Thursday, February 14, 2008


Journal of Indian Ocean Studies, Vol. 15 No.1 April 2007


Mahmood Mukhtar AIam*


The world economy has been drifting into inward-looking trade blocs with multilateral free trade principles based on geographical proximity. Article 24 of the General Agreement on Tariff and Trade, (now World Trade Organization) explicitly permits regional arrangements. At present there are more than 85 regional trade arrangements in existence, 28 of which have been set up since 199ZzIhe form of regionalism that is emerging in the Indian Ocean Region~(/OR-ARC) is quite different from the European Union (EU) and North American Free Trade Association (NAFTA) model because economic or political union is not the ultimate goal. Regional cooperation framework in the lOR are neither planned nor policy oriented, though the economies of this region have merely agreed to increase pressure among them to keep their economies open to free flows of investments and trade in the lOR economies. Such open cooperation provides new instruments for promoting consensus building, information flow and consultations between businesses and governments. It may provide another mechanism to achieve trade liberalisation by encouraging freer regional trade.

The rapid spread of regionalism is the most important development in the global trading system. Post-war international trade relations are built on multilateral free trade principles that regard regional trade coalitions as suboptimal arrangements. A rising share of international trade is occurring within regions. It raised the fear that the world economy is disintegrating into inward-looking trade blocs.

The process is strongly influenced by geographical proximity. The regions have become more geographically oriented, with the majority of members associated with the regional cores of Japan and USA with APEC; Germany and UK with EU; USA with NAFTA; and Singapore and Malaysia with ASEAN. Regionalism takes shape through governmental promotion of trade linkages between countries by removal of barriers to mutual trade in the form of free trade areas, customs unions and other preferential trading agreements. It has gained momentum with the formation of EU and NAFTA. The trend towards regionalisation is an intermediary stage in the relationship between the states on the one hand and the globalising economy on the other.

The recent years have witnessed the growth of 'New Regionalism', interfacing the global trading arrangements. Unlike the regional trading arrangement of the sixties, newly formed blocs! agreements have given importance to preferential free trading arrangements among themselves.

Even the Article 24 of the GATT (now WTO) explicitly permits regional arrangements, thus, acknowledging their compatibility with the multilateral trading system. Since the 1990s, 'open regionalism' is prevalent in various parts of the world, and represents an effort to resolve one of the central problems of the contemporary trade policy, Le., how to achieve compatibility between the explosion of regional trading arrangements around the world and the global trading system as embodied in the WTO. The concept seeks to assure that regional agreements will in practice be building blocks for further global liberalization rather than stumbling blocks that deter such progress.

By now, no. fewer than 85 regional trade arrangements are in existence, 28 of which have been set up since 1992. Yet, the world has only two significant trade blocs, defined as zones of preferential trade. One is the Western Europe and the other is North America. The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APE C) forum covers a quarter of world trade, but is not a preferential arrangement.

The strategic environment under which trade operates is a potentially competitive market, and the location of a supplier is largely irrelevant. This means that the patterns of contemporary international trade increasingly reflect organizational strategies, which affect trade decisions. Moreover, regionalism is thought to be increasingly a natural phenomenon, because informal economic agents as businesses who become more internationalized, drive it. Trade is said to be greater in 'natural' trade regions because the formation of such trade regions is influenced by geographical proximities, which reduces transaction costs and increases information flows.

The form of regionalism that is emerging in the Indian Ocean Region (lOR-ARC) contrasts sharply with the EU and NAFTA model because economic or political union is not the ultimate goal. Neither planned nor policy-oriented, regional cooperation frameworks in the lOR are loose arrangements with low levels of institutionalization. lOR-ARC, for instance, is neither a free trade area nor an institution. Its members have merely agreed to increase pressure among them to keep their economies open to free flows of investments and trade in the lOR economies. Such open cooperation provides new instruments for promoting consensus building, information flow, and consultations between businesses and governments. Additionally, it shall provide another mechanism to achieve trade liberalization by encouraging freer regional trade.

The lOR is a very fast growing region in the world economy, and is rapidly becoming a major centre of the world trade and economic activity. Apparently, two ideas have strongly influenced the lOR-ARC. One is the realization that the Indian Ocean is the only ocean not to have any economic grouping like NAFTA, ASEAN and APEC at a time when international relations are increasingly becoming ocean ¬centric. In this regard, the then Vice-President of India, Mr. K. R.
Narayanan said in 1994 at Port Louis:

"If the littoral states of the Pacific can draw together in a mutually satisfying convergence of economic and political interests, why not the states on the other side of the developmental divide?

In that sense, the lOR-ARC may become a bridgehead between Africa, Asia and Australia.

Raison d'etre
In the past several years, there has been considerable discussion of the proposal aiming at bringing about closer economic integration among the nations of the lOR community. This discussion has been generated by the strong rate of economic growth in the countries around the Indian Ocean basin; by their rapidly expanding trade, investment and other commercial relations; and changes in the international political environment', par1icularly the flux in the relationship among the great powers in the area since the 1991 Gulf crisis. As the Prime Minister of Mauritius Dr. Navinchandra Ramgoolam described: "The lOR grouping is a delayed, but timely initiative to enable the Indian Ocean countries to face the challenges of globalization and also utilize the opportunities that it posed. He wamed that unless the developing countries responded suitably and in a spirit of cooperation, they could be marginalised with the emergence of the mega trade bloc.

