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Maritime Security In The Ior History Essay


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Indian Ocean - A Strategic Waterway. The Indian Ocean, with an area of 68.56 million sq m, is the third largest ocean in the world and covers about 20% of the earth's surface. The Indian Ocean's historic importance has prevailed well into the present times. Its current geo-strategic significance essentially lies in maritime communications - its shipping routes for international trade and commerce, and in military context, the Sea Lines of Communication (SLOC) for imports and military mobility [2] . The northern part of the Indian Ocean, bordering on the subcontinent of South Asia, enjoys a superior geographical position. It has for long been the major sea route connecting the East and the West as well as the outlet to the other parts of the world. Its strategic waterways provide the shortest and the most economic lines of communication between the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. It is not surprising to note that this ocean accounts for transportation of the highest tonnage of goods in the world. On its waters are carried half the world's container shipments, one-third of bulk cargo traffic and two-thirds of oil shipments [3] .

2. Maritime Security. The term maritime security is defined as comprising those issues which pertain to the sea and have a critical bearing on the country's security. In our context, these include seaborne trade and commerce in energy resources, the management of living and non-living marine resources, the delimitation of international seaward boundaries, and the deployment and employment of naval and military forces in the Indian Ocean [4] .

3. Threats to Maritime Security in IOR. The maritime security problems that have recently arisen in the IOR are to a large extent linked to failed or weak states. Specific challenges are piracy, asymmetrical threats by non-state actors, illegal trafficking in people, smuggling of arms and drugs, resource security and environmental threats. Because the region's maritime security problems have the potential of disrupting the global economy, energy security and ISLs, they have become important international issues. Many extra-regional powers have a stake in Indian Ocean maritime security and deploy forces in the area [5] . To fight piracy, the UN Security Council has passed a series of resolutions calling for international assistance and various multinational task forces and independent naval units operate in the waters off the Horn of Africa.

4. Diplomacy. Diplomacy has been a practicing political tool since the first city states were formed a few millennia ago. It remained a foreign policy instrument of the modern Westphalia nation-states and at present is recognised as a tactical as well as long-term political weapon for the creation of stability and order in the nation-states system. Diplomacy is identified as a key process of communication and negotiation in international politics and as an important foreign policy instrument used by all global actors. Conflict is augmented by war, while cooperation leads towards diplomacy. Diplomacy like war epitomises national interests but displays many facets unlike war. Its efficiency multiplies when linked to other instruments of state such as economic and military force [6] .

5. Naval Diplomacy. Post the two World Wars, most of the world navies became proactively involved with diplomacy than any other state agencies [7] . Navies, by the very nature of their operational role and additional characteristics of flexibility, manoeuvrability, adaptability and reach are ideally suited to be appropriate instruments of their States' foreign policy and furtherance of their respective national interests. The British and the Americans have continually leveraged their naval power in the furtherance of their respective countries' foreign policy and achievement of political objectives. In the context of the current world order, there are numerous opportunities for navies to engage in non- traditional activities which project the benign face of the State whilst keeping the force well trained, equipped and operationally active [8] .

6. One of the least intrusive, most benign and reasonably effective roles of the navies involves the 'overseas deployment' and 'showing the Flag' visits to the port of foreign countries. Overseas deployment refers to a task wherein maritime forces are deployed far from own shores, to areas of operational or political interest. They operate in these areas independently or in conjunction with friendly navies, so as to gather operational and environmental knowledge; build defence and political relations; develop interoperability; project own reach and capability; and portray national interest, intent and industry.  'Showing the Flag' in foreign ports helps to foster good relations, besides demonstrating interests and involvement in the region. The visits also afford additional opportunities for interaction at several levels, providing a platform for exchange of perspectives, and to develop upon existing relations [9] , thereby providing opportunities for countries to build on this cooperation nd understanding to tackle various maritime issues and ensure maritime security.


Statement of Problem

7. The aim of this dissertation is to study and analyse the maritime security situation in the Indian Ocean Region and to establish efficacy of use of naval diplomacy to ensure maritime security and safeguard India's interests in the IOR.


8. In today's ever changing geo-political scenario and increasing threats at sea, naval diplomacy has a crucial role to play in ensuring maritime security in the Indian Ocean Region.

Justification of the Study

9. Conventional threats posed by rival maritime forces have been replaced by asymmetric / non-conventional threats by non-state actors either under the patronage of rogue nations or acting independently. The non-state actors use the lawlessness and imploding internal state of affairs of a nation to carryout unlawful activities at sea. Activities by Somalian pirates are a live example of such a kind of situation. 9/11 and 26/11 are grim reminders of the capabilities of these entities and the destruction they can cause. Some of the other contemporary non-conventional threats and other issues seriously affecting the maritime security in the IOR are maritime terrorism, illegal trafficking in narcotics, arms and humans, illegal fishing and poaching, illegal migration, degradation of marine environment and natural disasters [10] .

10. Naval Diplomacy means the use of 'sea power' in furtherance of diplomatic and political objectives of a country. It involves, creating a favourable general and military image abroad, establishing one's right in areas of interest, providing reassurance to allies and friendly regimes, influencing behaviour of other governments, threatening sea borne interdiction and finally threatening intervention. Indian diplomacy, particularly naval diplomacy, has been reaching out to the countries in the Indian Ocean. Indian Navy has off late embarked on a series of exercises and has built partnerships with countries in the IOR. The Indian Navy started the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) to provide the Indian Ocean littorals a forum to come together and cooperate on the security aspects in the region. India has also been very pro-active in engaging with navies of the IOR countries in the form of joint exercises, port calls, goodwill visits, sale of naval assets, joint patrolling, repair and maintenance and training of naval personnel. All these measures taken as part of naval diplomacy are the steps in the right direction and in the long term will help our country in addressing our various concerns of maritime security in the IOR.


