India has, since 1998, signed “strategic partnership” agreements with 30 countries and organisations, ranging from Afghanistan and ASEAN to Uzbekistan and UAE
What does the term ‘strategic’ means in international relations?
The term “strategic” in international relations implies a convergence of interests in areas of security, economics and foreign affairs
Indian maritime outreach to US
It is a trilateral naval exercise involving the United States, Japan and India as permanent partners
- Started as a bilateral exercise: Originally a bilateral exercise between India and the United States, Japan became a permanent partner in 2015
- Past non-permanent participants are Australia and Singapore
- Began in 1992: The annual Malabar series began in 1992 and includes diverse activities, ranging from fighter combat operations from aircraft carriers through Maritime Interdiction Operations Exercises
Author appreciates the current policy dispensation of the present government wherein ‘Look East’ was replaced by ‘Act East’ but he goes further and states that SAGAR should now be the recurring theme in Indian maritime diplomacy
What is SAGAR?
It is a phrase which means Security and Growth for All in the Region. Region here refers to the IOR
What is IOR?
The Indian Ocean Rim is a region comprised of the states whose shores are washed by the waters of the Indian Ocean. The region is home to about two billion people
IOR Countries Source Wiki
- It is a region of much cultural diversity and richness – in languages, religions, raditions, arts and cuisines. The countries of the Indian Ocean Rim vary considerably in terms of their areas, populations and levels of economic development
- They may also be divided into a number of sub-regions (Australasia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, West Asia and Eastern & Southern Africa), each with their own regional groupings (such as ASEAN, SAARC, GCC and SADC, to name a few)
Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA)
The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) is an international organization with 21 Member States – Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, UAE and Yemen
Author states that government need to bear in mind that while visionary leaders may strategise on a grand scale, their policies will be only as good as the implementation on ground by bureaucrats, technocrats and diplomats
Coining of the term Indo-pacific
The term Indo-Pacific was coined by young IN captain, Gurpreet Khurana, in a 2007 essay, wherein he visualised the linking of the Indian Ocean with the Western Pacific, across the Malacca Straits, to form a seamless economic and security continuum
- It was offered as an alternative to the “Asia-Pacific” paradigm which included only Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific islands, and terminated at the Malacca Straits, leaving out India. Despite the scepticism of Indian diplomats, the term seems to be here to stay
Quad: What is it?
India-Australia-Japan-US quadrilateral (or Quad) dialogue has been referred to as Quad
Necessity of the Quad
- Ensuring the safety of international shipping involves anti-piracy operations, maritime interdiction and cooperative maritime domain awareness
- Natural calamities and man-made crises may call for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, non-combatant evacuation, and search and rescue operations
As, no single nation or navy can hope to provide all this, therein comes the utility of the Quad
Holding off China: Revitalizing our defence
Author states that China need not worry about the Quad and it is quite possible that the Quad might include other members in future but at the same time following needs to be done by India to rise up to China,
- India must boost its military muscle by urgently modernizing the armed forces
- India must attain true “strategic autonomy” through an infusion of advanced technology for its defence-industrial complex