reassuring for the ASEAN countries as well as other smaller countries in the IPR, who are quite concerned about the coercive tactics of China specially due to her actions in Hong Kong & against various countries in the South China Sea, suspected role in the spread of COVID-19 and perception of many of the beneficiaries of the BRI initiative about it being a bet trap. Therefore it is felt that the QUAD will be able challenge the hegemonistic approach of China. In fact India needs to work for QUAD plus to further enhance the degree of difficulty of China in IPR. Therefore time is ripe for India to interact more actively with the littoral states of the IOR and IPR and employ maritime security engagement as an instrument of foreign policy initiatives.
Some of the areas which need attention to ensure maritime security of India are as follows:-
- Enhancing the capability of Indian Navy to improve its response capacity in terms of hardware assets, time and infrastructural build up. Indian Navy needs to be fully transformed to a network centric force with a very high capability for surveillance and maritime domain awareness. Capability for interoperability with other navies of friendly foreign countries need to be further improved.
- In Sep 2001, the Andaman &Nicobar Command (ANC) was formed with its HQ at Port Blair as a Tri -service command with ICG Region (Andaman a& Nicobar)placed under its command (ICG region is basically to ensure marine law enforcement, coastal patrol, marine border protection, marine search and rescue. Its jurisdiction is over the territorial waters including its contiguous zone and the EEZ). It is essential that it is further strengthened in terms of not only naval assets but also the air and army assets with a view to improve India’s response capability in Andaman Sea, Ten Degree Channel and the Six Degree Channel. In this connection augmenting the assets of theANC and infrastructural build-up in the A&N Islands specially in Great Nicobar Island , Car Nicobar, Kamorta Islands and in the North Andaman is absolutely inescapable. Similar exercise needs to be done in the Lakshadweep and Minicoy Islands by establishing an independent Command. Alternatively entire Western Sea Front can be brought under one organisation to safeguard Indian interests there and also dominate IOR.
- Indian Navy needs to be empowered to increasingly become a multidimensional forceto enhance India’s reach in the IPR through military diplomacy. Ex Milan and a number of CORPATS already in place need further strengthening. In terms of cooperation for HADR and response against terrorism and piracy.
- India buys the most defence arms globally (1990-2019), followed by Saudi Arabia and China. At the same time, India is at the 38th position in arms exports (1990-2019).There is a need to ramp up indigenous production capability as a part of ATMA NIRBHAR Bharat initiative with a view to ensure better value for the money earmarked for arms procurement and also become free from arm twisting by the Arms Supplying countries.
- For coastal security and off shore patrolling, there is a need to invest in developing an effective marine police which works in close cooperation with the Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard. Necessary command and control structure needs to be evolved so that response to any incident inimical to national interests comes to light in real time and the proportionate response is given at the earliest.
For a very long time, India has remained concerned with the threats from her land borders in North West, North, North East and East. The Incident of 26/11 has broken the myth of safe maritime domain in South. Also the wealth of resources in the EEZ has put an additional responsibility on the Security Setup of the country to safeguard these national assets. Therefore it is important that India comes out with a Comprehensive Maritime Doctrine to safe guard her strategic interests in the maritime domain.
Disclaimer: The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the organisation that he belongs to or of the STRIVE.
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63ShauryaKaranbir Gurung (2020), “Alarm over Chinese research ships in Indian Ocean Region,” The Economic Times, 30 January 2020.
