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Maritime Movements

Vol. 7 No. 1 | 2020 Edition
Dr. Jagannath Panda

India's "Africa Adventure" in the Indian Ocean Commission

Dr. Jagannath Panda

        On March 6, 2020, India secured the distinction of ob‐ server status to the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), an association that consists of five Indian Ocean states—Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar, Comoros, and Réunion (France). New Delhi is now formally clubbed in the IOC along with the four other observer countries of China, Malta, the European Union, and the International Organisation of La Francophone (OIF). What does this mean for India’s power play in the Indo-Pacific?

Fundamentally, inclusion in the IOC points to a more serious structural maritime engagement for India in the Western Indian Ocean region. The IOC is a key grouping working to foster cooperation on both traditional and non-traditional security matters of the Western Indian Ocean, which connects the Southeastern Coast of Africa with the mainstream Indian Ocean. In other words, this association opens the gateway for a more formal "continental connection" between India and the Eastern African coastal countries bordering the Indian Ocean. It not only enhances India’s stature as a rising maritime power in the Western Indian Ocean, but also exemplifies India’s security-based desire for institutionalized association with countries in the region. It promotes cooperation between India and the littoral countries on the Eastern African Coast in a number of key activities in the region: maritime-military aid and assistance, capacity building, joint military exercises, sea patrolling, logistics and intelligence assistantship, and naval training...


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Dr. Jagannath Panda

Dr. Jagannath Panda is a research fellow and center coordinator for East Asia at the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. He is also the series editor for Routledge Studies on Think Asia.

Dr. Ashraf Mohammed Kishk

Strategies of Gulf countries for Confronting Maritime Security Threats

A View from the Region

Dr. Ashraf Mohammed Kishk

        The American Navy officer Alfred Mahan underlined three important elements that speak to the impact of naval power on the strength of countries: first, fleets and vessels are more efficient and stronger than land forces. Second, the cost of maritime transportation is less than other forms of transport. Finally, the countries that want to be influential in the world must possess a naval force.

Despite enjoying the strategic advantages that come with their location, Arabian Gulf countries are subject to enormous maritime security challenges due to power imbalances in the regional security equation. To this end, small countries’ defense options include engaging in defense alliances and building self-security, or the ability to achieve national security without relying on external forces. While self-security can include armament or other forms of protection, it remains contingent on countries’ material capabilities and population size. Furthermore, they are unable to arm themselves to an endless level.[1]...

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[1] Development of Gulf regional security since 2003: a study in the impact of NATO's Strategy, Center for Arab Unity Studies, Beirut, 2015.

Dr. Ashraf Mohammed Kishk


Dr. Ashraf Mohammed Kishk is the Director of the Strategic and International Studies Program and Managing Editor of Derasat (Studies) Journal at the Bahrain Center for Strategic, International and Energy Studies.

Admiral James Stravridis (ret.)

Sailing True North

Ten Admirals and the Voyage of Character by Admiral James Stavridis USN (ret.)

A Book Review by Zachary Shapiro

An Unspoken Lesson on the Complexity of Character

Admiral James Stavridis’s new book, Sailing True North, offers an implicit rejection of the "cancel culture."

        The so-called “cancel culture” was not born in 2019. But it took on new forms last year when it stretched beyond Hollywood and came for the Founding Fathers. In July, the city of Charlottesville, Virginia announced that it would no longer celebrate Thomas Jefferson’s birthday as an official city holiday. Toward the end of the year, former President Barack Obama came out against the ascendant “cancel culture” movement, warning that “[t]he world is messy; there are ambiguities.”

The timing of former NATO Supreme Commander Admiral James Stavridis’s new book could not be better. Sailing True North: Ten Admirals and the Voyage of Character explores a range of great warriors of the sea and delves into their defining traits...

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Zachary Shapiro


Zachary Shapiro is a foreign policy analyst and master’s candidate at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. His work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Haaretz, Politico Magazine, and elsewhere. @z_shapiro

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