It is to be kept in mind that there have already been many regional and sub-regional organisations within the lOR region existing with some specific agenda. There are broadly five sub-regional organisations, covering the littoral states of the Indian Ocean Rim: Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC); Southern African Development Community (SADC); Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN); the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), now African Union (AU); and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).

There are a few ground realities that can support the formation of lOR-ARC. In the recent years, there has been a sea-change in the industrial capacities and profiles of some of the industrialising countries in the region, namely India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Kenya, South Africa and Australia. They are in a position to otter their manufactures and intermediate types of capital goods and machinery that are suited to the requirements of many developing countries in the region.

Many countries in this region are burdened with crippling debt burdens in the wake of the two oil shocks of 1973 and 1979, and also the falling commodity prices. Repayments posed serious burdens on their balance of payments. Many of the non-oil, less developed countries face an unprecedented energy crisis along with problems of balancing their national budgets and international balance-of¬payments accounts. One can imagine a single item, Le. mineral fuel, constitutes around 30 percent of total import.

Much of the technology that is available to these countries from the western industrialised economics is highly capital intensive. These technologies are not suited to their growing employment needs and aspirations. Many of the countries have small international markets and they want to develop domestic industrial capacities and raise their tariff walls to protect the same. The kind of technology that is not available in a country could promote greater intra-regional trade investment and economic cooperation.

The challenges of the eighties and even of the nineties, perhaps, leave no alternative for the developing countries of the Indian Ocean Rim but to forge closer links among themselves. The 15 countries of Western Europe have already formed the European Union, and have permitted free flow of goods, people and capital. The North American Free Trade Area has been constituted by the US, Canada and Mexico; and the APEC group has been formed to cover the Pacific Rim. Only the Indian Ocean had remained without the regional groupings and trade blocs and is now filling the vacuum. The Foreign Minister of Indonesia, Mr. Ali Alatas said in 1997.

"The general feeling was that the Atlantic was the Ocean of the past", the Pacific of the present and the Indian Ocean, that of the future. It would be the challenge of the lOR countries to make their Ocean also one of the present"?

The lOR economies constitute a major part of the world economy but are left behind in the decision making of the world trade and commerce. The focus on the Indian Ocean as "the regional basis" of some future forum for economic interaction among the countries, which lie within this region, visualises the Indian Ocean as a unifying factor (A glance at the map shows that while the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean divide continents, the Indian Ocean unites a vast arc of land). Primarily, the strongest factor for the emergence of IOR¬ARC is the geographical consideration. As mentioned earlier, the Indian Ocean Rim region has a number of sub-regional formations already existing, which have been catering to the concerns of the groupings. These would have direct and indirect bearing upon the developments of lOR-ARC.

The Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation is the product of several events. It was only in the second half of the twentieth century that people began to think of the Indian Ocean as a unifying factor. In the 1950s, late Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru referred to the 'commonality' of the peoples of the region; and in the 1970s and 1980s, Sri Lanka and Seychelles, started to propagate a 'zone of peace' and a 'nuclear-free zone' in the area. Neither of these concepts, however, involved regional economic co-operation. It was not until the early 1990s that the idea of forming an Indian Ocean Rim (lOR) economic grouping came to the forefront. The idea of bringing together the countries of the Indian Ocean Rim into a new form of economic cooperation was first mooted by Mauritius in August 1992. In January 1994, the Mauritian Prime Minister, elaborated the idea and called for the creation of an "Indian Ocean Rim trading bloc" through economic cooperation between Asian and African countries of the Indian Ocean and Australia.

The concept of an lOR initiative was also publicly mooted by the South African foreign Minister, Pik Botha in November 1993. President Nelson Mandela reinforced Pik Botha's idea when he visited India in January 1995.

"Recent changes in the international system demanded that the countries of the Indian Ocean Rim shall come on a single platform. The natural urge ofthe facts of history and geography should broaden itself to include exploring the concept of Indian Ocean Rim and socio¬economic cooperation and other peaceful endeavors".

This proposal was well received both by the India and Australian governments. For India, it was consistent with the vision of India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, who had encouraged unity among the Indian Ocean states. For Australia, this was in line with their 'Look West' policy.

The Mauritius-Indian Ocean Rim Initiative, of the government, business and academia (Port Louis) on 29-31 March 1995, had delegates from seven countries-Australia, India, Kenya, Mauritius, Oman, South Africa and Singapore. The meeting took note of the recent significant changes in the political and economic conditions, particularly the conclusion of the Uruguay Round of GATT negotiations and the setting up of a World Trade Organisation. (WTO) which promised to usher in a more liberal international trading system, growing trend towards regionalism and the increasing adoption of market-friendly policies by a growing number of countries. The meeting concluded that the vital interests shared by the expansion of free trade and investmen~, at the regional and global levels, called for greater cooperation for a more effective utilisation of human, natural and other resources of the lOR for sustained, accelerated economic growth. And also for the improvement of the economic and social welfare of its people, who shared history, and had close cultural links and long-standing trade relations.

