The Future of Great Power Rivalry in the Indian Ocean

Authored by: Iskander Rehman

The Routledge Handbook of Asian Security Studies

Print publication date:  October  2017
Online publication date:  October  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138210295
eBook ISBN: 9781315455655
Adobe ISBN:


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In 2009, Robert D. Kaplan, a well-known journalist and strategic commentator, published a widely-read article on the Indian Ocean, which he predicted would emerge as the “center-stage” for great powers rivalries in the 21st century. 1 In particular, Kaplan envisioned the emergence of a maritime variant of the “Great Game”, whereby Asia’s two great rising powers, India and China, would vie for control over access to energy supplies and sea lines of communication, and engage in a shadowy struggle for influence amongst small archipelagic and littoral Indian Ocean states. The United States, he predicted, would need to act shrewdly to forestall conflict, both cushioning the effects of its own relative decline, and supporting India’s emergence as a major naval actor, without unduly antagonizing an increasingly resource-starved and powerful China.

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