Ever since Narendra Modi came at the helm of affairs, India has tried to deepen its framework for maritime engagement with the Indian Ocean littoral.
“India has a long history of being a maritime nation. The arc of influence of Indian Ocean extends well beyond its littoral limits. Our initiative of SAGAR – Security and Growth for All in the Region — is not just limited to safeguarding our mainland and islands. It defines our efforts to deepen economic and security cooperation in our maritime relationships,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said while addressing the second annual Raisina Dialogue, a Geo-political gathering with ambitions to match other conclaves of a similar nature in Munich, Dubai and Singapore.
Modi further added that, “We know that convergence, cooperation and collective action will advance economic activity and peace in our maritime region. We also believe that the primary responsibility for peace, prosperity and security in the Indian Ocean rests with those who live in this region. Ours is not an exclusive approach. And, we aim to bring countries together on the basis of respect for international law.”
Repeating India’s concern about the South China Sea and China’s aggressive maneuvering in the Indian Ocean region, Modi said that, “We believe that respecting Freedom of Navigation and adhering to international norms is essential for peace and economic growth in the larger and inter-linked marine geography of the Indo-Pacific.”
“There is no doubt that, as India’s ambition of becoming a great power in linked with its strategic influence across the seas. India is following that path,” former Indian ambassador and expert on India’s maritime strategy, Yogendra Kumar told Sputnik.
In fact, India is going by the dictum that, “Whoever controls the Indian Ocean dominates Asia.”