With Eye on China, India Moves to Expand Indian Ocean Maritime Influence

With Eye on China, India Moves to Expand Indian Ocean Maritime Influence

In early March, India’s national security adviser announced that Mauritius and Seychelles had expressed an interest in joining the trilateral maritime security cooperation arrangement among India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives known as IO-3. Should they join, it would mean the consolidation of an Indian maritime domain awareness network in the island states of the Indian Ocean region (IOR) where India has historically had influence.

However, while these island states look to India to meet nontraditional security threats, India sees them primarily as sites for sensor chains that can monitor Chinese naval movements in the IOR. Indeed, India’s embrace of the role of “net security provider” in the region implies that it would retain the option of undertaking punitive operations against encroachments into its sphere of interest.

The inclusion of Mauritius and Seychelles in IO-3—which could subsequently be renamed IO-5—would essentially be a multilateralization of the substantive bilateral security arrangements India already has with these two countries. The Indian military is already quite engaged in training and capacity-building activities with Mauritius and Seychelles in a manner similar to what it does for Maldives and Sri Lanka. Last year, for instance, India transferred a Dornier-228 maritime surveillance aircraft to Seychelles; meanwhile Indian coast guard Dornier flights have kept overwatch of the island’s exclusive economic zone since 2011. India has also given military equipment to Mauritius, such as a patrol boat that was displayed during a joint India-Mauritius military exercise in 2013. As part of this multilateralization, Mauritius and Seychelles will become participants in the DOSTI series of coast guard exercises that currently features IO-3 partners with a focus on maritime search and rescue, marine pollution control, medical evacuation, antipiracy and boarding operations.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review