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HomeGeopolitical CompassSouth & Southeast AsiaIndia in the Indo-Pacific: New Delhi’s Theater of Opportunity

India in the Indo-Pacific: New Delhi’s Theater of Opportunity

Author: Darshana M. Baruah

Affiliation: Carnegie, India

Organization/Publisher: Carnegie, India 

Date/Place: June 30, 2020/ India

Type of Literature: Working Paper

Number of Pages: 42


Keywords: Indo-Pacific, Maritime, China, Geopolitics, Asia-Pacific


Strong influence in the maritime realm is considered as the basic ingredient to be a regional hegemon. The rise of China in both economic and military power, exerting its influence in Asia-Pacific, South Asia, Middle East, and North Africa, threatens the international status-quo. This article focuses on the Indo-Pacific region and on India as a source of containment against Chinese political and economic expansion. According to this study, India’s role in the maritime domain to counter China is continuously supported by Australia, the United States, Japan, and France. Meanwhile, India since the last decade has not only enhanced its economic ability but also its military capabilities—specifically the induction of a state-of-the-art Aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya in its naval force. Previously, security in the Indian Ocean was not part of India’s larger foreign policy domain; this vacuum was filled by China and its close cooperation with regional states in pushing away New-Delhi from this complex competition. Meanwhile, the US is continuously challenging China’s claims in the South China Sea by its naval presence and joint exercises with Australia, Japan, and other ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) states. This study focuses on India’s new foreign policy under Prime Minister Modi and its approach towards the Indo-Pacific. The author concludes that it would be difficult if not impossible for India to challenge China’s maritime capacities in the Indian Ocean. Moreover, cooperation with developing and least-developed states around the Indian Ocean is a priority along with collaboration with the US, Australia, France, and Japan.

By: Muhammad Taimoor Bin Tanveer, CIGA Research Associate



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