Century of the seas: unlocking Indian maritime strategy in the 21st century
Smith, Cody T.
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India’s maritime security strategy document, Ensuring Secure Seas, was released in 2015 and sets the Indian Ocean as a priority for India’s foreign policy with the goal of maritime dominance. What are the driving factors that influence this new maritime strategy that elevates the Indian Navy beyond its traditional Cinderella service role? This thesis attempts to answer this question. In order to accomplish this objective, this thesis looks at the significance of the Indian Ocean for the major state and non-state players that have considerable stakes in the region, as well as their maritime capabilities relative to India. Next, the thesis examines India’s modernization efforts of its fleet and naval doctrine to carry out the roles defined in Ensuring Secure Seas. Finally, this thesis examines India’s economic policies, specifically maritime trade, as well as domestic politics, to see how they engage and shape Indian maritime strategy. These findings present a combined analysis of economic, security, and political factors mentioned above, centered on a primary focus of security and stability within the Indian Ocean region, to foster continued prosperity of India’s overseas trade networks. The driving factors that influence Ensuring Secure Seas is heavily influenced by India’s overseas trade and the need to protect that trade against various threats. This study should benefit strategists and policy-makers alike with regard to the South Asia region.
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