07/01 | Changing Security Dynamics in the Indian Ocean Region in the 21st Century

 By Centre for Land Warfare Studies


1. The Indian Ocean Region has always been the hotbed of activities due to its geostrategic location, as the connecting point between West Asia and Southeast Asia. India holds the vantage point by virtue of its geography in the Indian Ocean. The Indian Ocean, as K M Panikkar opined would always be a strength for India in the international arena. Just as the Indian Ocean is an asset for India, it also poses a security threat and is an important game-changer in the security dynamics of the Indo-Pacific region.

2. China’s increasing footprints in the Indian Ocean Region has given rise to an emerging security situation calling for the stakeholders to revise their strategy- as exemplified by QUAD. While India is a dominant power in Indian Ocean, China’s aim to gain control in the Indian Ocean jeopardises the security of India as well as the Indian Ocean littoral states. This inevitably impacts and challenges the security dynamics in the Indian Ocean Region.

3. In this context, the webinar will focus on two key aspects:-
(a) Understanding the changing dynamics in the Indian Ocean Region and its impact on India.
(b) Assessing the China factor in changing the security situation in the Indian Ocean Region.


1000-1005hWelcome Address

Ms Shreya Das Barman, Publication Manager, CLAWS

1005-1015hOpening Remarks by the Chairperson

Vice Admiral Anil Chopra, PVSM, AVSM (Retd), Distinguished Fellow, CLAWS

1015-1035hThe Indian Ocean in the 21st Century: Security Challenges and Implications for India

Mr Abhijit Singh, Senior Fellow & Head, Maritime Policy Initiative, ORF

1035-1055hThe China Challenge in the Indian Ocean & Its Implications

Dr. Amrita Jash, Research Fellow, CLAWS

1055-1120hQ & A
1120-1130hConcluding Remarks

Lt Gen (Dr.) V K Ahluwalia, PVSM, AVSM**, YSM, VSM (Retd), Director, CLAWS


 Vice Admiral Anil Chopra, PVSM, AVSM (Retd), Distinguished Fellow CLAWS

has the unique distinction of being the only Admiral in the Indian Navy’s history to have been the Commander-in-Chief of both the Navy’s combatant commands i.e. the Western Naval Command, and the Eastern Naval Command; as well as the Director-General of the Indian Coast Guard. The Vice-Admiral commanded the Western Fleet, known as the Navy’s sword–arm; the aircraft carrier, INS Viraat; the destroyer, INS Rajput; and the missile corvette, INS Kuthar. As Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Policy and Plans), and earlier, as Principal Director Naval Plans, he was extensively associated with the Navy’s long-term force structure, and it’s perspective and financial planning. In 2017, he was appointed by the government as a member of the National Security Advisory Board, which provides inputs to the apex National Security Council on security issues.

 Mr. Abhijit Singh, Senior Fellow, ORF

A former naval officer, Abhijit Singh, Senior Fellow, heads the Maritime Policy Initiative at ORF. A maritime professional with specialist and command experience in front-line Indian naval ships, he has been involved in the writing of India’s maritime strategy (2007). He is a keen commentator on maritime matters and has written extensively on security and governance issues in the Indian Ocean and Pacific littorals. His articles and commentaries have been published in the Asian Bureau for Asian Research (NBR), the Lowy Interpreter, the World Politics Review, the Diplomat and CSIS Pacific Forum. Editor of two books on maritime security — Indian Ocean Challenges: A Quest for Cooperative Solutions (2013) and Geopolitics of the Indo-Pacific (2014), Abhijit has published papers on India’s growing maritime reach, the security of sea-lines of communication in the Indo-Pacific region, Indian Ocean governance issues and maritime infrastructure in the Asian littorals. In 2010, he assisted the late Vice-Admiral G. M. Hiranandani (Retd) in the authorship of the third volume of Indian Naval History, Transition to Guardianship.

Dr. Amrita Jash, Research Fellow, CLAWS

Dr. Amrita Jash is Research Fellow at the Centre for Land Warfare Studies, New Delhi. She is a Pavate Fellow and has been a Visiting Fellow at the Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge. She holds a Ph.D in Chinese Studies from Jawaharlal Nehru University. She is the Managing Editor of the CLAWS Journal(KW Publishers). Dr. Jash was a UGC Graduate Fellow (2012-2017); a US-INDIA-CHINA InitiativeFellow SAIS-Johns Hopkins University(2013); a researcher under China’s Ministry of Commerce(2014); a researcher under Harvard-Yenching-Nanching Programme (2015). In 2019, Dr. Jash received the COAS Gen Bipin Rawat’s commendation for contributing to the field of Chinese Studies. Dr. Jash’s research has appeared in 13 edited books, Peer-Reviewed Journals such as East Asian Policy, Review of Global Politics, Strategic Analysis, Yonsei Journal, China Report, Maritime Affairs and Strategic Vision. She has published with CSIS, RUSI, RSIS, Pacific Forum, ThinkChina, Huffington Post, E-IR, Asia Times, Munk School, Crawford School, ISDP, China-India Brief, SADF, and others. Her expertise are: China’s foreign policy, strategic and security issues; the PLA, India-China relations, China-Japan relations, and Indo-Pacific. Dr. Jash  co-edited the book on COVID-19 & Its Challenges: Is India Future Ready? with Lt Gen (Dr.) VK Ahluwalia (Pentagon Press, 2020).