New wars on the Cold War relic

Is an Indian Ocean Zone of Peace possible today?

New wars on the Cold War relic

T. P. SREENIVASAN
Revisiting the Indian Ocean zone of peace concept, which has led to long debates since 1971, may prove hazardous in the present context, because the rivalry that is taking shape in the region is between the U.S. and its allies, and China.

The National Security Adviser, Ajit Doval, has sought to revisit the U.N. General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 2832 (XXVI) declaring the Indian Ocean as a zone of peace, and which has called upon the great powers not to allow an escalation and an expansion of military presence in the Indian Ocean. (The Hindu, December 1, 2014). The expectation is that it can be used as a device to prevent China from holding sway in the Indian Ocean.

While the Indian Ocean Zone of Peace (IOZOP), in its original form, appears relevant in the present context, the innumerable problems India has faced on account of the resolution and the U.N. Adhoc Committee on the Indian Ocean must be recalled before we take any formal initiative in this regard. Sri Lanka, our comrade in arms in the IOZOP initiative, has played games with us even in the happier days of India-Sri Lanka relations and when China was not in the picture. The new narrative in the Indo-Pacific may not be congenial to depending on Sri Lanka or any other neighbour to deliver on the IOZOP in accordance with our interests.

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Source: thehindu.com

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