Modi Marks Out His Territory

India pushing back against China in IOR.

Modi Marks Out His Territory

By Wendy Laursen

The Indian Ocean has been dominated by foreign powers for 300 years, but Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tour of the Seychelles, Mauritius and Sri Lanka last week demonstrates that he is now reclaiming the deeper cultural connection between Indian Ocean island states and “mother India.”

On his March 10 to 14 tour Modi made a plea for the peaceful resolution of maritime issues and respect for international maritime rules. He called for a strengthening of Indian Ocean relations while in Mauritius where he commissioned the island nation’s latest coastal patrol vessel.

The 1,300 ton Indian-built patrol boat Barracuda will be used to help Mauritius police its vast 2.3 million square kilometer exclusive economic zone. “She will be there to help in times of disasters and emergencies. But she will do more than that. She will also help make our Indian Ocean safer and more secure,” Modi said.

Rather than grouping regions by land masses, Modi told his host Prime Minister Anerood Jugnauth that he wanted an Indian Ocean grouping. “We will pursue this with new vigour in the years ahead,” he said, adding that Mauritius would make an ideal host for the Indian Ocean Regional Association (IORA).

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