Ocean Policy


India is located at the center of the North Indian Ocean, having access to the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia by way of the sea. The country is surrounded by the sea from the east, west and south, with its coastline spanning approximately 7,500 km. In the 11th Century, India possessed a powerful naval force, building a naval empire that held much of Southeast Asia under its influence. As this history shows, India's interest in the ocean lies with its powerful influence over the Indian and Pacific Ocean region. In recent years, the characteristics of India's ocean policies show that it has an increased interest in the ocean. At the backbone of this idea is the country's ever increasing 1.2 billion population and the rise in food and energy consumption corresponding to the country's economic development, as these are central factors that have led India to increase dependence on sea routes for exports and imports. "Nonalightment 2.0," considered to be a semi-formal document due to the participation of all former national security advisors, outlined a policy for India's transition from a land power to sea power*1. Examining the breakdown of India's defense expenditure also reveals that naval shares have been steadily increasing, as seen in the increase from 13% in FY1990 to 18% in FY2012. Even among the increasing defense expenditure across all fields of land, sea and air, the increasing naval shares have an important significance and show in numbers India's trend towards placing emphasis on the ocean*2. At the same time, when considering India's ocean policy, the country's deepening relationship with Japan is also noteworthy, as the two nations have strengthened ties in a variety of issues including security, economy and cultural policies. In recent years, there has been a Japan-India dialogue regarding their respective ocean policies, three-way talks between Japan, India and the United States, and a Japan-India conference on policies in Africa. A conference on ASEAN between Japan and India has also been set, along with joint Japan-India naval drills and joint naval drills between Japan, India and the United States. Furthermore, in the private sector, plans have been set for the development of port facilities in India. These developments indicate India's trend in recent years to actively engage in ocean policies as well as its deepened ties with Japan.

Ocean Policies of Other Countries