Rising Chinese Power and Territorial Assertiveness in the South China Sea: India-Vietnam Strategic Partnership as a Counterbalancing Endeavor

  • Srini SitaramanEmail author
Part of the Global Power Shift book series (GLOBAL)


The People’s Liberation Army Navy’s deployment of ships and submarines in the Indian Ocean region (IOR) has been an enormous source of apprehension in India, which fears encirclement by China. To counter China, the Indian navy has started regular port visits with friendly states such as Vietnam and the Philippines. The Indian government has revived the somewhat dormant “Look East” policy and rechristened it as “Act East” policy under Prime Minister Narendra Modi. As a part of this newly revised “Act East” policy India aims to develop stronger relations with states that have ongoing disputes with China in the South China Sea such as Vietnam and the Philippines. India has sought to pressure Beijing on the maritime front in an area that is rife with conflict and overlapping territorial claims. India’s maritime strategy is increasingly shifting to sea-control and forward looking naval diplomacy. Vietnam has emerged as a focal state in India’s “Act East” policy and as a strategic partner in countering China’s maritime assertiveness. This chapter examines India’s growing closeness and strategic partnership with Vietnam, which is emerging as a frontline state in India’s eastward pivot, as the territorial conflict and competition with the People’s Republic of China is intensifying. India’s overtures towards Vietnam should be understood in the context of India’s territorial conflict with China and the growing crosscutting international alliance that is emerging against China’s territorial expansionism and aggressiveness in South China and East China Sea. India does not have a direct stake in the South China Sea maritime dispute, but it increasingly views China’s highly assertive and domineering behavior as a harbinger of Chinese actions in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), and in the highly contentious border dispute in the Himalayas.


China-India Border Conflict India-Vietnam Counterbalancing Alliance India-Vietnam Strategic Partnership India and the South China Sea Dispute 


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political Science, Asian Studies ProgramClark UniversityWorcesterUSA

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