Changing dynamics of India’s global maritime relations

maritime relations

New Delhi: India’s efforts to improve its global maritime relations are multi-faceted and strategic, reflecting its desire to enhance security, economic ties, and regional stability. Here are key aspects of these efforts:

Strategic Partnerships and Alliances

  1. Quad Initiative: India is a key member of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad), which includes the United States, Japan, and Australia. This group focuses on maintaining a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.
  2. Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA): India plays a significant role in IORA, which aims to enhance maritime cooperation and sustainable development in the Indian Ocean region.

Naval Exercises and Cooperation

  1. Malabar Exercise: This annual trilateral naval exercise involves India, the United States, and Japan, with Australia joining more recently. It focuses on enhancing interoperability and maritime security.
  2. MILAN Exercise: Conducted biennially, this exercise invites navies from across the world, promoting cooperation and mutual understanding among Indian Ocean littoral states.

Economic and Trade Initiatives

  1. Sagarmala Project: This initiative aims to modernize India’s ports, enhance port connectivity, and promote port-led industrialization, thus boosting maritime trade.
  2. Bilateral Trade Agreements: India is negotiating and signing various trade agreements to enhance maritime trade routes and economic partnerships with countries like the United Arab Emirates, Japan, and Southeast Asian nations.

Maritime Security and Anti-Piracy

  1. Anti-Piracy Operations: India actively participates in anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia, ensuring the safety of international maritime trade routes.
  2. Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR): This center in Gurugram serves as a maritime information hub to enhance maritime domain awareness and security cooperation among Indian Ocean countries.

Infrastructure Development and Investments

  1. Port Development: India is investing in the development and modernization of ports in neighboring countries, such as the Chabahar Port in Iran and the Sittwe Port in Myanmar, to enhance regional connectivity and trade.
  2. Blue Economy: India is promoting the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystems.

Diplomatic Engagements

  1. Bilateral Maritime Dialogues: India has established maritime dialogues with various countries, including France, the United Kingdom, and South Korea, focusing on maritime security, trade, and investment.
  2. ASEAN-India Maritime Cooperation: India engages with ASEAN countries to strengthen maritime security and cooperation in the Southeast Asian region.

Technological and Capacity Building

  1. Naval Modernization: India is investing in modernizing its naval forces with advanced warships, submarines, and aircraft to enhance its maritime capabilities.
  2. Training and Capacity Building: India provides training and capacity-building support to the navies and maritime agencies of friendly countries, fostering stronger maritime partnerships.

India’s proactive approach in improving global maritime relations reflects its recognition of the strategic importance of the maritime domain in achieving its broader geopolitical and economic objectives. By strengthening maritime cooperation, India aims to ensure regional stability, secure its maritime interests, and contribute to the global maritime order.


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