Russia: national involvement in the Indian Ocean Region

28 Jun 2013


Russia’s strength in energy resources has led to its re-emergence as a key influential state. The growth in Russian energy exports has widened its influence from its immediate sphere to much larger regional matters. As a result, Moscow is now increasing its activities in the Indian Ocean region, especially expanding its relationship with India. The trilateral relationship between India, China and Russia, through the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation, has the potential to moderate any future regional conflict, while hopefully encouraging economic integration for the benefit of the countries involved. Internal problems, on the other hand, exemplified by rampant corruption, constitute a barrier blocking future Russian economic development. Addressing these concerns will allow Russia to project power beyond its immediate neighbourhood, into the Indian Ocean and perhaps beyond.

Key points

  • Russia’s economic growth and stability are tied to the revenues from its energy commodities.
  • Large-scale corruption must be addressed if Russia is to compete successfully with Europe and China.
  • Russia’s political and military growth has seen its influence spread beyond its immediate neighbourhood; one aim is to be more involved in the Indian Ocean.
  • Russia’s relationships with China and India are likely to be major determining factors in any Russian expansion. The ability of the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation to tackle the challenging issues that it will face in the near future will have a significant effect on Russian foreign policy in the Indian Ocean Region.
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