India is the works of strengthening maritime alliance in the Indian Ocean region, as one of the fallouts of Chinese combativeness in the region.
The details of the plan are still in the works but could include countries impacted by Chinese belligerence in the South China sea.
The alliance will not only help maintain balance in the Indo Pacific region but comes even as QUAD grouping consisting of –Japan, US, India, and Australia is expected to gain strength.
In contrast to Atlantic or the Pacific ocean, the Indian ocean which is the 3rd largest ocean is not an open one, and entry into it is via straits like Strait of Malacca. India could use its maritime capability by deploying warships near the Malacca Strait, China’s jugular vein – to signal to the Chinese communist party that it means business.
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India has been an active player of the 22 members strong IORA–Indian ocean rim association. The grouping consists of countries that share a boundary with the Indian ocean and expected to be more vocal on illegal fishing by Chinese vessels in the region.
New Delhi has been engaging with individual countries as well, from the recently announced Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between Australia and India to maritime exercises with the Japanese in the Indian ocean.
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India isn’t in a mood to believe in Chinese much after the June 15 violent face-off that killed 20 Indian soldiers. It is believed that any retreat at this juncture would be taken as a sign of weakness, further emboldening the CCP to broaden its strategy of ‘salami-slicing’.
A govt source said,” The martyrdom of 20 Indian soldiers – a first on the LAC after 1975- has the potential to permanently alter the prism through which India steers its China strategy and also transform Indo-Chinese dynamics.”
Chinese new claim on Galwan valley has only increased the suspicion. The valley is strategically important for India since the mountain-tops on either side overlook the crucial Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Oldi (DSDBO) road that connects Sub-Sector North (SSN) with the rest of Ladakh.