64 Visit of Prime Minister to Seychelles, Mauritius and Sri Lanka (March 10-14, 2015) dated 06 Mar 2015 uploaded on https://mea.gov.in/press -releases. htm?dtl/24883/visit+of+Prime+Minister+to+Seychelles+Mauritius+and+Sri+Lanka+March+1014+2015%20
65Sandeep Unnithan, “India obtains two strategically toeholds in the Indian Ocean”, India Today, 27 Mar 2015
66 “China’s Military Strategy” released by The State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China and pub by Xinhua dated 27 May 2015 and uploaded on http://english.www.gov.cn/archive/white_paper/2015/05/27/content_281475115610833.htm
67 Manish Shukla, “China builds military base in Pakistan’s Gwadar, sparks discontent in Balochistan” and pub by ZEE News dated 24 Dec 2021 and uploaded on https://zeenews.india.com/world/china-building-military-base-in-gwadar-fencing-around-gwadar-ignites-discontent-in-balochistan-2332610.html
68Manish Shukla, “Pakistan planning to gift 2 Sindh islands to China on a platter, here’s why”, pub in The DNA, dated 25 Oct 2020 and uploaded on https://www.dnaindia.com/world/report-pakistan-planning-to-gift-2-sindh-islands-to-china-on-a-platter-here-s-why-2852122
69 Maj Gen Ajay Kumar Chaturvedi, “Sino- Iran Proposed Accord: China’s Expansionism Continues”, pub by Vivekananda International Foundation dated 19 Aug 2020.
71 Outline of the PRC 13thFive-Year Plan (FYP, 2016-2020) on National Economic and Social Development uploaded by The US- China Business Council on https://www.uschina.org/sites/default/files/Outline%20of%20the%20PRC%2013th%20Five-Year%20Plan%20%28FYP%202016-2020%29.pdf
72 “China Releases Broad Outline of 14th Five Year Plan Objectives”, pub by Wiley dated 30 Oct 2020 and uploaded on http://www.wiley.law/alert-China-Releases-Broad-Outline-of-14th-Five-Year-Plan-Objectives
73 Richard Rossow and Hemant Krishan Singh, “Re-shaping India-US Defence Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific,” The Diplomat, last modified August 24, 2018, https://thediplomat. com/2018/08/re-shaping-india-us-defense-cooperation-in-the-indo-pacific/.
74 Kai Schultz, “Sri Lanka, Struggling with Debt, Hands a Major Port to China,” New York Times, last modified December 12, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/12/world/asia/sri-lan- ka-china-port.html.
75John 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, 28, March 2018, https://www.cgdev.org/sites/default/files/examining-debt-im- plications-belt-and-road-initiative-policy-perspective.pdf.
76 Andrew Jacobs and Jane Perlez, “U.S. Wary of Its New Neighbor in Djibouti: A Chinese Naval Base,” New York Times, last modified February 25, 2017, https://www.nytimes. com/2017/02/25/world/Africa /us-djibouti-chinese-naval-base.html.
77 Nirmala Ganapathy, Nirmala, “India Increases Its Presence in Indian Ocean, with an Eye on China,” Straits Times, last modified November 8, 2017, https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/ south-asia/india-increases-its-presence-in-indian-ocean-with-an-eye-on-china.
78 Pramit Pal Chaudhuri, “Indonesia Gives India Access to Strategic Port of Sabang,” Hindustan Times, last modified May 17, 2018, https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/indone- sia-gives-india-access-to-strategic-port-of-sabang/story-KPXWKy7PGAHFUi0jCL26yJ.html.
79 Ankit Panda, “India Gains Access to Oman’s Duqm Port, Putting the Indian Ocean Geopolitical Contest in the Spotlight,” The Diplomat, last modified February 14, 2018, https://thediplo- mat.com/2018/02/india-gains-access-to-omans-duqm-port-putting-the-indian-ocean-geopo-litical-contest-in-the-spotlight/.
80Ankit Panda, “India, US Sign Logistics Exchange Agreement: What You Need to Know,” The Diplomat, last modified August 30, 2016, https://thediplomat.com/2016/08/india-us-sign-logistics-exchange-agreement-what-you-need-to-know/.
81 Press Trust of India, “India, France Sign Strategic Pact on Use of Each Other’s Military Bases,” Times of India, last modified March 10, 2018, https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/india- france-sign-strategic-pact-on-use-of-each-others-military-bases/articleshow/63248889.cms.
82“Macron Wants Strategic Paris-Delhi-Canberra Axis amid Pacific Tension,” Reuters, last modified May 2, 2018, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-australia-france/ma- cron-wants-strategic-paris-delhi-canberra-axis-amid-pacific-tension-idUSKBN1I330F.
