India has an expansive maritime strategy. Driven by great power aspirations and by strategic rivalry with China, India is expanding its naval capabilities and security relationships throughout the Indian Ocean region. India has paid significant attention to developing relationships at the key points of entry into the Indian Ocean - the Malacca Strait, the Persian Gulf and southern Africa. The purpose of this article is to examine India's maritime ambitions and relationships in the Indian Ocean and ask whether this may presage an extended Indian sphere of influence in the region. This article will consider India's strategic ambitions in the Indian Ocean. It will commence with an overview of the growth of maritime perspectives in Indian strategic thinking and the expansion of India's naval capabilities against a backdrop of Sino-Indian strategic rivalry. It will review some of India's key security relationships in the Indian Ocean and then consider the potential for the development of an Indian sphere of interest across the Indian Ocean region. What might this mean for littoral and other states as India emerges as a major regional power?
|Published - 2010