All eyes are now on the Indian Ocean region

Syllabus: GS II, Subject: International Relations, Topic: India’s Foreign Policy, Issue: Indian Ocean region

Geopolitical situation in Indian Ocean:

  • Maldives is strengthening its relationship with China.
  • Sri Lanka imposed a yearlong moratorium on foreign research ships, including Chinese vessels, showing sensitivity to India’s security concerns.
  • India and Mauritius inaugurated a new airstrip and jetty in the Agaléga Islands under India’s SAGAR policy.

Recent developments in Indian Ocean:

  • Diversion of Merchant shipping traffic to Indian Ocean amid Israel-Houthi conflict.
  • China’s quest for naval bases, with existing presence in Djibouti, Kyaukphyu, Gwadar, and Hambantota.
  • Ambiguity in European nations’ stand toward China’s aggressive actions due to geographical distance.
  • Underperformance of Indian Ocean Rim Association and risk of losing a key member(Maldives) in Colombo Security Conclave.

The way ahead:

  • Prioritize the Indian Ocean region within Indo-Pacific responsibilities.
  • Encouraging the formation of a new mechanism like the Indian Ocean Cooperation Organization to enhance maritime security and boost the Blue Economy.
  • Increase budgetary allocations to bolster the Navy capabilities
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