83 Indian Navy, “Andaman & Nicobar Command to Host Milan 2018,” news release, February 26, 2018, https://www.indiannavy.nic.in/content/andaman-nicobar-command-host-mi- lan-2018.
84Indian Navy, “RIMPAC 2018,” https://www.indiannavy.nic.in/content/rimpac-2018-1.
85 A PTI Report, “Second phase of Malabar exercise begins in northern Arabian Sea”, pub in The Hindu dated 17 Nov 2020.
86 Manvendra Singh, “Budget again shows Navy is India’s forgotten Service. While China marches to 2049 mega plan”, pub in The Print dated 03 Feb 21 and uploaded on https://theprint.in/opinion/budget-again-shows-navy-is-indias-forgotten-service-while-china-marches-to-2049-mega-plan/597590/
87 A PRS Legislative Research Report, “Demand for Grants 2021-22 Analysis : Defence”, uploaded on https://prsindia.org/budgets/parliament/demand-for-grants-2021-22-analysis-defence
88 Laxman K. Behara, “India’s Defence Budget 2017-18: An Analysis,” Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, February 3, 2017, https://idsa.in/issuebrief/india-defence-bud- get-2017-18_lkbehera_030217.
89 Defence Budget Overview,” Office of the Under Secretary of Defence (Comptroller) Chief Financial Officer, p. 7-12, May 2017, https://comptroller.defense.gov/Portals/45/Documents/ defbudget/fy2018/fy2018_Budget_Request_Overview_Book.pdf.
90 Franz-Stefan Gady, “Australia’s Defence Budget to Jump 81% over Next Decade,” The Diplo- mat, last modified February 26, 2016, https://thediplomat.com/2016/02/australias-defense- budget-to-jump-81-over-next-decade/.
91 Michael Green, “Fixed Budget, Dynamic Defence in Japan,” Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, last modified March 18, 2015, https://amti.csis.org/fixed-budget-dynamic-defense-in-japan/
92 ShauryaKaranbir Gurung, “China Defence Budget $175 Billion; India’s $45 Billion,” Economic Times, last modified March 6, 2018, https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/chi- na-boosts-defence-spending-amid-military-modernisation/articleshow/63165907.cms
93 Press Trust of India, “Indian Navy Aiming at 200-ship Fleet by 2027,” Economic Times, last modified July 14, 2018, https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/indian-navy- aiming-at-200-ship-fleet-by-2027/articleshow/48072917.cms.
94 Indian Navy, “’Vikrant’- Navy’s First Indigenous Aircraft Carrier Launched,” Indian Navy, https://www.indiannavy.nic.in/content/vikrant-navys-first-indigenous-aircraft-carri- er-launched.
95, 2010, https://idsa.in/idsacomments/IndiasFutureAircraftCarri- er Force and the Need for Strategic Flexibility_irehman_01061
96 Manu Pubby, “With Six New Nuclear Attack Submarines, India Officially Opens up Its Undersea Aspirations,” Economic Times, last modified July 14, 2018, https://economictimes. indiatimes.com/news/defence/with-six-new-nuclear-attack-submarines-india-official- ly-opens-up-on-its-undersea-aspirations/articleshow/48076623.cms.
97 Raaj Nair, “Eye in the Sky for Indian Navy- Sea Guardians”, pub in the Financial Express dated 30 Nov 2020.
98 Shishir Gupta, “Four sub-killer P-8I craft coming to India next year, then talks for six more”, pub in Hindustan Times New Delhi dated 21 Jul 2020.
99 An internet upload: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asian_Century
100 Evelyn Cheng and Yen Nee Lee, “New chart shows China could overtake the U.S. as the world’s largest economy earlier than expected”, pub in CNBC dated 31 Jan 2021 uploaded on https://www.cnbc.com/2021/02/01/new-chart-shows-china-gdp-could-overtake-us-sooner-as-covid-took-its-toll.html
101 Major General SB Asthana, “QUAD Summit 2021: Why is China Rattled”, pub by Financial Express dated 14 Mar 2021.
102 An internet upload: https://english.jagran.com/india/india-was-worlds-largest-arms-importer-from-1990-to-2019-sipri-report-10020982