India’s nuanced approach in the South China Sea

Syllabus: GS-II, Subject: International Relations, Topic: India’s foreign policy, Issue: South China sea

Evolution of India’s South China Policy:

  • New Delhi’s Indo-Pacific engagement began with the Look East Policy, emphasizing economic integration and energy security.
  • PM Narendra Modi’s administration shifted to the Act East Policy, prioritizing strategic partnerships and security cooperation.
  • The Act East Policy involves expanded security cooperation with Indo-Pacific nations such as Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines.
  • India bolstered its capabilities through forward positioning, deployments, and enhanced maritime domain awareness.
  • India’s stance on the South China Sea is influenced by its complex relationship with China, characterized by border disputes and the Galwan Valley incident.
  • India demonstrated its deterrence capabilities by sending a frontline warship to the South China Sea.


  • New Delhi’s strategic recalibration is prompted by the critical importance of the South China Sea to regional security and the global maritime order.
  • Disputes in the South China Sea affect freedom of navigation, crucial for India’s trade and energy transportation.
  • India, as a responsible stakeholder in the Indo-Pacific, must take clear positions on such crucial matters.
  • India’s nuanced approach in the South China Sea demonstrates its commitment to regional stability, security, and respect for international law in the Indo-Pacific.
+1 advantage for mains (Statements)

Joint Statements by India and Philippines

·          2023 – Called upon China to adhere to the rules-based maritime order and acknowledge the International Court of Justice ruling favoring Manila.

·          2024-India declared full support for Manila’s national sovereignty.


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