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Alfred Thayer Mahan (1840 -1914), an American naval officer and historian who said that whoever controlled supremacy over the Indian Ocean would be a prominent international player. Indian ocean region plays an essential role in world trade, there are 28 states attached to this ocean, and it is also connected to three continents of the world, covering 17.5% of global land. In the survey of 2017, nearly 35% of the world population lived here. IOR also contains rich resources; it holds 16.8% of world proven oil resources and 27% of natural gas resources. This region also has 28% of global fish capture in 2016, so it created a basis for export industries like Indian and Indonesia to export 4.5% of global frozen fish in 2001.
Importance of Indian oceans
IOR is the basis of major sea routes that connect Middle East Asia, and Africa to Europe and America. It also contains different choke points like the Strait of Malacca (between Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore), bub ul Mandab (between South Yemen and Djibouti). Chinese observation station in Cocos island (between Bay of Bengal and Andaman sea), and the strait of Hormoz (between Iran and Oman), these routes and sea choke facilitate the trade-in Indian ocean region, which contains half of world oil trade. It hosted 23 of the world's top 100 container ports. China has the main influencer in this region, accounting for 16.1%of its total good trade in 2017, which was only 3.8% in 2000. China, the US, and India expand their naval capacities in the Indian oceans because of their economic and political development. Indian ocean region is important for world trade. India, the united states, and China want dominance in the Indian oceans region because nearly 70% of world trade from east to west will occur through Indian oceans. and china imports 83% of its oil from the middle east through the Indian ocean, so it is a hub for global trade power. Over the past few decades' china's economy is growing very fast.
China, the United States and Indian in Indian Oceans Region
From 1978 the average growth rate is 9.7% per year, and it reached 11% between 2007 to 2011. And China became the largest economies in the world in 2010. If China maintains this growth rate, it will replace the united states in 2025 and become the world economic power and replace the united states. This is against the national interest of the united states. Hence, the united states take steps to encounter China in this region. Us and China have no friendly relation. The US has seen China as a threat to its national interest because they challenge the United States' economic sovereignty. to easily control china if US they take control of trade routes in IOR and wants to control the Indian ocean trade and dominance in Indian oceans. We will improve the naval capacities of Indian to encounter china because Indian is the biggest democracy in the world and a close ally of unites states. Moreover, Indian has a capitalist ideology. China has increased its influence in Indian oceans by creating artificial island and ports around the neighboring countries of India like Chittagong port in Bangladesh, Kyaukpyu port in Myanmar, Gwadar port in Pakistan, Coco island, and Hambantota port of Sri lank (which is 99 year leased for china due to load dep). which surrounds India like a string of pearls. India's most important country in this region has a stable economy compared to other countries and has a coastline of 7516 km, in which 5422.6 is mainland coastline and 1197 island coastline. India imports 70% of its oil requirement through Indian oceans and nearly 4000 tankers annually. furthermore, 90% of Indian trade happened through the sea, so any sea routes' interference will be crippling India's economic growth its navy start developing ports in the Indian oceans. India starts developing ports in Madagascar, Seychelles, Mauritius, and Chabahar in response to the string of pearls. Indian strengthens its navy by purchasing Air crafts and developing its air crafts. In 1990 India purchase aircraft from USSR, and in 2007, they develop its aircraft. In June 2019, India signed an agreement that Russia provides four nuclear submarines in the lease of 30 years. India also wants to control over Indian oceans region to monitor the world trade, so they are starting naval exercise with countries and word son Chabahar port with Iran., they also create naval bases in a different region in the Indian ocean. The United States and India start cooperation in IOR. Because both countries have rivalries with china. So, the united states start cooperation with India because the US saw India as a perfect ally to encounter china in the Indian oceans. India sees the United States will provide modern technology to India to encounter China in IOR. They increase their naval alliance by signing an additional agreement and start naval military exercises. QUAD is a naval agreement between India, the united states, and Australia in 2007, but this agreement was proactive in 2015 in which they held a naval exercise in Indian oceans. The purpose of this agreement was to increase the naval capacity of India. the other agreement included LEMOA COMCASA and BECA in which the united states sold its high-end technologies to India, including C-17, C-130, and P81s and US expert visits to enhance automatic accuracy hardware system and weapon. In 2017 united states and India agree to purchase unarmed drones used for maritime operations, but in 2019 