India’s Growing Maritime Power

In the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars’ recent publication ‘India’s Contemporary Security Challenges‘, Arun Prakash, the Head of the National Maritime Foundation in New Delhi and a former Indian Chief of Naval Staff and Chairman of the Chief of Staffs Committee, has published a highly interesting paper entitled ‘The Rationale and Implications of India’s Growing Maritime Power’.

The Rationale and Implications of India’s Growing Maritime Power

by Arun Prakash

It was not too long ago when Indians felt exasperated that scholarly opinion in the United States tended to either ignore or understate India’s regional significance. It was also galling for some that American scholars and analysts were either dismissive of, or paid little attention to, India’s evolving sea power and the motivation prompting this renewed maritime focus.

But things are obviously changing, because a steady stream of study teams and delegations have, of late, been visiting New Delhi to investigate India’s allegedly “dramatic” naval growth, and many investigative pieces of writing have appeared in print and on the Internet.

Those in India who are intrigued by this eruption of curiosity need to remind themselves that when a third-world country is seen launching a nuclear submarine or negotiating the price of a second-hand aircraft carrier, ears do prick up and often hackles rise. Indians may have the reputation of being a talkative race, but they are not very good at communication. This paper attempts to redress this lacuna by discussing the rationale behind India’s growing maritime power as well as its implications.

The Growth Story

First of all, the Indian Navy is not an entity that grew overnight. At independence in 1947, the departing British saw India as a potential base and bastion against a possible Soviet advance toward the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. In this Commonwealth [continue reading….]

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Author: Oliver Ward
Date: 30 April 2011

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