The Indian Ocean has served as a keystone of global politics, economics and culture for centuries. In modern times, after World War II, it emerged as a focal point for great power competition and subsequently, of global commerce as the pivot of economic growth shifted from Europe to the Asia Pacific, a feature which has since remained constant.
In the coming years, India’s greatest strategic challenge in the Indian Ocean region may not be the development of power projection but the quality of the strategic relationships that it can build in the region. The extents to which India will be recognised as a regional leader depend on these relationships.
Maritime piracy is one of the several grave security issues faced by today’s world. This problem, however, isn’t a new phenomenon, and nations have long-battled this issue. How did piracy manifest itself in the Indian Ocean in the 19th century, and what was the nature of counter-piracy efforts during that period?
In the 1700s, one man antagonized the European powers, and insisted on the Maratha Empire’s rights to taxation and sovereignty over Maharashtra’s coast. He was Kanhoji Angre, the head of the Maratha navy. How did he, 283 years ago, set an important precedent for the Subcontinent’s local powers?
The concern with piracy is in our waters is three-fold: the threat to Indian-owned vessels and Indian citizens; the difficulty in dealing with piracy and hostage-taking on the high seas; and finally, squeezing the organized industry. Can India play a leadership role in this effort?
Gateway House’s Alisha Pinto interviews former Somali Ambassador to India, Mohammad Osman Omar, on piracy issues and maritime security from the coast of Somalia to the waters of the Indian Ocean.
The Navy, Coast Guard, Police and maritime companies now encounter new threats, as piracy threatens the Indian seas and our trade routes. This calls for a united approach in combating threats and even more so, for a single governing body for maritime issues.