China-India and Maritime Security: A Contest for Power and Influence in the Indian Ocean

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    Strategic competition between India and China has the potential to profoundly affect the stability and security of the Indo-Pacific. The countries’ relationship in the maritime realm is part of a broader relationship that includes elements of cooperation, coexistence, and competition. But there are also factors that tend to give the maritime security relationship its own, often negative, dynamic. Delhi considers itself the leading Indian Ocean state and a natural leader of the Indian Ocean region (IOR) and as the regional security manager of South Asia. It takes a somewhat proprietorial attitude toward the Indian Ocean, perceiving the presence of extra-regional powers, particularly China, as essentially illegitimate. In contrast, Beijing is assertively expanding its economic, political, and military role in the Indian Ocean and refuses to recognize India’s claims for a special role in the region. These factors are leading to what may become a protracted contest for dominance in the Indian Ocean. As India’s national power grows while China’s presence in the IOR expands and as the US presence likely declines in the long term, there is a real risk that the interactions between India and China will become ever more competitive. The chapter is organized in four sections. The first deals with India’s strategic aspirations in the IOR. The second turns to China’s growing role in the region. The third engages India’s response to China. The final section relates to the future of Sino-Indian strategic competition in the maritime realm.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of China-India Relations
    Editors Kanti Bajpai, Selina Ho and Manjari Chatterjee Miller
    Place of PublicationOxon
    ISBN (Print)9781138545939
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


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