Strategic Locations in Indian Ocean Regions
1. Strait of Hormuz(connects Persian Gulf and The gulf of Oman)
2. Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb (connects Gulf of Aden with the Red Sea)
3. Strait of Malacca (connects Indian Ocean to Pacific Ocean)
Dominant Countries in IOR
Challenges for India in IOR
- China is the main cause of concern for India which is trying counter Indian dominance in the region.
- China with the help of Pakistan building Gwadar Port in Pakistan, which very much closer to India as well as Strait of Hormuz.
- Besides Gwadar china taken Hambantota Port on lease for 99 ears from Srilanka due to default of Chinese loans by Srilanka.
- China is also developing Kyaukpyu port near Strait of Malacca in association with Myanmar, which is close to Andaman and Nicobar Command of India.
- USA's Sanctions on Iran made Indian position weak in the region as it hurt India-Iran relations because India had to stop oil imports from Iran despite good relations. Although India became successful in excluding Chabahar Port from US sanctions, which is being developed by India to boost it's position in IOR.
- Foreign policy issues with Srilanka, Pakistan and Maldives.
What is being done by India to Sustain its Dominance in IOR?
- India constantly pushing Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), whose members are Australia, Bangladesh, the Comoros, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen to boost economic co-opration and development of the region.
- Chabahar Port development is being done by India in Iran to boost it's dominance in the region and would also help India to connect with Central Asia.
- Maintaining good relations with Maldives, which is also one of the most important location in Indian Ocean which can be used to keep close watch over shipments passing through between Srilanka and Maldives.
- Despite some differences India remained successful in maintaining good relations with it's most of the neighbouring countries, which is essential for Indian dominance in the region.
- India is constantly working with USA, Japan and Australia to boost it's presence through many bilateral and multilateral naval exercises in the region.
What needs to be done by India to boost it's Dominance ?
- India has to improve it's diplomatic channels in Critical countries like Srilanka and Myanmar to overcome difference and problems of India with these countries.
- Although India has not much cash reserves in it's wallet but India should finance projects of neighbouring countries especially Srilanka, Maldives, Myanmar, Indonesia and Bangladesh as it is done by China.
- We need to talk with USA on the issue of Iran as it is essential for India to connect to Central Asia and Afghanistan.
- We have to increase our Naval presence in critical areas to safeguard shipments as it was done in previous year (2019), when tension between USA and Iran grown to critical levels.
- India should integrate with France a resident power in the ocean.
- India should also engage with Britain and other European countries, who has good stake in the region.