chapter  15
14 Pages

China–India and maritime security

A contest for power and influence in the Indian Ocean
WithDavid Brewster

Naval competition between India and China has the potential to profoundly affect the stability and security of the Indo-Pacific. Their interactions in the maritime realm are just one part of a broader relationship that involves cooperation, coexistence, and competition. But the maritime security relationship has its own, often negative, dynamic. Delhi considers itself as the natural leader of the Indian Ocean. In contrast, Beijing is assertively expanding its economic and political role in the region. This is contributing toward what may become a protracted contest for dominance between India and China in the Indian Ocean maritime realm. The growth of India’s national power, expansion of China’s presence in the Indian Ocean, and likely long-term decline of the US presence create a real risk that the interactions between India and China will become ever more competitive.