Islands are intrinsic parts of the Indian Ocean Region’s physical geography and human landscape. Historically, many have played substantial roles in the regional cultural and economic networks, as well as in the regional political developments. Today, at least three issues bring these islands back to the forefront of the regional and global affairs, namely geopolitics and strategic matters, environmental conditions and challenges, as well as ocean affairs. However, there has not been yet a lot of research and publications on this phenomenon of islands’ growing significance in the specific context of the Indian Ocean Region.
This book provides a rare attempt to cover various issues related to geopolitics, international relations, history, security, anthropology and ocean/environment of Indian Ocean islands and their societies. More specifically, it provides case studies on Sri Lanka (foreign policy), Cocos and Christmas Islands (geo-strategy), Chagos Archipelago (history), Mauritius (‘Indo-Mauritians’), Mauritius and Seychelles (maritime security), European Union and the Indian Ocean Islands (international relations), and Sundarban islands (environment and society).
The chapters were originally published in a special issue of the Journal of the Indian Ocean Region.
Introduction: Indian Ocean Islands: Illustrated cases on geopolitics, ocean, environment Christian Bouchard and Shafick Osman 1. Balancing and bandwagoning: explaining shifts in Sri Lankan foreign policy Rajni Nayanthara Gamage 2. Cocos and Christmas Islands: building Australia’s strategic role in the Indian Ocean David Brewster and Rory Medcalf 3. Towards a workers’ history of the Chagos archipelago Marina Carter 4. ‘Indo-Mauritians’ and the Indian Ocean: literacy accounts and anthropological readings Mathieu Claveyrolas 5. Small islands’ understanding of maritime security: the cases of Mauritius and Seychelles James A. Malcolm and Linganaden Murday 6. The European Union and the Indian Ocean Islands: identifying opportunities for developing a more ambitious and comprehensive strategy Erwan Lannon 7. Tropical cyclones and coastal communities: the dialectics of social and environmental change in the Sundarban delta Debojyoti Das