India’s Maritime Dreams; May Become a Nightmare


In his seminal work, “The influence of Sea Power on History”, Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan, considered the greatest American geopolitical thinker, argues that control of the sea equals command of the world.

Indian MARCOS perform at Ramakrishna Beach in Visakhapatnam

Ours is an oceanic world. The seven seas, covering nearly two-thirds of the earth, have long been regarded as international property by nations, who had the need, the will, and the strength to use them for economic, political military, social or cultural purposes. The oceans will continue to be the main highway of trade and the meeting ground of nations, with their interests and ideologies sometimes in accord and sometimes in conflict with one another.

The four great continental masses give the oceans a distinctly three-part form, the Atlantic, the Indian and the Pacific oceans, all three joining together into one around Antarctica.

The Indian Ocean was once called the British Lake, because there was no other naval power to challenge its strength until World War II.

Being the smallest of five oceans, with land around three sides, the Indian Ocean is often called the ‘half an ocean’.

Geographically and also geopolitically, the countries around the Indian Ocean may be divided into: littoral countries, the shores of which are washed by the waters of the ocean; the hinterland countries, the maritime trade of which passes through the littoral countries; and the user countries, which, though located outside the Indian ocean region, make use of the ocean for maritime trade. There are, according to these definitions, 37 littoral countries and 16 hinterland countries.

The geographic location of the Indian Ocean, its sea routes and natural resources of the countries that touch the Indian Ocean are the main factors for its strategic importance.

Even before India’s independence, the political leaders and strategists of India advocated a long term policy of establishment of Indian supremacy in the Indian Ocean. India wanted to turn the Indian Ocean into an Indian lake, and that there should be no one to challenge its supremacy in the ocean. The Indian aims in the Indian Ocean are a threat to all regional players because of its dream of becoming the Asian Tiger, and this dream also reflects in its maritime strategy. Undoubtedly, India is acting like a great regional hegemonic warlord, underestimating the other regional powers.

The Indian objectives in the Indian Ocean are to maintain and project her status as a regional maritime power, to develop an effective naval capability, get an offensive maritime strategy, to enhance her status in the Indian Ocean through power projection, and subdue Pakistan through naval advancement. Therefore, with any naval induction, the Indian pundits, full of lust for power and the lust to dominate the land and ocean, they issue fanatic statements, overemphasizing their acquired capability and totally underestimating other powers in the region.

The way India is portraying their maritime strategy, the Indian presence in the Indian Ocean is a threat to China’s sea lines of communication, SLOCs. The Indian maritime experts and, recently, their Rear Admiral Raja Menon has said, ‘instead of pouring money into raising a force that can hardly address the Indian Army’s drawbacks at the border, our decision makers should have focussed on addressing China’s weaknesses in the Indian Ocean’, therefore, through this statement India has played its part in destabilizing the whole region and the world. The admiral, after the induction of two vessels, Vikrant and Arihant went to the extent of saying that today, they are merely SLOCs; tomorrow they will be the Chinese Jugular.

India, through these statements, is underestimating other regional powers like China and Pakistan, which also have their interests in the Indian Ocean; and to protect their interests, they have acquired the requisite capability.

India considers China as its main rival, in its quest to become the regional superpower, and this self-imposed rivalry will prove India as a regional test balloon by its going against China.

The Indian designs for the Indian ocean are based on deception; thinking about the blockade of China, or attacking Pakistani interests in the Indian Ocean, will severely hit back India. Chinese PlA Navy has emerged from a Navy that can defend its shores to a Navy that can go to waters unknown to her, and can eliminate any threat or challenge, hundreds of kilometers away from its shores.

On the other hand, Pakistan is located in a strategic region; as an important bridge between South Asia and the Middle East, its geographical proximity to the Strait of Hormuz makes it a strategic backyard of the Persian Gulf. Also, being sufficiently close to the Gulf of Oman, Pakistan acquires a special monitoring capability vis a vis the Persian Gulf mercantile traffic. Pakistan’s location is also not too far from the Red Sea. Due to its location, Pakistan can dominate the crucial stretches and vital routes of the Arabian Sea. At present Sino-Pak presence in the Arabian Sea is being seen by naval experts as the strongest presence in the region. So any misadventure by India, or its dream of policing the Indian Ocean, can turn its sweet dreams into a nightmare.

is a freelance writer, geopolitical issues interests him the most. He can be reached at

Discussion15 Comments

  1. Waqas Jan, when writing on something, please do also research on current names and situations. You carried on addressing Asian Sea as indian sea? WHY? Asian sub continent was named as indian sub continent by British under east India company doctrine, which resulted in total decimation and occupation of whole of the Asian sub continent by British.