11. The scope of the dissertation is intended to be limited as under: -

Analyse the importance of IOR in the present world set up.

Examine the threats to maritime security in the IOR.

Examine diplomacy with emphasis on naval diplomacy and the role it can play in ensuring maritime security.

(d)   The diplomatic role of Indian Navy.

Methods of Data Collection


12.         The information for the dissertation has been obtained from various books, journals and publications available in the college library. In addition, information has also been obtained from various articles, write ups, online journals and research foundations available on the World Wide Web. The bibliography of the sources is appended at the end of text.

Organisation of the Dissertation


13. It is proposed to study the subject in the following manner: -

(a)  Chapter I - Introduction and methodology.

(b)  Chapter II - Geo- strategic importance of IOR in the present world set up.

(c) Chapter III - Maritime security and present day threats to maritime security in IOR.

(d) Chapter IV - Diplomacy and naval diplomacy.

(e) Chapter V - Indian Navy's diplomatic role and initiatives taken.

(f)   Chapter VI - Conclusion.



"Whoever controls the Indian Ocean dominates Asia. The Ocean is the key to the seven seas. In the twenty first century, the destiny of the world will be decided on its waters".

Alfred Thayer Mahan

1. The deeply perceptive and almost prophetic vision of the great American naval strategist, Alfred Mahan, expressed a century ago signifies the importance of the Indian Ocean region. The statement when made was perhaps related to the control of the sea at its surface. However, technological advances have enabled control in a multidimensional context which extends to the depth of the ocean as well as to the space above it. In the horizontal dimension, the littoral states of the region become key actors, hence the relevance of the region as opposed to the ocean by itself. Today, the Indian Ocean region has emerged as one of the most significant regions in the world due to its geographical, political, economic and strategic characteristics.

2. Geography. The Indian Ocean, with an area of 68.56 million sq km, is the third largest body of water and covers about 20% of the earth's surface. The Indian Ocean is separated from the Atlantic Ocean by the meridian 20 E and from the Pacific by the meridian 147 E. The northern limit is Persian Gulf, at approximate latitude of 30 N and extends southwards to the parallel of 60 S [11] . The Indian Ocean is walled on all three sides by land, with the southern side of Asia forming a roof over it imparting some features of a land locked sea. The Indian subcontinent jutting into sea for a thousand miles and dividing the ocean named after it into the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal provides the Indian Ocean one of its prominent geographical features and also its name [12] .

3. Historical Perspective. The relatively closed character of the Indian Ocean with only few entry points has played an important part in shaping the course of historical developments in the region [13] . Centuries before Columbus sailed the Atlantic and Magellan crossed the Pacific, the Indian Ocean had become a thoroughfare of commercial and cultural traffic between the west coast of India and Nineveh and Babylon (modern Iraq) as well as the Levant (eastern Mediterranean) [14] .

(a) Indian Ocean - A Highway to the World. A peep into history would reveal that the Indian Ocean has long been an arena of intrigue and contest. Long before the Pacific and Atlantic were discovered, the Indian Ocean constituted the trade and economic superhighway of the world. As trade flourished, the impulse to dominate the ocean littoral also emerged as a concurrent theme, an observation that is supported by facts of history [15] .

(b) 20th Century Onwards. Around the beginning of the 20th century, however, the Indian Ocean receded in relative importance as Europe took center-stage. It was in Europe that the great powers were concentrated, the great wars occurred, and the key political struggles of the century unfolded. Most strategists of the time were quick to dismiss the clamour of history, which repeatedly demonstrated that world domination was catalysed by control of the Indian Ocean [16] .

4. Geostrategic Imperatives in the Contemporary Setting. Despite its significant geographic span and its large and growing population, the Indian Ocean has long suffered a relative neglect in world geopolitics. For most of the 20th century the region's role and importance were mostly overshadowed and was considered subsidiary to super power rivalries largely enacted elsewhere and across other oceans. Today, however, the IOR has risen to the forefront of world geopolitics. Propelled by the world's continuing reliance on Persian Gulf hydrocarbon resources, the growing significance of the Indian Ocean's sea lanes of communication and chokepoints, as well as the turbulent regional socio-political environment, and the rise of China and India as global powers, the region is increasingly considered an area of crucial geostrategic importance. The past few decades have witnessed several far-reaching changes in the IOR that have reinforced the renewed relevance of the Indian Ocean. As these concerns and interests play out, the IOR is becoming the locus of extra-regional engagement that is, in large measure, justified, but also at the same time, alarming. Few of the interests and concerns are enumerated in the succeeding paragraphs.