The meeting set out the principles, objectives, scope of activity and future course of action to be und~rtaken by the core group, namely those participating in the "initiative". The principles stated that, in a spirit of open regionalism, it seeks to build and expand understanding and mutually beneficial cooperation through a consensus-based, evolutionary and non-intrusive approach. The underlying principles of the entire concept were stated to be:

- Cooperation within lOR's framework to be based on respect of the principles of sovereign equality, territorial integrity, political independence, and non-interference in internal affairs, peaceful coexistence and mutual benefit;

- Such cooperation shall not be a substitute for bilateral and other forms of multilateral cooperation entered into by member states, but shall reinforce and be complementary to those forms of interaction, and shall be consistent with the bilateral and multilateral obligations of member states;

- Eligibility for membership is open to all sovereign states of the lOR;

- All decisions shall be taken 'on the basis of consensus';

- But bilateral and other issues likely to generate controversy and be an impediment to regional cooperation efforts shall be excluded from the deliberations, and Member states shall undertake the work programmes of the Association 'on a voluntary basis'.

Australian perceptions

Since the beginning of the nineties, Australia's policy has been marked by reorganisation and reorientation. It focused on making the country a major market economy in the Asia-Pacific region. The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) was launched in 1989 at Canberra, Australia. On 16-18 November 1992, a major trade and investment convention named "Into Asia" Convention was held at Perth, attended by some 500 government and business representatives. In the keynote address at the convention, the then Premier of Western Australia, Dr. Carmen Lawrence, noted that the state was at the forefront of a national transition to a more Asian¬oriented economy. Not only did the state conduct 70 percent of the trade with Asia, this activity provided 40 percent of the jobs. As Asian Australians becoming increasingly involved in such trade initiatives, he said," Western Australia could become a major gateway to Asia".

Following the Mauritius inter-governmental meeting in March 1995, and before the Perth Conference in June 1995, the Australian Foreign Minister, Gareth Ev(;!ns, undertook an eleven-day visit to eight countries around the Indian Ocean: India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the Seychelles, Madagascar, South Africa and Mauritius. He espoused an indigenous Indian Ocean region-wide process of cooperation. The Perth Conference, was comparatively a more representative gathering of the Indian Ocean States. In this conference, there were 122 participants from business, academia and government from 22 lOR countries. These were: Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, India, Iran, Kenya, Kuwait, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Thailand; United Arab Emirates and Yemen. In this conference, six major approaches were dealt with:

- Historical Interaction: regional, commercial and economic interaction through cross-fertilization of cultures and technologies, prior to the arrival of the European colonial powers.

- Current Economic Situation: the nature of current economic characteristics and linkages in the Indian Ocean Region. The major thrust was on trade share of the lOR economies and commodity trade structure.

- Intra-Regional Trade: to bring the lOR countries closer and would provide an economic underpinning for reduction of tension and maintenance of security.
- Global and Regional Security Arrangement: trade routes carrying trans-oceanic trade, the "Choke Points", and the general concern about oil security within the Gulf.
- Non-Military Issues: illicit drug trafficking, illegal movement of people, terrorism and border disputes.
- Networking Prospects: existing networks of cooperation and their prospects for further development. There are organisations representing particular specialist areas such as law and those with interests in a particular sector of the Indian Ocean.
- In the law category major organisations are: the African Asian Legal Consultative Committee (MLCC); Indian Ocean Marine Affairs Cooperation (IOMAC); Association of Shipping and Ports Authorities (ASPA); the Indian Ocean Fisheries Commission (IOFC); Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) and the Port management Association for Eastern and Southern Africa (PMAESA). Another category comprises the Indian Ocean Island Commission in the southwest, the GCC, SMRC, ASEAN and SACEP (South Asian Cooperative Environment Programme). The reasons for the absence of networking were attributed to the lack of awareness, political commitment and financial support as well as the reluctances of some countries to be involved in multilateral activities.

The major outcomes of Perth Summit were:
- Consultative Business Network: The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry would act as the interim coordinator for this network;
- A charter for, a new business organization; Information technology, including telecommunication; Customs and trade documentation; Non-tariff barriers and impediments to investment; and Maritime affairs.

Second track approach
The first meeting of the tripartite working group in Mauritius (15¬-17 August 1996) supported the establishment of a second track process consisting of business and academic networks. This was complementary to the intergovernmental movement. A further meeting in Mauritius (10-11 September 1996) finalised a charter for the creation of the lOR-ARC with a doubling of membership to include Indonesia, Malaysia, Madagascar, Mozambique, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Yemen. Finally, with 14 members the lOR-ARC was formed in March 1997 in Port Louis, Mauritius. The functioning mechanism of lOR-ARC was demarcated in this meeting, according to the given provision.

The lOR-ARC Working Groups are the Indian Ocean Rim Academic Group (IORAG) representing the academia, and the Indian Ocean rim Business Forum (IORBF) representing the business community. These two groups identify special areas for economic cooperation and identify projects to strengthen this process with adequate consultations.

