The Western Indo-Pacific: India, China, and the Terms of Engagement

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    An active Chinese strategic presence in the Indian Ocean is no longer merely the stuff of speculation. India and other resident powers need to not only adjust to this reality but also exploit their geographic and diplomatic advantages to encourage China to operate in these waters cooperatively, not unilaterally. India could do this through a combination of further bolstering its own maritime capabilities, sustaining its capacity building for smaller island states, and deepening defense cooperation with such partners as the United States, Australia, Japan, France, and Indonesia. These steps could be augmented by the reinforcement of regional diplomatic institutions and visible efforts to engage China in security cooperation and dialogue, such as on transnational issues like search and rescue or noncombatant evacuations. This analysis begins with an assessment of China’s expanding interests and presence in the Indian Ocean, followed by a summary of India’s perspectives and responses. It concludes with some broad recommendations regarding the right mix of capabilities, posture, and partnerships for India to manage the impact of an inevitable Chinese role in its maritime neighborhood.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)61-67pp
    JournalAsia Policy
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


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