Trade and Economic Interests. The Indian Ocean has seen intense maritime activity for the past 600 years, primarily for trade. Centuries ago, the motivation was for silk and spices. Today, it is for oil, the primary energy source powering the economic and industrial sectors of major states which, therefore, becomes the principal strategic determinant. Thus, the Indian Ocean is a critical waterway for global trade and commerce. The ocean facilitates transportation of two-thirds of global oil shipment from the oil fields of Persian Gulf [17] . The warm waters of the Indian Ocean contain major shipping lanes and the sheer volume of trade carried across this region enormously enhances the stakes in the security of this trade as about 1,00,000 ships transit across its expanse annually. In addition, two-thirds of world's oil shipments, one-third of its bulk cargo and half the world's container traffic pass through these waters [18] . Also, of the total trade conducted over the Indian Ocean only 20 percent is conducted between the littoral countries of the region, whilst 80 percent is extra-regional. In the Atlantic and Pacific, this pattern is just the reverse. This exemplifies the importance of the Indian Ocean to extra regional powers and explains their presence in the area [19] .

Sea Lanes and Choke Points in the IOR. The sea lanes in the Indian Ocean are considered among the most strategically important in the world. The access to Indian Ocean is possible through seven established gateways or choke points. These are the Suez Canal, the Strait of Hormuz, Bab-el-Mandeb, the Cape of Good Hope, the straits of Malacca, Sunda strait and Lambok Strait. The choking of any of these could cause disruption of seaborne trade and volatility in the oil and commodity prices, leading to major upheavals in the global economy. More than 80 percent of the world's sea borne trade in oil transits through these choke points , with 40 percent passing through Strait of Hormuz, 35 percent through the Strait of Malacca and eight percent through the Bab el-Mandab Strait [20] .

Natural Resources. The unique feature of the IOR is the abundance of its natural wealth. There are large deposits of oil, uranium, tin, gold and diamonds. The seabed of the ocean also has abundance of minerals at varying depths. The region has 60 percent of uranium, 98 percent of diamonds and 80 percent of the world's known gold reserves. The IOR abounds in 20 out of the 40 raw materials of strategic importance imported by the western countries and 40 of the 54 types of imported raw materials used by American industry [21] . With mounting pressure on land based resources, exploitation of the sea bed resources including deep sea mining is expected to be a major thrust area in the future [22] . Attendant to global stakes for trade and energy flow and access to markets, the unrestricted use of sea-lanes of the ocean has become an imperative. This necessitates a collective desire for security and stability in the region.

5. Thus, as an area of extraordinary potential for natural resources, an area crossed by trade routes vital to outside powers and those belonging to the region, an area of conflicting big power political and economic interests and an area of regional turbulence , the Indian Ocean is the pivot of world affairs [23] .

6. India's Interest in the IOR. Straddling the new silk route, India's interests are linked to its maritime trade. About 75 percent of India's foreign trade in value and 95 per cent in volume moves by sea [24] . This makes the maritime outlet extremely critical for India's economic growth, particularly when the share of overseas trade in its GDP is expected to reach 55 percent by 2020 [25] . Another vital concern is India's dependence on oil imports by sea and over 70 percent of these imports come from the Persian Gulf [26] . The need for clean source of energy has led to change from coal to gas based power generation. India's import of gas is expected to increase to 40 percent by 2030 and most of it will be by sea [27] . As the Indian economy and the industrial output of its manufacturing sector develop further, Africa would also be a major source of mineral resources and all these resources will be imported by sea. Hence India's vital economic stakes lie in the stability of the region and securing of sea-lanes stretching from West Africa to Northeast Asia. Closer home, these interests also involve security of related infrastructure located in the littoral like ports, ODAs, energy terminals and refineries [28] .Also nearly 4.2 million Indian citizens work in the Gulf countries contributing billions of dollars to our economy. Our interests dictate that their work environment remains stable [29] , so that the remittances can continue to boost our economy.



"Now that we are free, we have once again reiterated the importance of the sea. We cannot afford to be weak at sea… history has shown that whatever power controls the Indian Ocean has, in the first instance, India's sea-borne trade at her mercy, and in the second, India's very independence itself."

Pt Jawaharlal Nehru

1. Maritime Security. The term 'maritime security' represents the broadest approach to issues and aspects, which pertain to the sea and have an important bearing on the country's security. This goes far beyond the military aspect although military power and security remains the final arbiter of national security. The concept as it relates to the maritime environment, therefore, includes activities such as seaborne trade and commerce and the facilities/ infrastructure required for sustaining their efficient pursuit, the management of living and non-living resources of the sea, maritime environmental issues and the delimitation of international seaward boundaries, along with the deployment and employment of Indian and foreign military forces in the Indian Ocean [30] .

2. Of the three major oceans of the world, the Atlantic and much of the Pacific are serene. The Indian Ocean and its contiguous waters present a plethora of security issues. Given its centrality, the emerging multi-polar influences will continue to converge and will be further catalysed by the strategic sea-lanes and the significance of West Asia, a sub-region that remains volatile and unstable. Besides, the Indian Ocean is located at the crossroads of terrorism originating from 'two banks' to its west and east that are hotbeds of Islamic fundamentalism, thus making it a de-facto 'lake of jihadi terrorism' [31] . The Indian Ocean is also an area of conflict. Some conflicts are internal and remain localised, but other local and regional conflicts are of global significance and are prone to foreign political and military interference. According to a recent analysis of global conflicts by the Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research, altogether 42 per cent of world conflicts

can be associated with Indian Ocean countries [32] . The list is extensive, but notable conflict areas are Israel and Palestine, Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan, Somalia and Pakistan. Though the causes of these conflicts vary, many can be associated with weak or failed states, significant levels of poverty, poorly developed institutions, the absence of democracy, corruption, competition for scarce resources, interference by foreign powers, the global war on terror and last but not the least, what can be termed 'turbulence' in the Islamic world [33] .


