India Seeks More Maritime Support From Neighbors to Oust China From Indian Ocean

© AP Photo / Rafiq MaqboolIndian navy person stands guard on board war ship Godavari during its decommissioning at the naval dockyard in Mumbai, India, Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015
Indian navy person stands guard on board war ship Godavari during its decommissioning at the naval dockyard in Mumbai, India, Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015 - Sputnik International
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India has been pushing for a collective security mechanism with its maritime neighbors to prevent China from making further inroads into the Indian Ocean region where India has its strategically most important economic zone.

New Delhi (Sputnik) In view of the increasing Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean Region, India is lobbying hard for a consensus among other countries of the region to support India. India’s foreign minister, Sushma Swaraj is in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo, where she addressed the inaugural session of the second Indian Ocean conference. She called for the development of a security architecture for collective action.

“We will use our capabilities for the collective well being, and the mutual benefit of our maritime neighbors and island states in building their capabilities. As we envisage the Indian Ocean as an engine for growth and prosperity in our region and beyond, it is of utmost importance that these waters remain safe and secure. We consider it an imperative that those who live in this region bear the primary responsibility for the peace, stability and prosperity of the Indian Ocean,” Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj said.  

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“The Indian Ocean is prone to non-traditional security threats like piracy, smuggling, maritime terrorism, illegal fishing and trafficking of humans and narcotics. We realize that to effectively combat transnational security challenges across the Indian Ocean, including those posed by non-state actors, it is important to develop a security architecture that strengthens the culture of cooperation and collective action,” she added.

The Indian Ocean is one of the busiest and most critical maritime transportation links in the world, carrying about half of the world’s container shipments, one-third of the world’s bulk cargo traffic and two-thirds of the oil shipment. Both India and China are in a tug of war to increase their influence in the Indian Ocean Region.

The Indian Ocean is of vital strategic importance to India as it consists of 2.4 million square km of economic zone and almost all of India’s oil imports come through it.

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