united states also agree to provide armed drones to India. in 2019 united states also agree to provide a multi-role helicopter Romeo helicopter with the capability of rescue, transportation, and anti-ship and antisubmarine system. They also help India in developing nuclear submarines, which can stay under the water for 90 days. China, India, and the USA persuade their national interest through the Indian oceans. According to realism, state nature is selfish, and they can do anything to persuade their national interest. China, India, and the USA have an interest in IOR. China wants to control this region because this region is rich in resources and provide trade routes to china which connect china to the middle east, Africa and Europe and china will export its good at low cost. India also wants to control these resources, and India also used these sea routes for trade. Finally, we will discuss the United States, After the disintegration USSR, the USA becomes a superpower, and no one challenges the united states' sovereignty. Still, at the beginning of 2000, china emerges as an economic power. China starts an infrastructure project on neighbouring countries of IOR and developing seaport to challenge the united states' economic sovereignty. The united states' influence will finish from this region, and China emerges as an economic power. Through Indian oceans, China will boost its economy because Indian oceans provide the shortest routes to china to connect with the world. India also wants the main influencer in this region against china and increases its naval capacities, so the United States start cooperation with India to encounter china and maintain a balance of power in this IOR. They started naval cooperation and equipped the Indian navy with modern technologies to control this region. So, there will race between these countries to control this region.
China, India, and the united states all these countries are all aware of the importance of the Indian ocean’s region. All these countries want to dominance over this region, so all three countries increase their activities over the Indian oceans and start cooperation with the countries of the Indian ocean’s region. As we see the activities of china indulged in different projects in these countries these projects included, development of infrastructure, railway tracks, ports development, and provided loans to improve the economy of these countries. As china will invested too much money and provide a loan with interest so these countries are developing countries and already have many problems like corruption, low health work system, and low literacy rate, the money they get in the form of loan will not properly invest and they are trapped in it and they are unable to pay the interest of loans so they will lease their ports to china and china will increase its naval presence in these ports which provide the naval capability to china in other countries, through which china will increase its influence over the region. Some writers said that it is the money debt-trap policy of china in which later china will control the important assets of that country. As we have an example of Sri Lanka port Hambantota which is leased to China for 99 years because Sri Lanka was unable to pay the interest of a loan.
China will promote its interest throughout this country. India and the united states will enter the Indian oceans in response to China. India wants to become a regional power and encounter china which has a stable economic growth rate so encounter china India must have control over the Indian oceans, therefore, India will increase its naval presence over the Indian oceans region moreover they build the naval bases in its island. But this not enough to encounter china and India want a strong ally in this region, so the united states will be a perfect ally, as the united states and china have a rivalry over the pacific region and china will minimize it through the Indian oceans and the united also encounter in this region so first they will increase its naval presence in the region as they have naval bases in Djibouti and San Diego.
The united states also start cooperating with India because India has a strong country in this region, so they provide modern warfare technologies and drones to see the activities in the Indian oceans. All these three countries promote their national interest and for every country, their national interest is very important. First, we look like china trade passes through the Strait of Malacca which is under the influence united states because this strait is control allies of the united states and the united block this strait to pressurize china so china must have alternative routes in this situation, so Pakistan Bangladesh and Myanmar provide an alternative route to China. Indians want to become regional power over this region as with the help of the united states India will promote this interest. As we see the united so china and united are indulged in a trade war and china economic growth is very stable so they maintain this economic growth rate they will cross the united states become world economic power which is against the national interest of the United States so they want to restrict the china and mostly trade of china is passes through Indian oceans, therefore, the united want see the Indian oceans as a perfect place to encounter the china and the alliance with the India which has major sea coast with Indian oceans. All three countries promote realism over the regions of the Indian oceans.