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Examining Sino-Indian maritime competition, part I

9 Dec 2013
Description

This study examines the reasons for the enhancement of Chinese and Indian naval capability, to determine if these are benign or otherwise.

Summary

To protect their growing economies, China and India have securitised their sea-borne trade routes by enhancing their naval prowess, which act enhances their seapower. This enhancement, however, causes each other concern by making each suspicious of the other’s intention. Thus, they further strengthen their navies, leading to a cycle of enhanced naval power and growing suspicion.

For strategic reasons – sometimes referred to as the logic of their growth – China and India deploy – or plan to deploy – their navies near each other’s maritime borders. China is creating strategic relationships with littoral states in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and India does likewise, with the same states and others in the East and South China Seas. This leads each to further debate the other’s intentions to understand how those may impact upon their own interests. What remains unclear to the independent observer, however, is whether the intention of both countries in developing their navies is defensive or if each has an underlying agenda for its naval enhancement.

This study, therefore, will examine the reasons for the enhancement of Chinese and Indian naval capability, to determine if these are benign or otherwise.

Key points

  • The re-emergence of China and India has forced a re-evaluation of geo-strategic paradigms.
  • Their growth has led to competition between the two states. It has also led to the growth and modernisation of their respective navies.
  • This modernisation, each claims, is to protect their economies, but each, however, remains suspicious of the other’s strategic motivations.
Publication Details
Published year only: 
2013
12
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