Maritime Security Order in Asia

A perspective from India

Authored by: Vijay Sakhuja

Routledge Handbook of Naval Strategy and Security

Print publication date:  December  2015
Online publication date:  March  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138840935
eBook ISBN: 9781315732572
Adobe ISBN: 9781317555391


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The sea is an important medium for conduct of international relations and has shaped the historical and contemporary maritime discourse based on two drivers, i.e. economics and security. In former times, the seas linked the different trading systems of the Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Jews, Arabs, Indians, and Chinese. In contemporary times, the seas have connected the economies in the Asia-Pacific, Europe, and North and South America through a complex network of free trading arrangements and agreement. In the security domain, there is historical evidence of states dispatching ships to distant waters to protect trade and to dominate regional affairs, an objective that continues to date. Likewise, the significance of the oceans in the strategic calculus of states is growing and navies are engaged across the globe to protect sea lanes that serve as the umbilical cord of the respective economies. Further, these forces safeguard national interests and support alliance and partnership commitments. The naval and maritime forces are usually forward-deployed through a multitude of bilateral and multilateral access and basing agreements, over-flight rights, naval engagements that pivot around military exercises, logistical support, and infrastructure developments. This analysis begins by defining maritime security order and examines the likely challenges for the U.S.-led maritime security order from states, non-state actors, stakeholders, multilateral structures and the responses from the Asian powers.

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