    The name india belongs to the British era and British colonial occupation time, and the Asian sub continent therefore was called ndian continent and its waters were given name indian sea.

    The educated ones, like yourself, ought to study very this matter concerning the gone by legacy of gone by the wind British criminal occupation of the Musliman ruled continent, which was known as Hindustan over one thousand years.

    Don’t know where you’ve been in recent history, but the new name of your implied indian sea is now known as Asian Sea. If the educated ones, like yourself would not bring their work to connect with the current demographics, than I would suggest to all, please do not bother writing, I fact not writing at all would be better option.

    It is petty, educated ones like yourself always remembers quoting western ammonia, of hegemonic, ill, sick, backward mentalities, and yet always forgets so easily the era over one thousand years of full on glories, but always remembers the short, deluded, criminal, delusional what British or the Americans left behind,

  2. One thing writer says correct that whoever controls the world, controls the water (means oceans). British were controlling the world so did waters. Muslims were controlling the half of the world so did half of the world oceans from South Asia to Middle-East to Africa to Europe. Until unless, india control her own land (by removing insurgencies in Kashmir, problems in naxalites, asaam, nagaland etc.), it cannot control the indian ocean. China or even US will not allow who can stand up in their sea routes. And before india can do anything, Pakistan will not let this happen. Pakistan will build more navy power.

  3. Agree fully, there is no such nation as India historically. This is a pure brit fabrication. The whole sub-continent was united by Muslims into Hindustan which no longer exists, Pakistan is the legacy and true heir of Muslim dominion. I vote to call the 3rd ocean The Asian Ocean.

  4. Oh grow up. You Pakis have a massive sense of delusion.

    India grows tomatoes : Headline in Pakistan = “India wants to dominate regional vegetable trade, Kashmir in danger”

    But, please do spend a lot of money and buy cheap chinese trinkets for your navy. The more the better.

    And for those of you harping about “muslim rule”, you might want to remember that the last rulers of the terroritory called Pakistan was the Sikh Empire….. just FYI BTW.

    • Before 1947, the british came, defeated muslims and changed all muslims rulers by their own people. Actually mulsim rulers were ended around between 1799 to 1850 when sikh came in power until 1857 when british came in power, but still muslim rulers were in power in small pockets like in south india. Muslims from arab first came in 712 and took control on sindh area and then went on, so from 712 to 1799… this is 1000 years. If sikh was the ruler for Pakistan land before 1947 or even last empire… does not matter… muslims have ruled hindustan for 1000 years.

    • @ TheBombMan… don’t hate muslims or Pakistanis… always a common man suffers one way or the other. Only in one case, a common man can live a good and dignified life, which is called Khilafat system. The mulsims ruled india was not Khilafat as a society, but dynasties, such as mughal dynasty. During a short period of Khilafat times, there was no man in muslim lands who wanted financial help.

      • Dear Hindukush, you come from a place where patriarchy is at it’s most rigid form, where women are not allowed the slightest bit of respect, where women are usually refused the most basic of necessities let alone legal rights. At least we take our criminals to trial and convict them. You lot convict the women who complain of sexual assault and punish them for being promiscuous. So, the above comment, coming from you, is indeed hilarious.

  5. It all boils down to arms race …. if you Pakis have the money to build or buy air-craft carriers, go for it …. !!

    With the US willing to transfer the top of the line sea denial technology to India, China will not venture out of its own back yard of the South China sea ….. China- Pakistan will never … I repeat never never be a match for US-India-Japan-Australia-Singapore naval alliance ……

  6. The above article has been written by a writer who in his extreme hatred of a neighboring country forgot to state actual facts and let his crass, hegemonic and backward mentality do the talking.It actually does not matter if Pakistan gets more warships. From a purely numerical point of view India has a far more superior naval force and if a war for the control of the Indian Ocean was to occur, no nation would benefit from it and the result would only lead to a huge loss of life on both sides. Why can’t we act as sensible people and let the benefits of the Indian Ocean be equally shared. Why there always has to be some stupid blogger who, in his infinite sense of idiocy, has to portray the other nation as a power craving, feudal warlord. And to some of the above bloggers, especially Zak, get your history facts straight. Hindustan was not created by Muslim rulers. It was there since the time of Alexander’s invasion and was governed by regional leaders, most notably among whom was Puru, who stopped Alexander’s aggression and made a pact with him. The Muslim invaders arrived a lot later in the scene during the middle ages and I do admit that during the first four generations of the Mughal rule, they governed India very well.

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