The Indian Ocean Region
Indian Ocean Region a strategic heartland
'Advent of a less Western-centric and multi-polar world'
Report, 13 December 2006
The centrality of the Indian Ocean Region in the emerging political scenario of
21st century was stressed by Donald L. Berlin, Head of Security Studies, Asia
Pacific Centre for Security Studies, Honolulu, Hawaii.
He was speaking on "Indian Ocean and Second Nuclear Age" at School of
International Relations and Politics (SIRP), Mahatma Gandhi University on
Indian ocean region had become the strategic heartland of the 21st century,
dislodging Europe and North East Asia which adorned this position in the 20th
century, he said and added that the developments in the Indian Ocean region were
contributing to the advent of a less Western centric and a more multi-polar
world. The Indian and Pakistan nuclear tests and the nuclear programmes of Iran
and North Korea were milestones in the evolution of these developments, he said.
This growing nuclearisation of the Indian Ocean region would play a key role in
evolving the strategic rivalries of the 21st century, he observed.
In addition to the nuclear programmes of the Asian powers, the Indian Ocean
would also witness the presence of nuclear vessels, as more powers would use the
region as a zone for patrolling, he said.
The causes for the intensifying strategic rivalries were not the ones the
prevailed in the 1970s or 80s, Dr. Berlin said and added that one of the new
factors was the growing importance of oil, energy and other vital resources. One
of the more important factor could be the rise of India.
As India evolves, New Delhi's interests in Indian Ocean would increase, so also
would the interest of other powers either to check India or to align with the
In addition to the nuclearisation, the positioning of Indian Ocean as a
frontline in the fight against terrorism would also bring it to the central
position in the evolving political scenario, Dr. Berlin said. Ratna Mukherjee,
Cultural Advisor, U.S. Consulate, Chennai; G.P. Ramchandra and Raju K.
Thadikkaran director, SIRP, spoke.