This edited volume critically examines the concept of the “security dilemma” and applies it to India–China maritime competition. Though frequently employed in academic discussion and popular commentary on the Sino-Indian relationship, the term has rarely been critically analysed. The volume addresses the gap by examining whether the security dilemma is a useful concept in explaining the naval and foreign policy strategies of India and China. China’s Belt and Road Initiative and its expansive engagement in the Indian Ocean Region have resulted in India significantly scaling up investment in its navy, adding ships, naval aircraft and submarines. This volume investigates how the rivalry is playing out in different sub-regions of the Indian Ocean, and the responses of other powers, notably the United States and prominent Southeast Asian states. Their reactions to the Sino-Indian rivalry are an underexplored topic and the chapters in this book reveal how they selectively use that rivalry while trying to steer clear of making definite choices. The book concludes with recommendations on mitigating the security dilemma.

This work will be of great interest to students of strategic studies, international relations, maritime security, and Asian politics.

chapter 1|9 pages


The Indian Ocean and the India–China security dilemma

chapter 3|34 pages

China–India rivalry at sea

Capability, trends, and challenges

chapter 7|24 pages

India–China maritime competition

Southeast Asia and the dilemma of regional states

chapter 8|19 pages

The US response

Naval architecture and plans

chapter 9|8 pages


Mitigating the security dilemma in the Sino-Indian rivalry