Work programmes
i) The IORBF focuses not only on trade facilitation, trade promotion, trade liberalisation and investment promotion, but also on providing mechanisms for consultation and co-operation on trade-related infrastructure (shipping, air services, and telecommunication); and on establishing programmes for cooperation in technology, tourism, and human resource development. At meetings of the IORBF in Maputo, Mozambique on 3-4 July 2000, and again in Muscat, Oman on 4 April 2001, progress on 8 projects, comprising part of the work programme of the lOR-ARC, was reviewed.

ii) The objectives of IORAG are to service the needs of both government and business within the ambit of the lOR-ARC, to promote intellectual dialogue between member countries of the Association, and to provide co-ordinated research in support of the lOR-ARC. Research projects can be grouped into two broad categories; of applied nature and aimed at facilitating economic interaction within the lOR region; and of an academic/scientific nature and aimed at improving scientific knowledge and/or promoting academic/scientific exchange within the region. At meetings of the IORAG in Maputo, Mozambique on 28-29 March 1999, and again in Muscat, Oman on 4 April 2001 , progress on 17 projects the Indian Ocean Rim Business Forum.13

At the Second Ministerial meeting in Maputo (March 1999), five new members of the lOR region namely, Thailand, Bangladesh, United Arab Emirates, Iran and Seychelles were added, increasing the total number of members of the lOR-ARC to 19. Also, Japan and Egypt were welcomed as dialogue partners. The last meeting of IOR¬ARC was held in Oman on April 2001. A high level task force (HL TF) comprising Australia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Mozambique, Oman, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Yemen was established to study the further direction of the lOR-ARC; the organisational structure and funding of the Co-ordinating Secretariat; the idea of a 'special fund' for the implementation of lOR-ARC projects and programmes. However, the Charter was finalised in March 1997 with the following objectives: 14

- To promote sustained growth and balanced development of the region and to create common ground for regional economic cooperation;

- To focus on those areas of economic cooperation which would provide maximum opportunities to develop shared interest and reap mutual benefits; and, in so doing, formulate and implement projects for economic co-operation in the areas of trade facilitation, promotion and liberalisation, foreign direct investment, scientific and technological exchange, tourism, the free flow of people, goods and services, and human-resource and infrastructural development;

- To explore all possibilities and avenues for trade liberalisation with a view to augment and diversify trade flows among member states;

- To promote liberalisation, and to remove impediments and barriers to a free flow of goods and services, investment and technology within the region;

- To encourage close interaction of trade and industry and academic institutions of the lOR-ARC members; Cooperation among members on global economic issues, and to develop shared strategies and common positions on issues of mutual interest in the international forum; Closer institutional links for development of human resources and training.

'Open Regionalism' is a model of economic cooperation, representing an effort to resolve one of the central problems of contemporary trade policy. It is a flexible arrangement where decisions are taken by consensus. When the Indian Ocean Rim initial grouping was formed in 1995, open regionalism was embraced without much discussion of its limitations in promoting economic integration in the regional grouping.15

This concept was developed to avoid the possibility of a discriminatory trading bloc. However, its real implications depend on the economic and political conditions of the region, internal policy of an economy and communication networks. The regional perspective is meant to complement, supplement and incorporate without any political intervention. Regionalism with institutional foundation is the strongest strategy for economic linkages

1. J. Poon, Global Regionalisation Tendencies: Spatial Structure and Linkages, Southeast Asian Studies Working Paper (National University of Singapore, 1995), pp. 5-7.
2. C. Fred Bergsten, "Open Regionalism", The World Economy, Vol. 20, No.5,1997,p.545.
3. Ibid., p. 137.
4. P. Krugman, Regionalism Versus Multilateralism: Analytic Notes, in J. De Melo and A.Panagariya (eds.), New Dimensions in Regional Integration (Cambridge: Cambride University Press, 1993), pp 58-79.
5. Patriot, 17 May 1994.
6. Hindu, 6 March 1997.
7. Ibid.
8. Denis Venter, "The Indian Ocean Rim Initiative: A Vehicle for South ¬South Cooperation", paper distributed at the Indian Ocean Research Network (lORN) Meeting in Durban, March 10-11, 1997, p. 1.

9. Greg Mills, 'Security and a (Nuclear) Indian Ocean Rim', in Greg Mills (ed.), South African Year Book of International Affairs (Durban: Sunray Publishers Ltd., 1998-99), p. 148.
10. Kuldeep Kaur, 'Australia's Changing Orientation from Pacific to Indian Ocean', Journal of Indian Ocean Studies, Vol. 8, No.3, December 2000, pp.210-11.
11. 'Strategies: Western Australia-Springboard to Asia', Insight, 30 November 1992, pp. 13-14.
12. For detail, see lOR-ARC, Report of IORBF, Maputo, Mozambique, 3-4 July 2000, Vacoas: lOR-ARC Co-ordinating Secretariat, July 2000, p. 4; lOR-ARC, Report of the Indian Ocean Rim Business Forum (IORBF), Muscat, Sultanate of Oman, 4-5 April 2001, Vacoas: lOR-ARC Co¬ordinating Secretariat, April 2001, p. 4.
13. For details, see lOR-ARC, Report of the Indian Ocean Rim Academic Group, (IORAG), 28 and 29 March 1999, Vacoas: lOR-ARC Co-ordinating Secretariat, March 1999, Maputo, Mozambique, p. 6; lOR-ARC, Report of the Indian Ocean Academic Group (IORAG), Muscat, Sultanate of Oman, 4-5 April 2001, Vacoas: lOR-ARC Co-ordinating Secretariat, April 2001, p. 5.
14. J. Mahender Reddy, 'Overview', in J. Mahender Reddy (ed.), Trade and Investment: Issues in the Indian Ocean Rim (New Delhi: Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd., 2000), pp. 4-5.
15. Saman, Kelegama, 'lOR-ARC Beyond Maputo: Open Regionalism in the
Indian Ocean', in Reddy (ed.), n.14, p. 45.


