Home Contact Us  
   

India - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#4594, 4 August 2014
 

Maritime Matters

BRICS: The Oceanic Connections
Vijay Sakhuja
Director, National Maritime Foundation (NMF), New Delhi
 

At the 6th summit at Fortaleza in Brazil, the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries announced a seed capital of US$50 billion and US$100 billion Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) for the New Development Bank which would support infrastructure and development projects of the developing world. This has attracted international attention and has been labelled as an attempt by the ‘emerging economies’ to challenge the well-established global financial institutions such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) which are ‘controlled’ by the developed world. 
 
These emerging economies are coastal states and the constants of geography endow them with enormous economic muscle. The Exclusive Economic Zones provide them with enormous quantities of living and non-living resources and the long coastlines are dotted with major ports. They have invested enormous capital to build maritime infrastructure and some of them are keen to support global projects such as the Maritime Silk Route mooted by China and the development of the Northern Sea Route (NSR) through the Arctic by Russia. In essence, the BRICS countries are highly dependent on the seas and are connected with each other through the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian and the Arctic Oceans over which more than 90 per cent of global trade by volume is transported.

Maritime security has been high on the agenda of the BRICS nations and the respective leaders have supported cooperative security structures based on the belief that the benefits of cooperation must be enjoyed by the whole maritime community. Significantly, four of the five BRICS countries have been actively engaged in counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden. They have worked closely to support UN resolutions and cooperated with other nations at bilateral and multilateral levels to fight piracy. However, they have not explored the possibility of operating under the BRICS banner. This does not preclude them from conceptualising programmes and exercises to respond to myriad maritime asymmetric threats and challenges faced by the international community. It will be useful to mention that India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA) are already engaged in trilateral maritime cooperation and have held exercises to address issues relating to maritime security. Such an arrangement can also be explored for the BRICS nations.

Geographically, the BRICS countries are located in different continents, yet have common interests in the Polar Regions i.e. the Arctic and the Antarctic. Till very recently, these nations had focused on scientific studies and established research stations in the Polar Regions. They have now expanded their interests to include resources and trade through the NSR. Among these, Russia is an Arctic country and climate-induced changes in the region directly affect it. Its other interests include routes through the Arctic which are navigable during summer months and offshore living and non-living resources particularly oil and gas which can now be exploited. China and India too have interests in the Arctic and have recently been inducted into the Arctic Council. Both countries have set up research stations to study climate, weather, geology and atmospheric sciences and are looking for opportunities to exploit the resources in the region. Brazil and South Africa have interests in Antarctica and send scientific expeditions to the region. Given the transnational and transoceanic nature of the impact of changes in the Polar Regions, BRICS countries are important stakeholders in any discourse, development and policy formulation for the Arctic and Antarctica. The BRICS countries are parties to the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) and could develop common research programmes for the Polar Regions, undertake joint scientific expeditions, and share data.

One of the significant maritime projects currently under development by the BRICS countries involves the fiber optic cable from the Pacific to the Atlantic through the Indian Ocean. This 34,000 km long and 12.8 terabit capacity network, the third longest underwater cable in the world, connects Vladivostok in Russia, Shantou in China, Chennai in India, Cape Town in South Africa and Fortaleza in Brazil. This will help the BRICS to develop an exclusive and secure intranet and transact critical financial and security data. Apparently, the cable is meant to circumvent attempts to eavesdrop on the digital data sent through networks owned by IT companies which are alleged to have supplied information/records to the National Security Agency (NSA) of the US. It is important to mention that underwater cables are not free from the dangers of data interception and theft and the US possesses capabilities to undertake such covert operations. 

In essence, the maritime domain offers the BRICS countries opportunities to develop common understanding on a host of issues that range from sustainable resource development, trade, safety and security of sea lanes, and ocean governance. These issues can potentially foster mutual trust and cooperation among the BRICS partners and contribute to global security. 

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
IPCS Columnists
Af-Pak Diary
D Suba Chandran
Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues
Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?
The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani
Big Picture
Prof Varun Sahni
Understanding Democracy and Diversity in J&K
When Xi Met Modi: Juxtaposing China and India
Pakistan?s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability

Dateline Colombo

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera.
Sri Lanka: Moving Towards a Higher Collective Outcome
The Importance of Electing the Best to our Nation's Parliament
Sri Lanka: Toward a Diaspora Re-Engagement Plan
Dateline Islamabad
Salma Malik
Pakistan's Hurt Locker: What Next?
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
India-Pakistan Relations in 2015: Through a Looking Glass
 
Dhaka Discourse
Prof Delwar Hossain
IPCS Forecast: Bangladesh in 2015
18th SAARC Summit: A Perspective from Bangladesh
Bangladesh in Global Forums: Diplomacy vs. Domestic Politics
Eagle Eye
Prof Chintamani Mahapatra
India-US: Significance of the Second Modi-Obama Meet
Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?
Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticism?s Sake?

East Asia Compass
Dr Sandip Mishra
India-Japan-US Trilateral: India?s Policy for the Indo-Pacific
China-South Korea Ties: Implications for the US Pivot to Asia
Many ?Pivots to Asia?: What Does It Mean For Regional Stability?
Himalayan Frontier
Pramod Jaiswal
Nepal?s New Constitution: Instrument towards Peace or Catalyst to Conflict?
IPCS Forecast: Nepal in 2015
Constitution-making: Will Nepal Miss its Second Deadline?

