Pakistan's Vulnerability To Great Power Competition In The Indian Ocean

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Hina Afzaal , Waqas Masood


The strategic maritime environment in the Indian Ocean (IO) has seen tremendous transformation during the last 20 years. Defense and security measures have caused the regional focus to abruptly shift from territorial to maritime borders, having a substantial impact on international relations. The historical context of the strategic maritime environment of the Indian Ocean is discussed in this paper, along with the changing patterns of the US, China, and Indian presence as the three primary rivals. By strengthening its ties with India in the Indian Ocean, the US is implementing its counterbalancing strategy against China. China has a "Common Future, Common Growth" plan that it wants to achieve through its Belt and Road Initiative and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. The US Indo-Pacific Strategy takes the place of the Asia-Pacific Rebalancing. Iran's strategic interests in the Indian Ocean are related to its strategic necessity to employ oil diplomacy to end its "geopolitical isolation" as a result of US rivalry. The political and strategic developments in the Indian Ocean are being watched from the side by the European Union. Given China's BRI and its focal point, the CPEC, and its location at the gateway to energy highways, Pakistan has a significant geostrategic advantage. In this paper, the struggle for hegemony in the Indian Ocean is examined, and Pakistani policy suggestions are provided.

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