GS Mains Model Question & Answer: Discuss advantages which India enjoys being as the head of the Indian ocean

GS Mains Model Question & Answer: Discuss advantages which India enjoys being as the head of the Indian ocean

Q. Discuss advantages which India enjoys being as the head of the Indian ocean. (12.5 Marks)

(General Studies Mains Paper II*- International Relations : India and its neighbourhood)

Model Answer :

The central position of India, its magnificent resources, its teeming multitude of men, its great trading harbors, its reserve of military strength, supplying an army always in a high state of efficiency and capable of being hurled at a moment’s notice upon any given point either of Asia and Africa- all there are assets of precious values. On the west, India must exercise a predominant influence over the destinies of Persia and Afghanistan; on the north, it can veto any rival in Tibet; on the north-east and east, it can exert great pressure upon China, and it is one of the guardians of the autonomous existence of Siam. On the high seas it commands the routes to Australia and the China Sea.

  • India is situated between the Middle East, Central Asia, China, Southeast Asia, and the Indian Ocean. India must remember that it can use its location to its strategic advantage by projecting power outwards into all those regions.

  • Additionally, India can also use its central location in the Indian Ocean to become a hub of transportation, communication, and trade. Although these facts should be obvious to anyone who looks at a map, India has often punched below its weight instead of taking full advantage of its strategic location.

  • India is blessed with many resources and manpower reserves, which in addition to its geography, can be useful in establishing India as the dominant power in the Indian Ocean.

  • Shared strategic concerns, historical ties, and economic interests can propel India to play a greater role in some of the countries to its west, especially Afghanistan, where it is already doing so. India’s only foreign military base is located in Tajikistan, which allows it to continue to be involved in Afghanistan and Central Asia. Despite the difficulties of projecting influence and power around Pakistan into Afghanistan and Central Asia and Iran, it is important for India to remain involved in these regions, because to do otherwise would be ceding influence there to other powers, especially China.

  • India’s central location in the Indian Ocean makes it the natural naval power in that ocean. India can use historical ties, the influence of diaspora communities, and the guarantee of security to increase its naval involvement in both the eastern and western extremities of the Indian Ocean, near the Straits of Malacca and in the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea. India would be able to increase its influence and earn the gratitude of smaller powers. As yet, India has no major rivals in the Indian Ocean, so it is extremely important for India to strengthen its naval capacities before such rivals appear, especially China.

  • Having lost control of the high ground — literally — in regards to Tibet, there is little India can do to exert influence in that direction, or over a stronger China.Much of Southeast Asia is indeed open to greater Indian involvement and would welcome it as a counterweight to too much Chinese influence in the region.


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