Maritime Security Challenges in South Asia and the Indian Ocean: Response Strategies By: Cdr. P K Ghosh

"Whoever controls the Indian Ocean dominates Asia. This ocean is the key to the seven seas in the twenty-first century, the destiny of the world will be decided in these waters."
Alfred Thayer Mahan

The Indian Ocean region, the birthplace of maritime civilization, was considered a playground of rich industrial European nations during the colonial era. With the commencement of decolonization in 1946, the euphoria of independence was overshadowed by the turbulence of internecine conflicts and inter-state wars that followed. During the Cold War era the two superpowers reinforced their maritime influence directly or indirectly through an impressive array of available port facilities in this region. History was repeating itself in an evolved form.
The post-Cold War era has heralded a socio-politico-strategic shift in thought. Globalization, specifically economics, today dominates strategic considerations. This has led to enhanced maritime security concerns, since most regional trade is sea-borne. Despite "maritime bonding", this region has unfortunately not seen the emergence of a vibrant trans-oceanic community.
This may be rooted in regional countries’ wide dissimilarities and divergent interests, which have prompted each country to pursue economic linkages with Europe or North America rather than with each other. This has inevitably limited the region’s economic growth.
The Indian Ocean is home to many choke points, such as the Straits of Hormuz, Straits of Malacca, Lombok and the Sunda Straits. Any disruption in traffic flow through these points can have disastrous consequences. The disruption of energy flows in particular is a considerable security concern for littoral states, as a majority of their energy lifelines are sea-based. Since energy is critical in influencing the geo-political strategies of a nation, any turbulence in its supply has serious security consequences. Given the spiraling demand for energy from India, China and Japan, it is inevitable that these countries are sensitive to the security of the sea lines of communication (SLOCs) and choke points of the region.
The other challenges in the maritime sphere call for more effective law enforcement and the maintenance of maritime order. The challenges are essentially part constabulary, part economic and part human welfare. Maritime crime has increased, which has opened avenues for maritime security cooperation. Opportunities have yet to be realized; hence the problems continue, as do the challenges in maintaining maritime order.
The main objective of this paper is to highlight maritime security challenges that weigh heavily in the region geographically bounded by the Indian Ocean, and with special reference to the South Asian littorals. Viable responses and strategies to address these challenges are also posited for consideration.

Disunity in Diversity
Although a maritime oceanic thread binds the littorals together, maritime cooperation and maritime issues have not attained the importance they deserve in this region. To begin with, there is considerable debate on the extent of the Indian Ocean rim itself. Differing definitions have been applied to the region, and the number of states included ranges from 29 to 35.1 However the dissimilarities in state capabilities (both economic and military) are also considerable. India, Australia and South Africa each have a blue water naval capability and a booming economy,2 while the smaller island nations can hardly compare. Hence convergence of interests on security issues has not been readily forthcoming.
The Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC) was not formed until March 5, 1997, in Mauritius. The mandate of this international body of littoral states was to boost economic cooperation amongst its member states. While IOR accounts for just eight percent of world GDP and 12 percent of world trade, there is room for considerable improvement. Meanwhile, Australia’s efforts to introduce a security agenda have not been successful; indeed, the organization has ignored issues of maritime cooperation. The charter of the association does not even mention the issue, and only one of the projects of the works program examines the subject of development, upgrading and management of ports.
Consequently, maritime issues get ignored in the Indian Ocean Rim Business Forum (IORBF) and the Indian Ocean Rim Academic Group (IORAG).3 However, it is essential that the existing cold war military mindset of 'preparing for war in order to ensure peace' be revised to 'if you want peace prepare to cooperate' as a guideline for both military and non-military maritime interaction. It is only through cooperation that the challenges to the existing maritime order can be addressed.
An economic community comprising Bangladesh, India, Myanmar (Burma), Sri Lanka, and Thailand (BIMST-EC) was launched in June 1997. Accounting for less than 3% of global trade, it has been overshadowed by a vigorous effort to vitalize the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), and is also ill-equipped to handle maritime challenges.

