Why India is bringing Indo-Pacific and ASEAN Policies under single Unit?

The Ministry of External Affairs recently announced that it will create a new Oceania Territorial Division having its centre at Australia. The division will integrate ASEAN divisions and the Indo-Pacific under it.

Why India integrated the two divisions?

China is increasing its influence in the Indian Ocean.  So, it becomes essential for India to seek international in order to counter the Chinese influence. So this integration is being done with an aim to align policies in the region from the western Pacific to the Andaman Sea. which is considered by China as its strategic backyard. Apart from that, India is also actively taking part in the affairs of groupings like QUAD along with Australia and Japan, Indian Ocean Rim Association etc. and has been providing soft assistance to neighboring countries and countries surrounding the Indian Ocean in order to counter the Chinese influence.

Indo- Pacific Division

India created the Indo-Pacific division in 2019 which include Indian Ocean Rim Association, QUAD countries and ASEAN Nations.

Indian Ocean Division

The Indian Ocean Division was created to bring together Maldives, Sri Lanka, Mauritius and Seychelles. It also included Comoros, Madagascar and Reunion Islands later.

How India is increasing her influence in the Indian Ocean region?

India have signed many deals and have established following military cooperation’s on foreign soil:

  1. Maldives– India is having a strong Naval Base in Maldives.
  2. Seychelles– Seychelles and India agreed to build a joint military facility in Assumption Island, Seychelles in 2018.
  3. Mauritius– Mauritius leased the Agalega Island to Indian Navy for the development of strategic assets.
  4. Reunion Island– Reunion Islands is a French Naval Base on which India and France conducted joint patrols for the first time recently in March 2020.
  5. Madagascar– India also established its first military listening post in foreign soil at Madagascar.
  6. Australia–  Australia is also playing a larger role for increasing India’s outreach to the region. Australia recently participated  in Malabar exercises and it is also member of QUAD grouping .

Apart from that, India operates following bases on foreign land:

  1. Tajikistan–  Farkhor Air Base which is operated by Indian Air Force.
  2. Bhutan– Where, Indian Military Training Team is permanently stationed.
  3. Mauritius–  Where, India operates and maintains a coast surveillance radar system.
  4. Oman– Duqm has been established there for Indian Navy and Indian Air Force.
  5. Seychelles– India has deployed and maintaining a Coast Surveillance Radar System here.