1st Edition

Oceanic Strategy India and Other Powers in the Indian Ocean

By Vidhan Pathak, Raghvendra Kumar Copyright 2025
    by Routledge India

    This book explores the significance of the Indian ocean region in strategic engagements between countries in Asia, Africa, and the west, and explores India’s oceanic strategy and power politics.

    The Indian Ocean region has been a key strategic issue for many Asian countries since it has a bearing on major concerns such as trade, transportation and security. The book analyses conflicts, shifts in dynamics, and foreign and military policy concerns of key players in Asia – including China, Japan, India, and South Korea – who are competing for dominance in the region. It discusses the hegemonic presence of the US, France, Russia and others, their interests, and its implications on the regional strategic balance. The book also analyses Africa’s growing presence in the geopolitics in the region and the strategic interests of countries like South Africa and Kenya.

    The book provides an in-depth look at various elements of ‘oceanic strategy’ including mercantile activities, trade, oceanic construction, maritime diplomacy and the blue economy. It will be an essential read for students and researchers of international relations, strategic affairs, South Asian Studies, Southeast Asian Studies, defence studies, foreign policy, diplomacy and political studies.

    1.Introduction 2. India in the Indian Ocean: Interests and Strategy 3. China and other Asian Powers in the Indian Ocean 4. US, Russia and other Western Powers in the Indian Ocean 5. African Actors in the Indian Ocean 6. Conclusion


    Vidhan Pathak was an Associate Professor at the Department of African Studies, University of Delhi, India. Previously, he was an Assistant Professor at the Centre for African Studies, University of Mumbai, an Assistant Professor at MAC, University of Delhi and a Fellow at School of International Studies, JNU, New Delhi. He was the Managing Editor of the Indian Journal of African Studies (journal of the Department of African Studies, University of Delhi), former editor of African Currents (journal of the Centre for African Studies, University of Mumbai) and former Assistant Editor of Diaspora Studies. He has published extensively on topics/subjects like India’s Africa Policy, Indo-African Relations, Western Indian Ocean Region, Indian Diaspora in Africa and other issues related to African affairs. Apart from African politics and Indo-African relations his research interests cover diaspora. His recent publications include a co-edited book titled Imagining India as a Global Power: Prospects and Challenges.

    Raghvendra Kumar is a Ph.D. Scholar at the Department of African Studies, University of Delhi and is working on the topic ‘China’s Engagement with Western Indian Ocean Island States of Africa: Implications for India’. He has published on topics like ‘India in Western Indian Ocean: Interface with Regional and Extra-Regional Actors’, ‘India’s Strategic Interests and Partnership with Island States of Africa in the Western Indian Ocean Region’, among others. His research interests include Indian ocean region, maritime security studies, India in global affairs, India-Africa relations, and India-China relations.

    ‘Indian Ocean has always been central to India’s maritime imagination. At a time when the centre of gravity of global politics and economics has shifted to the Indo-Pacific, it is even more important to assess the emerging strategic power play in the Indian Ocean. In this book, the authors navigate this vast terrain and highlight how a more confident India is reconfiguring its Indian Ocean strategy at a time when sea power’s criticality to global order could not have been more pronounced. While the fault-line with China is quite evident, India’s largely benign presence make it a natural partner of most nations with the stakes in the Indian Ocean.’

    Harsh V Pant, Professor at King’s College London and Director of Research at Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi. 

    ‘The shift in the global geopolitical and geoeconomic centre of gravity to the Indo-Pacific has led to  most leading powers reorienting their strategic approach to this region. India, as a leading Indo-Pacific power also has to develop its strategy to shape the geostrategic outcomes in the region. The authors of this book, late Dr Vidhan Pathak & Raghvendra Kumar, both of whom have a deep understanding of the subject,  have presented a very detailed and well researched analysis of the external and internal dynamics that will shape the future of this region and how India with its deep historical, cultural and civilizational roots will be able to leverage these to shape its own approach. This book is a valuable addition to the existing material on the Indo-Pacific and its insightful perspective will offer incisive inputs to the scholar, the policy maker and the practitioner.'

    Commodore Anil Jai Singh, IN (Retd.) Vice President, Indian Maritime Foundation