Sino-Indian Strategic Rivalry in the Indian Ocean Region


This article aims to explicate Sino-Indian strategic rivalry for regional influence in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). For this purpose, it focuses on actors’ actions, which can be interpreted as acts of strategic competition. First of all, it examines Chinese attempts to increase its strategic and economic influence in the region through establishing strong economic and military ties with regional countries including Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan and some connectivity projects like CPEC and BCIM-EC as a part of the Belt and Road Intiative (BRI). Secondly, it investigates Indian counter initiatives as a part of the ‘Act East Policy’ and ‘Neighbourhood First Policy’, for strenghtening its political, economic and military ties with the USA and its neighbouring countries such as Iran, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and some connectivity infrastructure projects like the Kaladan Multi Modal Transit Transport Project and the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway. The article argues that although it seems to be a spatial rivalry for gaining and maintaining a total control over the same territory, it is indeed more about a positional rivalry for regional influence, while China seeks to improve its relative position in the IOR, India tries to maintain its relatively advantageous and pre-eminent position in the region.


China India Indian Ocean Region Energy Security Seaborne Trade Route Balancing Strategy