Settling Maritime Disputes

A safe and secure maritime environment is a precondition for the free flow of international trade.

Can the Indian Ocean region be a model for the rules-based system in Asia?

By Scott H Swift, Commander, US Pacific Fleet

Beginning 2016 with a look at the Indian Ocean region is an excellent way to set the tone for the year ahead. I’m looking forward to meeting with my friend, Indian Chief of Navy Admiral RK Dhowan in New Delhi and with many more regional naval leaders at the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium in Dhaka.

Exchanging views with these leaders is the surest way to deepen cooperation where our interests intersect and discuss where they diverge.

Some assume from the name ‘US Pacific Fleet’ that we focus only on maritime interests east of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore. Nothing could be further from the truth. Looking east of the Straits, I see protracted maritime disputes and potential erosion of the international rules-based system that has benefitted so many nations. But looking west, I see promising trends of peaceful resolution of disputes and growing maritime cooperation between regional navies.

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