Licchavi Lyceum


Licchavi Lyceum

Geopolitics of Indian Ocean realm

Geopolitics of the Indian Ocean Realm: Strategic Significance and Challenges

The Indian Ocean region (IOR) is one of the world’s most significant geopolitical regions, connecting the Middle East, Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Australia. It is home to over 2.7 billion people and encompasses critical sea lanes for global trade and energy supplies. The IOR’s strategic importance has increased in recent years due to geopolitical, economic, and security developments.

Strategic Significance
The IOR is vital for global trade, with almost two-thirds of the world’s oil passing through its waters. The region is also a vital hub for international shipping and commercial activity, with major ports in India, Sri Lanka, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates. The IOR’s strategic importance is also due to the presence of several critical chokepoints, including the Strait of Hormuz, Bab-el-Mandeb, and the Strait of Malacca.

The IOR faces significant geopolitical, economic, and security challenges. The region has been prone to conflict and instability, including piracy, terrorism, and maritime disputes. Maritime territorial disputes in the South China Sea have raised tensions and impacted regional security. The rise of China’s military and economic power in the region has also raised concerns among Indian policymakers and other countries in the region.

India’s Role
India is a significant player in the IOR, given its strategic location and growing economic and military power. India’s “Look East” policy has allowed it to deepen its engagement with Southeast Asia and strengthen regional cooperation through initiatives such as the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA). India is also cooperating with other regional powers such as Japan, Australia, and the United States to maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific.

China’s Role
China’s growing presence in the IOR has raised concerns about its strategic interests and its impact on regional stability. China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) includes several IOR countries, including Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives. The BRI has raised concerns about debt traps and increased Chinese influence in the region. China’s growing military presence in the region has also raised concerns among other countries in the region.

The IOR’s strategic importance is likely to increase as global economic and security dynamics evolve. The region’s challenges, including piracy, terrorism, and maritime territorial disputes, require regional cooperation and engagement. India’s growing role in the region and its partnerships with other regional powers are likely to play a significant role in shaping the IOR’s geopolitical dynamics. As the region continues to evolve, it is likely to remain a vital geopolitical region with important implications for global politics and security.