Soundings Papers: Problems and prospects of maritime security cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region: a case study of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS)

Soundings No. 15
Soundings No. 15

PDF : 960.27 KB

Commander Ranendra Singh Sawan

The Indian Ocean Region (IOR) has variously been labelled as “insecure and instable”, “a region that does not inspire confidence in the potential for peaceful governance”, “a disaggregated region notable for its lack of homogeneity”, and “a troubled and unstable region, apparently without any real unity, common identity or collective goal”. Cursory scrutiny of contemporary literature on maritime security in the Indian Ocean tends to reinforce the perception of the IOR as a region riddled with state on state friction, internal chaos within states and the vulnerability of large sections of its population to several non-traditional threats such as natural disasters, food and water shortages, poverty, epidemic, piracy, terrorism and transnational organised crime. This assessment, unfortunately, is true to a large extent. In 2011, a total of 142 political conflicts were recorded in the IOR, representing more than a third of the 388 conflicts worldwide, including 12 of the world’s 20 wars, as well as an additional eight limited wars. The displacement of Rohingyas from the Rakhine province in Myanmar in 2017 and the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia in September 2018 illustrate the gravity of non-traditional security challenges in the region.