3. The maritime security environment in the Indian Ocean has also undergone transformation. The recent past has shown that traditional maritime security challenges like state-on-state conflict are waning while unconventional challenges are on the increase. Because of weak government structures and a limited capacity to control maritime domains, all types of illicit activities began to flourish in many parts of the Indian Ocean. These challenges include piracy, maritime terrorism, drug trafficking, human smuggling, illegal immigration, gun running, WMD proliferation, natural disasters, environmental concerns and illegal fishing. These challenges have the potential to cause friction among the IOR littorals as they take measures to protect their respective national interests and further intensifying these challenges is the fact that the IOR is already an area of instability and tension with numerous existing conflicts. As a result, the region's maritime security challenges are now considerable and are affected by key variables such as militarisation within the region, the involvement of major and extra-regional powers, and non-traditional security threats.

Maritime Disorder at Sea.

4. The disorder at sea mainly manifests in form of unlawful activities in the maritime realm by non-state actors ranging from terrorists and criminal syndicates to ordinary people in search of livelihood from the oceans due to lack of avenues on land, as in Somalia.

5. Piracy. Piracy in the Indian Ocean Region is concentrated in, but not confined to the waters of the Gulf of Aden, southern Red Sea, much of the Arabian Sea and the western Indian Ocean along the east African coast as far south as Madagascar and as far east as the Seychelles archipelago. Recently, piracy-related incidents seem to have spilled over from these areas into the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. Indeed, the center of gravity of piracy has now shifted closer to the waters around India [34] . In the third quarter of 2011, maritime security concerns in the Indian Ocean continued to be dominated by piracy and armed robbery at sea, specifically the hijacking of merchant vessels by well-armed Somalia-based pirates. By the end of 2011, 214 vessels had been attacked, 31 hijacked (a 14-percent success rate), while eight vessels remained under capture awaiting release and payment of ransoms, 497 seafarers had been held captive, and 10 seafarers had died. Piracy Attack Groups (PAGs) are increasingly well armed, highly motivated by the prospect of very large ransom payments (average payment is currently $5.4 million), and many are using captured merchant vessels as mother ships to stage further attacks [35] .

6. Maritime Terrorism. The recent Mumbai attacks, which involved terrorists using the sea route to land on the Mumbai coast, are testimony to a spurt in maritime terrorism. The Indian Ocean Region is no stranger to the spectre of insurgency and terrorist activities which have a maritime flavour. Regional insurgent groups such as the Free Aceh Movement, Abu Sayyaf and the Al Qaeda have existed in the area for some time now. Maritime terrorist incidents such as the attacks on USS Cole (at Aden in 2000) and MT Limburg (off Yemen's coast in 2002) are grim reminders of the fact that the Indian Ocean is beginning to become involved in international terrorism at a scale far larger than before. Even though a direct link between piracy and maritime terrorism has not yet been conclusively established, concerns do remain that terrorists could exploit the same vulnerabilities in commercial maritime trade and use similar methods as done by pirates in the Gulf of Aden. Considering the evident aim as well as capability of terrorists, the disastrous consequences of sinking a giant tanker at choke points such as the Straits of Malacca, Bab-el-Mandeb or Hormuz or even using such vessels for suicide missions cannot be ruled out.

7. Transnational Terrorism. The IOR has witnessed a steep rise in global terrorism, with many regional organisations covertly or even inadvertently aiding and abetting subversive elements. Originating from within the IOR, various organisations have spread their tentacles of terror across the globe, and directly impact India's security and national interests [36] .

8. Smuggling of Narcotics. Drug smuggling and terrorism are often said to have a symbiotic relationship. It is widely acknowledged that drug trafficking is, by far, the most widely used method for generating funds for fuelling terrorist activities and insurgencies across the world. A substantial proportion of this activity in India's neighbourhood uses sea transportation, both in it's eatern and western waters [37] . Within the Indian Ocean Region, the 'Golden Crescent' to the west (Afghanistan,Iran and Pakistan) and the 'Golden Triangle' to the east (Myanmar, Laos and Thailand) are responsible for producing a large quantity of drugs. Both areas, combined, account for nearly 80% of the global production of heroin [38] .

9. Human Trafficking. Trafficking in human beings is a $10-billion industry. Conservative estimates of the number of people trafficked into forced labour and prostitution range from 700,000 to 2 million annually, primarily women and children. The poor nations of the IOR are particularly vulnerable to this malaise. Trafficking, to a large extent, takes place via the sea, which places the moral responsibility for its prevention on state maritime agencies including the navies of the region.

Other threats

10. Regional Disparity. The concept of managing Indian Ocean requires finding ways and means by which the seas and resources can he used for the greater good of the people of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) without hindrance by state or non-state actors. The IOR is an area of contradictions. Some of the richest and poorest nations in the world can be found in this ocean's littorals as also those with the largest share of the world's oil reserves and those without any oil. The economic disparity between the IOR nations is glaring. It encompasses such diverse players as Israel, Egypt, West Asia, South Africa, Australia, Southeast Asian countries and the countries of the Indian subcontinent, all with their own national interests and diverse agendas [39] .