Indo-Pacific
Prof Shankari Sundararaman
IPCS Forecast: Southeast Asia in 2015
Indonesia's Pacific Identity: What Jakarta Must Do in West Papua
Modi in Myanmar: From ?Look East? to ?Act East?
Indus-tan
Sushant Sareen
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
Islamic State: Prospects in Pakistan
Pakistan: The Futility of Internationalising Kashmir

Looking East
Wasbir Hussain
Myanmar in New Delhi's Naga Riddle
China: ?Peaceful? Display of Military Might
Naga Peace Accord: Need to Reserve Euphoria
Maritime Matters
Vijay Sakhuja
Indian Ocean: Modi on a Maritime Pilgrimage
Indian Ocean: Exploring Maritime Domain Awareness
IPCS Forecast: The Indian Ocean in 2015

Nuke Street
Amb Sheelkant Sharma
US-Russia and Global Nuclear Security: Under a Frosty Spell?
India's Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile: The Nirbhay Test
India-Australia Nuclear Agreement: Bespeaking of a New Age
Red Affairs
Bibhu Prasad
Countering Left Wing Extremism: Failures within Successes
Return of the Native: CPI-Maoist in Kerala
The Rising Civilian Costs of the State-Vs-Extremists Conflict

Regional Economy
Amita Batra
India and the APEC
IPCS Forecast: South Asian Regional Integration
South Asia: Rupee Regionalisation and Intra-regional Trade Enhancement
South Asian Dialectic
PR Chari
Resuming the Indo-Pak Dialogue: Evolving a New Focus
Defence Management in India: An Agenda for Parrikar
Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: Implications for Asian Security

Spotlight West Asia
Amb Ranjit Gupta
Prime Minister Modi Finally Begins His Interaction with West Asia*
A Potential Indian Role in West Asia?
US-GCC Summit: More Hype than Substance
Strategic Space
Manpreet Sethi
India-Russia Nuclear Vision Statement: See that it Delivers
Global Nuclear Disarmament: The Humanitarian Consequences Route
Nasr: Dangers of Pakistan's Short Range Ballistic Missile

The Strategist
Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar
Jihadi Aggression and Nuclear Deterrence
The Blight of Ambiguity
Falun Gong: The Fear Within


OTHER REGULAR contributors
Gurmeet Kanwal
Harun ur Rashid
N Manoharan
Wasbir Hussain
Rana Banerji
N Manoharan

Ruhee Neog
Teshu Singh
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Roomana Hukil
Aparupa Bhattacherjee


 
Related Articles
Teshu Singh,
"BRICS: China’s End-Game," 31 July 2014

Browse by Publications

Commentaries 
Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 
China 
Myanmar 
Afghanistan 
Iran 
Pakistan 
India 
J&K  

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Indo-Pak 
Military 
Terrorism 
Naxalite Violence 
Nuclear 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
Towards a North Arabian Maritime Partnership

Forecast 2016: Indian Ocean Politics and Security

Indian Ocean: Modi on a Maritime Pilgrimage

Indian Ocean: Exploring Maritime Domain Awareness

IPCS Forecast: The Indian Ocean in 2015

Indian Ocean: Why India Seeks Demilitarisation

India and Maritime Security: Do More

Asia and the Seas: Looking Back to Look Forward

Indian Ocean and the IORA: Search and Rescue Operations

Pirates Prefer Energy Cargo

Maritime Terrorism: Karachi as a Staging Point

Xi Jinping and the Maritime Silk Road: The Indian Dilemma

Drug Smuggling across the Indian Ocean: Impact of Increasing Interceptions

Maritime Silk Road: Can India Leverage It?

Indian Ocean: Multilateralism Takes Root

India-EU: Exploring Maritime Convergences

Rim of the Pacific Exercises (RIMPAC): Thaw in China-US Tensions?

Indian Ocean Navies: Lessons from the Pacific

The Oman Gas Pipeline: India’s Underwater Energy Supply Chain

Oman's Duqm Port and US Exit from Afghanistan

Search and Rescue at Sea: Challenges and Chinese Capabilities

Increasing Maritime Competition: IORA, IONS, Milan and the Indian Ocean Networks

The Maritime Silk Route and the Chinese Charm Offensive

China in the Indian Ocean: Deep Sea Forays

Antarctica and the Ice breakers: What should India prepare for?

ADD TO:
Blink
Del.icio.us
Digg
Furl
Google
Simpy
Spurl
Y! MyWeb
Facebook
 
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2017
 January  February  March  April  May  June
 2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010  2009
 2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002  2001
 2000  1999  1998  1997
 
 

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India's foreign policy especially India-China relations, India's relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia.

Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the three wings of the Armed Forces - the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, - the academic community as well as the media, the IPCS has contributed considerably to the strategic discourse in India.

 
Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map
18, Link Road, Jungpura Extension, New Delhi 110014, INDIA.

Tel: 91-11-4100-1902    Email: officemail@ipcs.org

© Copyright 2017, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.