Why The Indian Ocean Is Significant?
The third-largest Indian Ocean has emerged as the most significant for security, strategy, and economy in the Asia-Pacific littoral. The importance of the Indian ocean is briefly explained here. As it is the largest ocean covers 20% of the water on the earth’s surface. Almost 80% of the world’s seaborne trade in oil passes through the Indian Ocean. It contains 40% of the world’s oil and gas reserves. Moreover, It provides major sea routes that connect the Middle East, Africa and East Asia with Europe & the USA. With a booming economy, China is emerging as a key player in this Region. Also, It may become the dominant superpower in Asia-Pacific. The Indian Ocean in map there is most of the Muslim population.
India is also one of the world’s rising powers. The importance of Indian Ocean region is vital to the world’s two newest nuclear weapons states that is India and Pakistan and also Iran. India almost imports about 70 percent of its oil through this Region to its various ports. The purpose is to enhance its strategic influence by using soft power. Also, by becoming a major foreign investor in regional mining, gas, oil, and infrastructure projects. Moreover, India has aggressively extended its naval presence. China is also accused of engaging in a String of Pearls strategy to surround India.
Indian Ocean Trade
For the Indian Ocean trade route, there is much importance of Indian Ocean and especially for increasingly significant energy flows. China wants to secure its energy supply coming from the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. The presence of vital maritime, natural resources and the US axle to Asia along with the prominent Japan and India have added great focus on this region. The establishment of new naval bases and air-defense zones in the area has great importance.
The rise of China raises major challenges to the status quo in the region with larger consequences for its neighbors and for the USA. The overall impact of China’s engagement with countries in the region has been both a positive impact as a result of trade. Also the Negative impact due to its hostile approach. India is a state with the fourth-largest economy across the globe. It is almost 70% dependent on oil import, the major part of which comes from the gulf region. The importance of Indian ocean has increased for the trade of crude oil to Europe, North America, and East Asia. Other major commodities include iron, coal, rubber, and tea are also other commodities for trade.
Strategic Importance of Indian Ocean Beyond The Region
British used to be a predominant military power in the Indian Ocean region for almost 200 years. But in the 1960s they decided to cut the British presence East of Suez. After that, the Indian ocean became important for extra-regional forces due to inter & intrastate weaknesses in the states adjoining the region. Especially after the Iran-Iraq war. So, as a result, both the USA and Soviet Union deployed naval forces in the Indian Ocean to assure their energy security. After the event of the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan, forced the US to establish its naval command in the Indian Ocean for threatening access to the oil resources in the region. So, this was the inception of the so-called superpower rivalry in the Indian Ocean region.
Progressive US administrations provoke developments with an active search for facilities across the Indian Ocean. It also has increased the importance of Indian ocean and met with significant success in getting such facilities in Oman. Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, and Singapore. Hundreds of B 52 bomber flights operated by the US from CENTCOM base during the 1990-91 war against Iraq. It shows the strategic significance of the Indian Ocean region.
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Significance For Russia
Russia is located far away from the Indian Ocean. Still, the importance of Indian ocean is great for the country’s strategy. When the Soviets maintained its naval presence in the Indian ocean. Then after its collapse, its attention to the region decreased due to internal reasons. But in the latest decade, Russia coming back to the Indian Ocean with its power. For example, the Russian naval ships conducting anti-piracy operations near the coasts of Africa. With having limited relations in terms of security and trade in the region, we can see that Russia is playing only a limited role or no part at all in the Indian Ocean’s affairs. However, Russia as a global power has important economic and strategic interests with this region.
Importance Of Indian Ocean For Australia
Australia is a leading Indian Ocean state. The region of the Indian ocean is much significant strategically for Australia. It is contributing to regional stability by wider regional cooperation, developing norms and creating the regional capacity to address challenges peacefully. Australia develops Indian Ocean trade relations with 15 trading partners. Such as India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, etc.
Importance For Japan
The importance of Indian Ocean for Japan is vital. It is playing a dynamic role in the Indian Ocean region. In January 2019, Japan sent its Foreign Minister to the Raisina Dialogue. It is a high-profile conference in India dedicated to geopolitics. Do you know about Japan’s growing activity in the Indian Ocean region.? The answer is China. Its influence in the Indian ocean is great since the 2000s. Chinese naval vessels have kept in the Indian Ocean. According to the Raisina Dialogue 2019, There are six to eight Chinese Navy ships sent to the northern part of the Indian Ocean.
The reason is the security situation in the Indian Ocean is a national interest in Japan. China’s growing presence in the region is a major concern for Japan. It has sent warships to the Indian Ocean since 2001 to safeguard Japanese SLOCs in the Indian Ocean. Japan is now actively considering a Constitutional analysis to escape from the legal handicap in terms of collective-security. This would make Japan more militarily confident. Japan is also cooperating with India and the United States to promote the common interests of all countries in the region.
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More About Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest ocean in the world covering 70,560,000 km square. The importance of the Indian Ocean is undefinable. To sustain the balance of power the extra-regional forces always maintain its influence and presence in this region. So, geostrategic and geoeconomic competition in this region is necessary. The countries beyond this region are much more concerned with China’s maritime expansionism. This is confirmed by its constructions of harbors in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Myanmar. This has created vulnerability to their balance of power and traditional regional relationships. Due to the economic advantages, these states are unwilling to create any rivalries. So their own survival is necessary. Indian Ocean strategic waterways have taken special attention in oceanic trade. The oil trade is flowing from the Middle East to Asia through sea routes.
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