The role of Indian Ocean has increased with Asia becoming a major economic hub and all the stakeholders, including global mercantile nations must prepare a security architecture for the region, former NSA Shivsankar Menon has said.
“The Indian Ocean sees much less tension” compared to other seas, Menon said at a forum held in Singapore on Monday.
He said the role of Indian Ocean has increased with Asia becoming the major economic hub. For this, the stakeholders, including global mercantile nations, must prepare the security architecture. He also pointed out the development in the region, including ports, naval capacity and military exercises.
“The Indian Ocean is probably most militarised and nuclearised region but peace has prevailed because of balance of powers and no dominance by super power,” said Menon at the forum on “The Indian Ocean” organised by the Institute of South Asian Studies, a think-tank of the National University of Singapore. Menon also expressed concern about threats from the neighbourhood, with increasing activities of terrorists and extremists in the Persian Gulf and territorial contests in the South China Sea.
Noting probable spillover of neighbourhood threats, Menon said the calm in Indian Ocean is “fragile” due to these probable threats. The Indian Ocean is very different from the Western Pacific and the seas near China in term of geography or in terms of its geopolitics, he said.
Today, the Indian Ocean does not see an overlapping sovereignty claim as is in the South China Sea. India and Bangladesh, for one, have accepted the decision of United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on a territorial dispute.
“The non-traditional security threats are diverse. These are not just piracy but drug smuggling and human trafficking and increasing demand for humanitarian and disaster relief. It probably reminds us to act now and prevent it from being disturb in the future,” Menon said.