SLOC Protection
The economic development of a state is closely linked to its trade and energy supply. Since most of the trade of the Indian Ocean littorals and the South Asian states is seaborne, SLOCs form the lifeline of these countries. According to World Bank estimates, in 1999 the world seaborne trade was pegged at 21,480 billion ton-miles; it is expected to reach 35,000 billion ton-miles in 2010, and 41,800 billion ton-miles in 2014. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Report, "Review of Maritime Transport 2000", notes that world sea-based trade recorded its fourteenth consecutive annual increase, and Asia's share of imports and exports was 26.1% and 18.8 % respectively. Thus the prospects for seaborne trade are set to rise dramatically. Unfortunately, along with this rise in traffic, the variety and intensity of threats, including piracy, maritime terrorism, drug trafficking, gun-running, human smuggling, pollution, accidents and inter-state conflicts, are also expected to show a proportional rise.
While the best approach to SLOC security obviously lies in extensive cooperation, the fact is that SLOCs arouse different response strategies amongst different people. To a military analyst, the SLOCs are related to the maritime instruments of power, and maritime geography becomes the pivot on which forces must be deployed. To a politician, on the other hand, SLOCs signify the state of relations with countries located along the sea route traversed, while for an economist it is just the shortest and most economical travel distance between two destinations. Similarly, for some nations multilateral cooperation on SLOC security may mean a perceived intrusion into aspects of sovereignty. Thus the security of sea lanes requires comprehensive strategies encompassing differing perceptions and national interests of concerned states.
The Indian Ocean is home to important SLOCs and maritime choke points. A large volume of international long haul maritime cargo from the Persian Gulf, Africa and Europe transits through this ocean. Some of the primary items transported are energy products - mainly oil and gas. Disruption in energy lifelines can also arise from patterns of trade flows. Imports to South Asia from West Asia utilize the Strait of Hormuz. According to EIA estimates, the Strait recorded a transit volume of 15.4 million barrels of oil per day in 1998. Closure of the Strait of Hormuz practically cuts off Gulf supplies to the East altogether and also affects the West considerably.
Similarly, the closure of the Straits of Malacca, through which nearly 9.4 million barrels of oil per day flow (according to the EIA), can seriously threaten the economies of Southeast Asia and the energy intensive economies of China and Japan. This area has recently witnessed a rise in the levels of piracy (see below). Such piracy could lead to some future traffic being routed through the Sunda and the Lombok Straits within the geographical ambit of Indonesia. However, political uncertainty and instability in Indonesia may dampen this trend. Due to the geostrategic importance of Malacca Straits to almost all the South and Southeast Asian countries, any maritime contingency in this traffic congested region would have profound security ramifications.
The importance of energy to the "demand heartland" (India, China and Japan) is extensive. These countries view SLOCs as their very lifelines. At current levels of consumption, the oil import dependence of India is expected to reach 82.2 percent by 2010 and 91.6 percent by 2020. In the case of China it will be 61 percent and 76.9 percent, while for rest of South Asia it will be 95.1 percent and 96.1 percent respectively.4 For India, with nearly 89 percent of its oil imports arriving by sea, it is imperative that the SLOCs be secure. This security angle is enhanced many fold, since most of the oil originates in West Asia, and the SLOCs pass through areas under the influence of India’s adversary, Pakistan. Added to this is the political turbulence of areas in West Asia that often holds hostage the supply of oil from the region. In the past, supplies from this region have been disrupted on at least seven different occasions, all of which were due to political causes and were not market driven. Having established the importance of SLOCs, this paper will now focus on the suggested methodology of ensuring their protection through mutual cooperation.

Piracy has become the bane of the modern seafarer. The numerous cases of reported and unreported piracy have led to considerable concern and multinational efforts to control this violent menace. According to the International Maritime Organization Annual Report 2002,5 the Malacca Straits, South China Sea and Indian Ocean are the areas that have been most affected by piracy.
This heavy infestation of piracy has a lot to do with the geography of the area, but economic conditions and the mindset of the coastal people in the hundreds of minor islands that lace the Malacca Straits and South China Sea are also a significant factor. Recently, piracy-related incidents seem to have spilled over from these two areas into the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. Indeed, the center of gravity of piracy may shift to the waters around India.
There also seems to be a distinct change in the type of piracy that is occurring. Earlier acts were of the type termed 'Asian Piracy' that often involved mere stealing of valuables from ships with a negligible amount of associated violence. However, recent cases in the region have displayed a dramatic increase in brazen violence, and the methodology has made them akin to the South American or West African type of piracy.
In addition, the involvement of organised crime in hijacking ships was evident from the 1999 MV Alonda Rainbow case. This case is also a modern example of various enforcement agencies acting together to fight piracy.6 Unless law enforcement agencies of various states cooperate to bring piracy under control, this phenomenon will not only increase dramatically but may spin out of control. The portents of this problem lie in the fact that Asian operatives have become exceptionally well organized, with entrenched gangs and, at times, under state sponsorship. Their links with other forms of "maritime disorder and terrorism," such as narco–terrorism and human smuggling, are well-established and organic extensions of one another.

