India recently joined the Djibouti Code of Conduct as an Observer, after a high-level meeting held virtually on August 26 this year. This has furthered India’s outreach at the Indian Ocean Region. This opportunity must be utilised, especially amid the current times of crisis to provide various assistances apart from maritime security to the littorals in the Western Indian Ocean Region, which holds global strategic significance.
India’s importance in the Indian Ocean region and rising recognition of the same was once again highlighted recently when it joined the Indian Ocean Commission as an observer. India being a predominant force in the Indian Ocean, joining this important organization lends much required depth to SAGAR vision of PM Narendra Modi.
In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping launched China’s most ambitious project One Belt One Road (OBOR) which involves the building of two projects namely – Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB) and a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (MSR). OBOR later came to be known as Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). BRI is arguably the most ambitious global infrastructure project ever envisaged by one country. However, is this merely an economic project? or a geopolitical one of China? Will India get any benefit by joining this project or not? Let us discuss those issues in detail.
The Central government has formulated a 5 year, Rs 8,000 crore plan to explore the deep parts of the Ocean for the possibilities of deep-sea mining. Union Ministry of Earth Sciences is tasked with coordinating the exercise and it recently unveiled a blueprint of the Deep Ocean Mission (DOM).
Quad Plus, which includes Quad countries along with South Korea, New Zealand and Vietnam, initiated weekly video conferences since March 20 to discuss the common issues pertaining to COVID-19 pandemic. These discussions have brought Quad back into focus as one of the important groupings in the Indo-Pacific. While the expansion of the alliance to ensure international cooperation to deal with this crisis a step in the right direction, the ultimate objective of countering China’s aggression has been put on the backburner though Beijing has increased its hostility in the South China Sea and Sino-Indian borders.