11. Nuclearisation of the Region. The Indian Ocean has been the cradle of all civilisations and also the birth place of the major religions of the world, the IOR has a mixture of diverse cultures, ideologies and political systems; all coexisting with nation states pursuing their national interests. Increasingly, religious extremism and the politics of oil are creating areas of conflict in the IOR. India and Pakistan are declared nuclear weapon powers while Israel and South Africa are covert ones. Iran is also now poised, with the help of Pakistan and others, to acquire nuclear weapon capability [40] . Being a signatory to the non proliferation treaty (NPT), Iran's actions are creating a major political crisis. Such developments have transformed the Indian Ocean into the most nuclearised region in the world.

12. Military Interventions/ Instability in IOR. Military forces of many extra-regional powers like USA, France and UK have continued to operate in the Indian Ocean, with USA and France also possessing island bases/ territories. China has also started its first steps of project its military power across the IOR and in the long term future may set up bases in the IOR littorals. The smaller Indian Ocean littorals are highly prone to instabilities, due to their inadequate capacity for maintaining security and law-enforcement. Many of these countries, especially in the Gulf countries and East Africa, have large Indian diaspora working and sending substantial amounts of remittances back to India [41] .Thus India wants peace and stability in these countries.

13. Extra-Regional Presence. Developed and developing countries both depend heavily on uninterrupted flow of oil from the Middle East region. The maritime arc from the Persian Gulf through Strait of Malacca to the Sea of Japan has been termed as the new silk route. At the same time, there is a high instability in the region, with increased threats to maritime security as mentioned above. The region has therefore seen high presence of extra-regional forces to safeguard their strategic assets and interests [42] .

Non-Traditional Maritime Challenges

14. Ambassador (retired) Craig Dunkerley ,a Distinguished Adjunct Professor at the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies at the National Defense University, USA stated that non-traditional maritime challenges create political, economic and humanitarian problems and include a diversity of state and non-state actors. Moreover, whereas the hard security questions of the maritime domain remain a familiar problem set for policymakers, they have a much harder time conceptualizing non-traditional, transnational and human security issues that do not respect national boundaries.

15. Natural Disasters. The IOR has been acknowledged as being relatively more disaster prone than others. Cyclones ravage the region regularly. The tsunami in 2004 added a new dimension to this facet. Cooperation amongst maritime agencies of the region including the navies is a prime requisite for timely and adequate relief efforts. Importantly, the armed forces of Indian Ocean countries should expect to bear the brunt of natural disaster response. Civilian agencies in these developing states simply do not have the capacity or resources to respond in a satisfactory manner.

16. Enviornmental Issues. Climate change is of significant importance for the movement of people, especially in the Indian Ocean region. Environmental problems such as sea level rise, desertification, and the submergence of islands have contributed to the environmentally-driven migration of 50 to 200 million individuals and created a new set of migrants: 'environmental refugees' [43] . With a rise in environmental refugees, additional problems such as health issues, competition for scarce resources and social and ethnic tensions will surface.

17. Climate Changes. As man progresses and the percentage of area under forests reduces, the world and Asia Pacific and IOR regions in particular are experiencing climatic changes. The ensuing rise in sea levels due to climate change will bring a higher frequency and magnitude of natural disasters, more complicated maritime boundary disputes, and health issues to the coastal populations as a result of water damage [44] .

18. Food Security. Over the coming decades, one of the most pressing issues will be that while the living resources of the sea will remain essential to regional economies and food security, few states have the capability, resources, and maritime infrastructure to manage these resources effectively. Increasing the capability of coastal states to manage and regulate fishing in their EEZs and reduce illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing on the high seas will be a critical maritime issue for all states bordering the Indian Ocean [45] .



"Diplomacy is the art of telling people to go to hell in such a way that they ask for directions."

Winston S. Churchill


1. Definition. The word 'diplomacy' means skill in managing international relations. It is a process adopted by various diplomatic agents of a country to adjust and manage international relations [46] . In essence, diplomacy is concerned with two external functions and two internal set of tasks as mentioned in the succeeding paragraphs [47] .

2. Functions. The external functions of diplomacy include the following: -

(a) Outreach. It includes all the classic tasks of negotiations, persuasion and contact building, defined in the broadest terms. It is the external interface, covering all forms of dialogue with foreign governments, through embassies and directly, at bilateral and multilateral levels. The key element in performing this duty well is the power of persuasion, initiative, contacts and credibility, winning friends and influencing nations. In this profession, the spoken word has an importance that is exceptional, and produces interesting consequences.

(b) Feedback. It covers formal and informal reporting to the official agencies, beginning with one's own Headquarters, the Ministry of External Affairs and the other branches of government, the Parliament, the media, the apex bodies of commerce and industry, etc. To be performed well, this function depends on integrity and honesty, analytical ability, and courage to go beyond what the recipient wishes to hear.

3. Tasks. The internal tasks of diplomacy are described below: -

(a) Servicing. It includes all the routine tasks that nevertheless make or break the image of diplomacy, since they more or less deal with ordinary citizens. Examples are consular work, the issue of visas, passports and consular protection to citizens, or assistance to business entities, covering export promotion, dispute settlement and other kinds of help needed by citizens. It also covers the protocol and the greeting and seeing off functions that form much of the visible work of diplomats.

(b) Management. It refers to the internal oversight and 'audit' of a complex apparatus that is by definition spread across the world, and operates in a vastly varying enviornments.

