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India’s Strategic Development: Issues for the Western Powers

  • Ross Babbage

Abstract

The Indian Ocean region has rarely been the central focus of Western security attention. The primary strategic interests of the United States and most of the Western allies have long been, and are likely to continue to be, concentrated elsewhere, particularly in Europe, Northeast Asia and the Middle East. Hence while the United States and the other Western powers do have some significant concerns in the Indian Ocean, especially unfettered access to Persian Gulf oil, their strategic perceptions of this region and their activities within it are driven primarily by broader global priorities.

Keywords

Indian Ocean Nuclear Weapon Western Indian Ocean Ballistic Missile Western Power 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    The rapid growth in United States interests in the Indian Ocean in the mid and late 1970s is discussed in Walter K. Anderson ‘Emerging Security Issues in the Indian Ocean’ in Selig S. Harrison and K. Subrahmanyam (Eds.) Superpower Rivalry in the Indian Ocean: Indian and American Perspectives, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1989, pp. 22–3.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Calculated from figures in Oil and Security, A Stockholm International Peace Research Institute Monograph, Stockholm, 1974, pp. 69, 71.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    The sequence of United States measures in Southwest Asia during this period is detailed at greater length by Walter K. Anderson in ‘Emerging Security Issues in the Indian Ocean’ in Selig S. Harrison and K. Subrahmanyam op. cit., pp. 27–36.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Ibid pp. 30–1.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Ibid pp. 33–4.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    For details see Pervaiz Iqbal Cheema ‘American Policy in South Asia: Interests and Objectives’ Stephen Philip Cohen (Ed.) The Security of South Asia: American and Asian Perspectives, University of Illinois Press, Chicago, 1987, pp. 123–4.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    This point is made by several analysts including William J. Barnds ‘The United States and South Asia: Policy and Process’ in Stephen Philip Cohen (Ed.) The Security of South Asia, p. 155. and Pervaiz Iqbal Cheema ‘American Policy in South Asia: Interests and Objectives’ also in Stephen Philip Cohen, p. 125.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    This sentiment is expressed by K. Subrahmanyam ‘Prospects for Security and Stability in South Asia’ in Stephen Philip Cohen, op. cit., p. 211 and Selig S. Harrison ‘India, the United States and Superpower Rivalry in the Indian Ocean’ in Selig S. Harrison and K. Subrahmanyam, op. cit., pp. 246–7.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    See comments by Pervaiz Iqbal Cheema ‘American Policy in South Asia: Interests and Objectives’ in Stephen Philip Cohen, op. cit., p. 119 and R. R. Subramanian ‘US Policy and South Asia: The Decision-Making Dimension’, pp. 146–7.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    The debate on this point is addressed by Walter K. Anderson ‘Emerging Security Issues in the Indian Ocean: An American Perspective’ in Selig S. Harrison and K. Subrahmanyam, op. cit., pp. 16–18.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    See, for instance, Jasjit Singh ‘Indian Ocean and Indian Security’ Satish Kumar (Ed.) Yearbook on India’s Foreign Policy 1987–1988, Sage Publications, New Delhi, 1988, p. 128; K. Subrahmanyam Strategic Developments in the Indian and South Pacific Ocean Regions (A paper presented to a seminar on Australia and the Indian Ocean, Fremantle, Australia, March 1988), p. 18; and Michael McKinley ‘Indian Naval Developments and Australian Strategy in the Indian Ocean’ in Robert H. Bruce (Ed.) The Modern Indian Navy and the Indian Ocean: Developments and Implications, Centre for Indian Ocean Regional Studies, Studies in Indian Ocean Maritime Affairs, Number 2, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, 1989, p. 146.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    For details see Aadu Karemaa ‘What Would Mahan Say About Space Power?’ US Naval Institute Proceedings, vol. 114/4/1022, April, 1985, pp. 30–50.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    See, for example, Robert H. Bruce ‘Implications for International Security: Observations on the Security Dilemma and the Nature of Concerns Provoked by Indian Naval Expansion’ in Robert H. Bruce, op. cit., p. 115, and Ashley J. Tellis ‘Securing the Barrack: The Logic, Structure and Objectives of India’s Naval Expansion’ also in Robert H. Bruce, op. cit., pp. 44–5.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    For details of the French military presence in the Indian Ocean see: The Military Balance 1989–1990, The International Institute for Strategic Studies, London, 1989, p. 62Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Ibid, p. 82.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    For details see Department of Defence Defence Report 1987–88, Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra, 1989, pp. 60–62.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    For details of these and related comparisons see: Japan 1987: An International Comparison, Keizai Koho Centre, Tokyo, 1987, p. 9.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
  19. 19.
    The Military Balance 1989–1990, pp. 101 and 63.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Ibid, pp. 63, 79 and 159.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Western dependence on Persian Gulf oil is expected to rise from 30 per cent in 1990 to 40 per cent in 2000. See the statement by William Webster, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, to the Senate Armed Services Committee Asia and Pacific Wireless File, 23 January, 1990, pp. 26–30.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    The Statistical Outline of India 1988–89, Tata Services Ltd., Bombay, 1988, p. 67.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    These factors are discussed in the Department of Defence Submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade: Inquiry Into Australia’s Relations with India, Parliament of Australia, Canberra, 1988, pp. 4–6.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Dr A. D. Gordon has noted that when President Gayoom of the Maldives approached Washington for assistance at the time of the coup, the United States Government referred him to India. See A. Gordon Nation Neighbourhood and Region: India in the 1990s, Work in progress seminar paper, Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Australian National University, October 1989, p. 20.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Indonesian concerns are discussed in Michael Byrnes ‘Silent Superpower on our Doorstep,’ Australian Financial Review, 3 December, 1988, p. 10.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Peter Galbraith Nuclear Proliferation in South Asia: Containing the Threat, A Staff Report to the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, United States Government Printing Office, Washington, 1988, p. VIII.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
  28. 28.
  29. 29.
  30. 30.
  31. 31.
    Ibid., p. 2.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Ibid, pp. 2–3.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    The Military Balance 1989–1990, pp. 160 and 171.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    The evolution of India’s space launch and large rocket booster programmes is detailed in SIPRI Yearbook 1989: World Armaments and Disarmaments, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1989, pp. 296–7.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
  36. 36.
    ’Missile Test Firing Declared a Success’ The Sydney Morning Herald, 23 May, 1989, p. 11.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Amarnath K. Menon ‘We Can Design Any Missile’ India Today, 15 June, 1989, p. 31.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    The Military Balance 1989–1990, p. 150.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    SIPRI Yearbook 1989, p. 304.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    For details of the arms control proposals made by India and Pakistan see Peter Galbraith Nuclear Proliferation in South Asia, pp. 20–26 and the testimony of Robert Peck, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Near East and South Asian Affairs in the Hearing Before the Subcommittees on Asian and Pacific Affairs and on International Economic Policy and Trade of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives, United States Congress, 17 February 1988, pp. 6–13.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Ross Babbage and Sandy Gordon 1992

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  • Ross Babbage

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