Maritime Terrorism
Maritime security has assumed a new dimension in the post 9-11 era. The fight against this old and persistent issue has received a boost with the backing of the international community, particularly the United States. While the search for terrorists and their personification in Al Qaeda continues on land, at sea the international community is hunting for Bin Laden’s terror ships, termed the "phantom fleet." The main idea is to prevent Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda operatives from escaping via the sea or terrorizing the maritime arena. 7
The importance of container security to maritime terrorism is only now being realized after a U.S. Navy search of a freighter in January 2002 led to the discovery of a group of Al Qaeda terrorists hiding inside a well equipped shipping container. The group escaped from the container shortly before the search commenced. This discovery prompted an increase in surveillance of ships as well as trucks carrying shipping containers leaving Afghanistan for Pakistani ports.8 In another case, a suspected Al Qaeda terrorist smuggled himself halfway around the world inside a shipping container that was equipped with a bed and toilet. He was carrying computers, cameras, mobile phones, airport maps, and airport security passes for Canada, Thailand and Egypt.
With a dramatic increase in large and small container transport by sea,9 the problem has grown, as these sealed containers often pass through ports without undergoing thorough checking10 and are capable of containing anything from human terrorist cargo to arms and ammunition. It has been reported that one of Bin Laden’s cargo freighters unloaded supplies in Kenya for the suicide cadres who subsequently bombed the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.11
In this context the new CSI (Container Security Initiative) is a step toward overcoming this challenge. However the CSI does not cover any port in the Indian Ocean at present (Durban, South Africa, and Colombo, Sri Lanka, are expected to join soon, along with Kelang, Malaysia, and Tanjung Priok, Indonesia).12 In addition, many smaller host nations regard the initiative as an impediment to normal trade and a method of re-enforcing trade barriers.
Several terrorist organizations in and around the Indian Ocean are known to possess merchant fleets of various types. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), for example, have an entire flotilla engaged in dubious maritime trade. Most of these are registered under flag of convenience (FOC) countries known as "pan-ho-lib," i.e. Panama, Honduras and Liberia,13 and are difficult to track as they routinely change names and registry. Lloyds of London lists 11 merchant ships belonging to Asian front companies that are in reality managed by Kumaran Pathmanathan of the LTTE.14
Thus FOCs pose another major challenge to maritime security. Flying the flag of a state other than the country of ownership enables the owners to avoid high registration fees and taxes, and to employ cheap labor operating under sub-standard conditions. It is estimated that there are about 30 such registries (some in private hands operating on behalf of states) mainly run by small island or impoverished nations.15 Since the checks and balances introduced by these registries are undeniably lax, there is no guarantee as to the type of crew or the type of cargo that these ships carry. Such ships are considered the safest bet for carrying out terrorist-related activities.

The Rise of Narco-Terrorism and a Terror-Crime Nexus
An important adjunct to maritime terrorism is drug trafficking. The nexus of these two phenomena is admittedly so deep that they are often analyzed under the same parameters. With profit margins running into hundreds of percent, drug trafficking is by far the most lucrative means of generating funds to fuel ever-growing terrorist activities and insurgencies around the region.
Additionally, terrorist groups often work hand-in-hand with drug cartels. While this symbiotic relationship provides established routes for drug and arms smuggling, it also provides terrorists with the logistical infrastructure to move people, arms and material according to their desires.16 This relationship has other benefits, giving powerful syndicates access to politicians, with the aim of weakening or influencing rather than destroying them. Terrorist groups may thus coerce a "weak government" to look the other way while crime syndicates conduct their affairs.
Considering the geo-political setup of the Indian Ocean region, Iran and Pakistan form a major portion of the drug-infested "Golden Crescent," while Myanmar (Burma) and Thailand constitute the majority of the "Golden Triangle," notorious for its illegal drug production.17 As all these states are in the IOR, it is natural that narco-terrorism is a major security concern for littoral states like India, which has seen its own emergence as a transit point for a majority of the drugs that emanate from these two areas.
The well-organized LTTE is deeply involved in drug trafficking through their "phantom fleet". Besides transporting timber, sugar and other commercial items, these ships also transport drugs from Myanmar (Burma) to Turkey. They also provide protection and courier services to the sea-borne drug shipments from Myanmar (Burma) to various countries around the world, mainly Europe and the U.S. The drug money is then channeled into arms purchases for continuing the Sri Lankan insurgency.
The symbiotic relationship between gunrunning and drug trafficking is well known. It is extremely difficult to control one without controlling the other. Gunrunning by sea is by far the safest means for transferring arms and ammunition around the world, while drug trafficking is most lucrative. Insurgent movements around the world, like the United Wa State Army (UWSA) - a splintered faction of the Burmese Communist Party- operating from the northern Shan state in Myanmar - depend extensively on drug money to fuel their movement and equip their forces.
The LTTE has a vast and well-established network for gunrunning, with its reach extending as far as Japan. Their arms mostly originate in Cambodia, and are later loaded into small fishing trawlers from the port of Ranong in southern Thailand. This arms cargo is then transferred to bigger ships (often in mid-ocean), which transport the consignment to Sri Lanka. The seizure in a boat yard in Singapore of an incomplete submersible bound for the LTTE displays the extent of arms that are being transported illegally.
Bangladesh’s capture of several small fishing craft laden with arms during the last few years has led to the conclusion that a lot of these arms also make their way from Thailand to the Cox Bazaar in Bangladesh. Similarly, the Royal Thai Navy’s seizure of arms meant for the People’s Liberation Army (Manipur) off the port of Ranong in 1997 clearly demonstrates the close nexus between arms trafficking and insurgent groups. The other major pipeline for Cambodian weapons is through Southern Thailand, and from there across the Malacca Straits to Aceh.18
There are clear links between the narcotics and illegal light weapons trade that include shared supply and transit routes, the use of weapons for protection amongst drug traffickers themselves, and funding of gunrunning through drug trade and vice versa.19
Maritime Pollution and Oil-related Environmental Disasters
Oil-related disasters at sea are the bane of not only environmentalists but mariners and security specialists as well. They create havoc with the ecology in the maritime environment and have the potential to affect maritime security. The environmental effects are of long-term or short-term duration, but their consequential effects in related maritime spheres can continue over a longer period. Indeed, many effects of disasters involved LPG tankers have yet to be understood.20
Regional governments are deeply concerned with major oil spills or wrecks of oil tankers at narrow approaches to harbours and choke points, since such spills can seriously affect the flow of merchant shipping traffic. Theoretically the traffic can be directed to other similar ports or routes, but practical difficulties of jetties, storage capacity, and longer routing leads to compounding of economic losses.