4. Military Diplomacy. While diplomacy may be broadly defined as the art and practice of conducting a nation's foreign relations, military diplomacy may be categorised as the conduct of foreign relations by the men in uniform or even the civilian defence ministries. Military diplomacy is also categorised under such heads as defence exchanges to include joint training with the militaries of foreign countries. Military diplomacy does not differ very much from the regular diplomacy in its content in the sense that it includes visits, meetings, exchanges, negotiations, participating in international conferences, treaty signings and exchanges of diplomatic documents. The difference is that all these would essentially be conducted by men in uniform or otherwise civilians in the defence ministries and that the content would be military -oriented. It should however be noted that these activities would be undertaken in tune with the general foreign and security policy guidelines set by the political leadership, but one that would have strategic and military significance. [48] While military diplomacy has acquired a special political connotation in the post-cold war environment, many of the activities involved are not different from the great power practice of using armed forces for a range of political and humanitarian missions. This tradition has included the projection of force into a conflict situation, responding to humanitarian crises and natural disasters, protecting sea lines of communication, ability to assist other military forces through training and local capacity building through arms transfer and intelligence support [49] .

Naval Diplomacy

5. Contemporary British maritime doctrine defines naval diplomacy as ' the use of naval force in support of diplomacy to support, persuade, deter or compel'. It involves action designed to ' influence the will and decision-making apparatus of a state or group of states in peacetime and all situations short of full hostilities'. In essence, naval diplomacy is about the use of naval forces to provide power and influence in situations short of war. This does not imply an absence of force. The exercise of naval diplomacy may require navies to undertake active military operations. However, in such circumstances the use of force is deliberately restricted to the achievement of specific, limited objectives and has symbolic as much as physical effect. As with all forms of coercion, perception is critical and the key target is the opponent's mindset rather than their armed forces [50] .

6. History shows that naval diplomacy has been used since man first put to sea in ships and that it can be traced down through the years ever since. However, until the middle of the twentieth century, strategic naval writing tended to focus on military capability at sea, even though the political benefits of the threat of force, the use of limited force, and "showing the flag" were well known and implicitly understood. Naval diplomacy before the Second World War was primarily studied by those maritime states with global ambitions, who practiced it to coerce, reassure, and promote their own image. The bipolarity of the Cold War did little to change the purpose and tactics of naval diplomacy, but its use, for the most part, became ever more limited to the major seafaring states in the Western and Eastern blocs. Strategic thought in that period was anchored by superpower confrontation, but interest in naval diplomacy as a separate topic grew, particularly in the 1970s. The aftermath of the Cold War saw a transformation in world politics and a reassessment of the utility of force in general. Naval diplomacy continued; indeed, its use expanded with the increase in the number of maritime stakeholders [51] .

7. As some 2,500 years of recorded naval history attest, when governments have a problem away from their home shores, they invariably send a warship as the first response. Although this uniqueness could be seen as a 'continuation of policy by other means' it has more to do with the inherent operational flexibility of naval forces and the fact that international law recognises a warship as an extension of the sovereign state. The British diplomat and naval thinker James Cable defined 'Gun Boat diplomacy' or 'Naval Diplomacy' as "the use or threat of limited naval force, otherwise than as an act of war, in order to secure advantage or to avert loss, either in the furtherance of an international dispute or else against foreign nationals within the territory or the jurisdiction of their own state." The navy is a versatile and flexible instrument, which can be used to impose, influence, or indicate support, wherever and whenever needed, The navy can also be used for international cooperation, conflict resolution and achieving competitive advantage in economic activities. By appearing on the horizon or deploying out-of-sight, or even by its very existence, a naval task force can discharge foreign policy aims and ensure deterrence - its main function [52] .

8. It is not surprising, therefore, that the term 'Naval Diplomacy' is well established in the theory and practice of international relations. Naval Diplomacy could range from acts involving the application of force, often termed 'gunboat diplomacy', to those that improve relations between states. The latter includes the conduct of joint naval exercises and goodwill visits to foreign ports. Such ceremonial visits are popularly known as 'showing the flag' [53] . In the context of the current world order, it is considered that the occasions and opportunities for using Navies in their conventional role of war fighting are few and far between. However there are numerous opportunities for engaging in non- traditional activities which project the benign face of the State whilst keeping the force well trained, equipped and operationally active.

9. Naval diplomacy is carried out by means of five basic tactics. The first two tactics, standing demonstrations by naval power and specific operational deployments represent naval power politics: the rest, naval aid, operational visits and specific goodwill visits are naval influence politics [54] . Whether a particular act of naval diplomacy results in intended or unintended effect will depend upon many factors. The two most important factors are the skill and suitability with which the deploying power carries out its tactics, and the perceptions of the relevant observers [55] . When used effectively, naval diplomacy in its various guises can reassure, strengthen, symbolise a growing relationship or commitment, establish rights and interests in near or distant regions, impress onlookers with the country's technical competence or diplomatic skill, restrain allies or adversaries, bolster the strength and confidence of allies and associates or third partners, encourage or dissuade states in relation to particular policies, signal intentions or expectations, create uncertainty when necessary, neutralise the naval diplomacy of adversaries, deter inimical actions, discourage opponents, increase the level of profitable interaction with near or distant countries, create a different politico-military environment and create a degree of dependency and so the possibility of manipulation. In short, effectively employed naval diplomacy can be used to maintain or increase a country's political influence over allies, associates and third parties [56] 



"If India is to graduate from being a regional power in South Asia to a greater power in the Asia Pacific, it is this pivotal ocean with its vital waterways that it should seek to control-whether directly, through hard power, or indirectly, with a soft power approach. Whatever its choices, India needs a clear naval diplomacy" [57] .

