Transformation in strategic perceptions and Modi administration’s maritime security strategy

LOU Chunhao1

(1.Institute of Maritime Studies, China Institute of Contemporary International Relation, Beijing 100081, China)

【Abstract】After the Modi administration came to power in 2014, its strategic perceptions of diplomacy and security have been greatly adjusted. Its strategic vision has expanded from the Indian Ocean to the Indo-Pacific region. Its strategic principle has shifted from “non-alignment” to “strategic autonomy,” and its strategic emphasis is on maritime security. Affected by such change in strategic perceptions, the Modi administration’s maritime security strategy is more active and assertive and corresponding adjustments in strategic positioning, strategic vision and strategic initiatives have been made, which emphasizes the promotion of maritime security strategy by comprehensive means in the Indo-Pacific framework, so as to better comply with the grand strategy serving the rise of India. At the practical level, the Modi administration has substantially improved its maritime security cooperation level with the United States and its allies, continuously strengthened its leadership over Indian Ocean security affairs, and integrated more maritime security factors while promoting the “Act East Policy,” strengthening its own capacity building to better implement the maritime security strategy. In the process of promotion, the Modi administration is also faced with such problems as balancing the relations between great powers, bridging the gap between capability and willingness, and properly handling the relations between neighboring countries. As far as China is concerned, it should examine the Indian factor from the perspective of the Indo-Pacific maritime security order. In fact, China should not only recognize the fact of competition with India in the field of maritime security, but also strive to tap the potential of cooperation with India in this field.

【Keywords】 India; strategic perception; Modi administration; maritime security strategy; Indo-Pacific China-India relations;

【DOI】

【Funds】 Major Project of Philosophy and Social Sciences Research, Ministry of Education (17JZD035) Special Project of National Social Science Foundation of China (17VHQ009)

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(Translated by ZHONG Yehong)

    Footnote

    [1]. ① Quote from the speech by Menon, Former National Security Adviser of India. Refer to Shiv Shankar Menon, “Maritime Imperatives of Indian Foreign Policy,” Maritime Affairs, Vol. 5, No. 2, 2009, p. 16. [^Back]

    [2]. ② [India] Panikkar, K. India and The Indian Ocean: An Essay on the Influence of Sea Power on Indian History. De, L., et al. (eds.) Beijing: World Affairs Press, 81 (1965). Panikkar is a famous Indian politician, diplomat, thinker and the first Indian ambassador to China. His argument about sea power has a great impact on the development of India’s maritime security strategy. His work India and the Indian Ocean: An Essay on the Influence of Sea Power on Indian History and Mahan’s classic work The Influence of Sea Power Upon History (1890) are similar in title, which shows that Mahan’s thought of sea power is highly praised by Panikkar. [^Back]

    [3]. ① Three conflicts with Pakistan broke out in India in 1947, 1965 and 1971, respectively. In 1962, Chinese self-defense counterattack along the border was triggered by India’s “Forward Policy.” In the above-mentioned conflicts, the Indian Navy only played a role in the third Indian-Pakistani conflict in 1971, while playing a negligible role in other conflicts. [^Back]

    [4]. ② The English names of the above documents are Indian Maritime Doctrine (2004, 2009), Indian Navy’s Vision Statement (2006), Roadmap to Transformation (2006), Freedom to Use the Seas: India’s Maritime Military Strategy (2007) and Maritime Capability Perspective Plan 2012–2027 (2012). [^Back]

    [5]. ① The term “First Republic” means that during the Cold War, India in it diplomacy insisted on non-alignment, anti-imperialism and anti-colonialism, implemented “Indira Doctrine” in surrounding areas, put forward Indian Ocean as a Zone of Peace and opposed the US-Soviet hegemony in the Indian Ocean. The term “Second Republic” means that India in its diplomacy insisted on non-alignment from the end of the Cold War to Modi coming to power, vitalized the great power diplomacy, implemented “Gujral Doctrine” with the focus on the policy of conciliation, and established the India-led regional mechanism in the Indian Ocean. Refer to C. Raja Mohan, Modi’s World: Expanding India’s Sphere of Influence, Harper Collins Publishers India, 2015. [^Back]

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This Article

ISSN:1003-3386

CN: 11-5370/D

Vol 35, No. 05, Pages 98-131

September 2018

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Article Outline

Abstract

  • Introduction
  • 1 Strategic environment change and Modi administration’s strategic perceptions
  • 2 New concept of Modi administration’s maritime security strategy
  • 3 Practice of Modi administration’s maritime security strategy
  • 4 Prospect of Modi administration’s maritime security strategy
  • Conclusion
  • Footnote