Balaji Chandramohan

1. The Indian Maritime Doctrine(INBR 8) of 2009 lays down diplomatic role as one of the four main roles envisaged for the Indian Navy. The book goes on to describe naval diplomacy as the use of naval forces in support of foreign policy objectives to build 'bridges of friendship' and strengthen international cooperation on one hand and to signal capability and intent to deter potential adversaries on the other. The objectives in the diplomatic role for the navy are to strengthen political relations and goodwill, portray credible defence posture and capability, to strengthen maritime security in the IOR and finally promote regional and global security. To achieve these objectives, the navy has to perform missions in diplomatic role. These are constructive maritime engagement like IONS initiated by the Indian navy, maritime assistance and support in the form of evacuation ops, delivering of material aid, maritime patrols for augmenting stability and security, maritime intervention ops etc. The countering of an attempted coup in Maldives in 1998, evacuation of people from Lebanon during Op Sukoon, the humanitarian relief provided by the Indian Navy after the tsunami in 2004, the escort missions of US high value assets through the Malacca strai in 2002, providing offshore security to the African Union Summit in Maputo in 2003 etc are examples of these missions [58] .

2. The 2010 U.S. Quadrennial Defense Review noted that "India has already established its worldwide military influence through counter-piracy, peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief efforts. As its military capabilities grow, India will contribute to Asia as a net provider of security in the Indian Ocean and beyond" [59] . However, India's Navy, according to former Indian Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma, has no intention of playing a headmaster's role in the Indian Ocean Region. The Indian Navy instead wants a cooperative regional approach to maritime security.

3. Engagement with Foreign Navies. Some of the recent actions of India including the participation in the various bilateral and multi-lateral exercises, are steps in the right direction. India has also strengthened its bilateral defence ties with some of the South East Asian countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore. It is a measure of Indian Navy's naval diplomacy that by end nineties it had succeeded in gaining the trust of the regional littoral powers. A host of naval agreements with these countries steadily added a new geo-political dynamism to Indian Navy in SE Asia. Thus the navy, under a series of mutual maritime CBM agreements signed conducted port calls, good will calls, joint exercises and offered defence training to naval personnel [60] . Signing of a defence cooperation pact with Singapore in 2004 has drastically changed the fabric of New Delhi's defence ties in the region. Similarly, post -Tsunami 2004, the Indian Navy was quick to respond, first on its own, sending 35 ships, and later was joined by the US, Japan and Australia for rescue and relief operations in the region. Some of the other steps that India has initiated, which have been critical components of India's naval diplomacy in Southeast Asia, include regular discussions on the safety of sea lanes of communication (SLOC), coordinated patrols, port calls by ships, training of naval officers in Indian military institutions, and intelligence sharing particularly on maritime affairs. At the multilateral level, India joined the first trilateral naval exercises with the US and Japan, followed by the quadrilateral exercises with the US, Japan and Australia. The Indian Navy has conducted exercises with navies of several friendly countries, including with the French Navy (the Varuna Exercise), the British Navy (the Konkan Exercise), the Russian Navy (the Indra Exercise), the MALABAR series with the US Navy, SIMBEX with the Singapore Navy, IBSAMAR (India-Brazil-South Africa Maritime) Exercise conducted between India, Brazilian and South African Navies in the Indian Ocean region, Japanese Maritime Self Defense Forces, the Chinese PLA Navy among others and various PASSEX exercises with many navies of the world. In addition, bilateral and multilateral exercises involving search-and-rescue drills, exchanges of information, anti-submarine warfare, advanced mine countermeasures and anti-terror tactics have been held between regional navies from time to time. Bilateral goodwill visits to ASEAN countries, Japan, the Middle East and East African countries are a regular feature and include extensive cooperation on the training of personnel, hydrography, etc. Another example is Exercise 'HABUNAG' a joint Indo-United States Naval Exercise [61] . This exercise is a joint operations by the two navies on a Humanitarian Assistance/ Disaster Relief (HADR) mission in a limited-threat environment in the Indian Ocean Region.

4. Multilateral Defence Diplomacy- 'MILAN'. India initiated 'Milan' a biennial meet of the navies of the Indian Ocean so as to create bonhomie between navies of Indian Ocean region. The main aim was to foster goodwill through professional and social interaction. The number of participants has been increasing since 1995 when only four navies participated in 'Milan'. The total number of navies that participated in Milan 2012, the eight and latest meet, were 14, out of which Seychelles and Mauritius participated for the first time [62] . This approach to defence diplomacy has created favourable constituency for taking up joint efforts in the case of maritime disasters, search and rescue and even anti-piracy operations. This multilateral meet allowed junior and middle level naval personnel of participating countries to join together to exchange professional viewpoints on a number of regionally relevant and common maritime matters and establishment of SOPSs for reliable and effective multi-national communications at sea [63] . This has created effective platform for Indian Navy to project its benign role and also dispel any notion of Indian navy's hegemonistic designs in its periphery. Milan is significant in more than one sense. It is the first multinational naval conclave in the Indian Ocean which pioneered the maritime security cooperative dialogue. Though not seen as a security alliance or an institutionalised group, Milan's success can be gauged from the ever increasing participants in every meet and by its inclusive strategy by drawing countries from other regions of the IOR. In fact, 'Milan' was the platform which led to the conceptualisation of Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) in 2008.

5. Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS). The Indian Navy has always fancied itself as a trail blazer in the limited context of maritime diplomacy. The far-reaching impact of its commendable 2004 tsunami relief effort led to the creation, in Naval HQ, of a full-fledged Directorate of Foreign Cooperation. In a laudable step in early 2008, navy launched a biennial Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) initiative in New Delhi, essentially aimed at enhancing maritime cooperation among the navies of the littoral states of the IOR by providing an open and inclusive forum for discussion of regionally relevant maritime issues. It was envisaged that this process, would generate a flow of information between naval professionals that would lead to common understanding and possibly cooperative solutions on the way ahead on matters of maritime security and other common maritime issues. The maiden gathering attracted 31 Chiefs of regional navies, and the number of participating countries in the 2012 edition held in South Africa has increased to 35 members. The principal objectives for the IONS are [64] :-

(a) To promote a shared understanding of the maritime issues facing the littoral nation-states of the Indian Ocean and the formulation of a common set of strategies designed to enhance regional maritime security.


(b) To strengthen the capability of all littoral nation-states of the Indian Ocean to address present and anticipated challenges to maritime security and stability.

(c) To establish and promote a variety of trans-national, maritime, cooperative-mechanisms designed to mitigate maritime-security concerns within the Indian Ocean.

(d) To develop interoperability in terms of doctrines, procedures, organisational and logistic systems and operational processes, so as to promote the development of regional naval capacities for speedy, responsive and effective Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) throughout the Indian Ocean region. Over the past two years, the IN has been engaged in steadily strengthening the IONS and implementing diverse aspects of its charter.

6. Multi-lateral interactions as made possible by Milan and IONS are the right steps towards increased cooperation and understanding among the Indian Ocean littorals. These interactions will lead to more synergy in the efforts of the various regional navies to tackle problems which are inherent to a particular nation and also the common maritime and various maritime security issues discussed in the previous chapters. These developments will allow sharing of information, intelligence, resources, lead to establishing joint patrols for anti-piracy and other maritime disorders at sea. India being the biggest regional navy will have to take the initiative and ensure that the IONS is used optimally to tackle and overcome regional maritime security issues.



1. Maritime security revolves around two elements, namely, conflict and cooperation. Conflict is augmented by war while cooperation leads towards diplomacy. Diplomacy like war epitomises national interests but displays many facets unlike war. Maritime diplomacy is a term that has gained popularity because of the specific role it plays as an instrument of foreign policy of a nation. Maritime diplomacy, in case of India, is understood to be the diplomatic zeal of the Indian Navy that goes beyond its functional military role and encompasses the realm of economics and politics.

2. During the Commanders Conference India's Defence Minister, AK Antony said, "India's strategic location in the Indian Ocean and the professional capability of our navy bestows upon us a natural ability to play a leading role in ensuring peace and stability in the Indian Ocean Region…. The security of maritime activity through the sea-lanes in Indian Ocean is of crucial importance for the economic prosperity of our nation and that of the world" [65] . The Indian Ocean region will continue to hold great interest for all nations. Its management is the responsibility of littoral states. However, these states are fragile and at varying degrees of development. There is no awareness that the sound maritime cooperation and good ocean management hold the key to a common goal for all the states. India with its vast maritime interests has much to offer to friendly maritime nations in the form of cooperation which could extend from human resource management and training to shipbuilding, ship repair, intelligence sharing, surveillance and other measures against common threats of maritime terrorism and piracy, environmental protection and in other areas of ocean management. The Indian Ocean area will have to remain secure and tranquil. The main instrument of this stability will be the Indian Navy. The Navy should have the capability to keep IOR under surveillance and presence to ensure no interference takes place to our interests. It must be oceanic in character, regional in reach and proactive in approach [66] .

3. The threat of maritime terrorism to the global maritime system is likely to increase and the system of management in the Indian Ocean will have to improve to face these challenges. Some areas of activities need to be given greater attention. First, the internal system of ocean management should be refined within the maritime nations by setting up Ocean Commissions. Secondly, greater maritime cooperation is a must between maritime nations.

4. In the emerging maritime security environment, the North Indian Ocean region has acquired strategic and security dimensions which India just cannot ignore. We have important maritime interests which stretch from the Gulf region in the West to the coast of SE Asia in the East. Non-traditional threats are becoming increasingly potent and the sea lanes of communications, critical to India's energy security and economic growth, are beginning to get threatened. The changing environment requires capabilities at sea that can safeguard our interests through a mix which encompasses engagement, cooperation, reassurances and deterrence. It is evident that all this can be achieved by employing various facets of naval diplomacy.

5. The navies even though configured for war fighting, have inherent versatility that allows their use in a wide range of non-combat activities. That they can be configured for war fighting gives them an ambiguity that can be exploited to support various diplomatic initiatives. In recent times, maritime diplomacy changes positively from the earlier traditional role of 'avoiding war' to more in terms of confidence building and forging greater cooperation among nations. At present, the Indian Navy is being increasingly called upon to perform a greater role to defend India's interests. The navy is also in the process of turning itself into vehicle for promoting India's foreign policy. The series of recently held initiatives reflects that the Indian Navy is maturing in its diplomatic travail and winning accolades. The Indian Ocean Naval s

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