Security Against Mining
Mining of waters is one of the cheapest ways to conduct maritime warfare. Mines may be laid by seaborne or airborne vessels. Civilian aircraft or vessels may carry out mining operations, which can even be perpetrated by non-state actors to a limited extent. It is not even necessary to carry out actual mining operations. The mere threat or a well-calculated disinformation campaign about the laying of a minefield can deter any merchant ship from entering an "affected" channel or strait.
For many years after World War II, sea mines were not considered a serious threat to naval operations. However, Iran’s extensive laying of mines during its war with Iraq in the 1980’s brought a new awareness of the danger. On April 14, 1988, the USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG-58) hit a mine in the Persian Gulf and suffered extensive damage.
Mines laid in the Persian Gulf in 1987 and the Red Sea in 1984 clearly demonstrated their destructive power by leaving a trail of damaged ships. A concentrated international effort was required to undertake minesweeping operations to clean up the area. Hence mining in a constricted area like the Malacca Straits has the potential to create havoc on international merchant shipping. The consequences are further aggravated because the 960-km strait provides access to important ports like Kelang, Penang, Lumut, and Singapore, and in addition has vital naval bases of different states along both its shores. Thus, closure of this vital area would directly affect the operational deployment pattern of navies along the straits. Most of the regional navies have poor minesweeping abilities and are incapable of undertaking large or even medium-sized minesweeping efforts.

Indian Perspective
Geography places India astride commercial routes and energy lifelines passing from the Indian Ocean to Southeast Asia. In military terms, the Indian Navy (IN) is one of the largest maritime forces in the region. India has played a crucial role in increasing maritime bonding by initiating numerous confidence building measures (CBMs). It conducts regular naval exercises with IOR and Southeast Asian navies, and in 2004 held its second joint exercise with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN).21 The exercise provided an opportunity for the two Asian giants not only to assess one another, but also to extend a hand of rapprochement in the face of existing circumstances that cause the Chinese to feel encircled by the United States. It also enabled the Chinese to become more appreciative of Indian sensitivities regarding Chinese attempts to gain a foothold in the Indian Ocean, a move that had made many of the littorals wary and apprehensive.
In addition, the IN has made flag-showing visits to important ports in the IOR an annual feature. Naval training establishments in India under the Southern Naval Command at Kochi regularly accept naval personnel from Southeast Asian and IOR countries for training, a feature that must continue if Indians are to build stronger and more influential relationships with friendly navies around the region.
In addition to the surveillance of its vast maritime zones, the Indian Navy, in association with its Coast Guard, is specifically involved in surveillance of the Palk Straits, the Gulf of Mannar, the coasts of Maharashtra and Gujarat, and other island territories. Its goal is to curb the influx of refugees and Tamil terrorists, and to prevent poaching, gun running, etc.
India has been spearheading a multilateral naval exercise, designated MILAN, since the mid 1990s. MILAN involves a series of exercises, includes participation from the Bay of Bengal rim states, and is conducted every year off the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The MILAN series was institutionalized with the objective of achieving interoperability with ASEAN navies, allaying fears about the Indian Navy's growing influence in the Andaman Sea, and promoting goodwill between India and ASEAN countries. MILAN 2003, held in February, further highlighted India’s commitment to this end. The exercise now includes navies from Myanmar (Burma), Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Australia.22
In addition, bilateral and multilateral exercises involving search-and-rescue drills, exchanges of information, anti-submarine warfare, advanced mine countermeasures and anti-terror tactics have been held between regional navies from time to time. Bilateral goodwill visits with ASEAN countries, China, Japan and the United States are a regular feature and include extensive cooperation on the training of personnel, hydrography, etc. Singapore is prepared to share intelligence with India as part of a comprehensive anti-terrorism agreement.23 Unfortunately no such institutionalized set-up exists for the IOR navies, although there is extensive sharing of operational expertise and intelligence regarding transnational crime (except piracy, which is covered by the pirate reporting centres).
The silver lining to the above has been in the MALBAR series of exercises that the U.S. Navy and the IN have revived. The exercise, held in December 2002, involved ships from Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Mauritius as well. The latest and sixth exercise in the series was held in 2003.24
It is obvious from the above that smaller regional navies have a lot to gain from interaction with the Indian Navy, based on its experience in dealing with transnational crime and terrorism. In fact, joint efforts by the Indian Navy, and other capable IOR and Southeast Asian navies, could lead to SLOC patrols to help ensure the free flow of traffic through SLOCs and choke points. Malaysia and Indonesia, however, vehemently opposed recent Indian offers to provide SLOC protection in the Malacca region in partnership with the U.S. Navy - regarding the entire prospect as an affront to their sovereignty. Other smaller nations also viewed the issue with milder apprehension. This episode has revealed an important lesson for participant states: while the success of any transnational security enforcement agency will require multilateral cooperation, working out the modalities of such cooperation may prove difficult due to acute national sensitivities toward the preservation of state sovereignty.
The United States maintains a considerable and continuous naval presence in the politically volatile Gulf region, mainly for its strategic interest in seeing that energy lifelines are not unduly threatened. It may be prudent to include the powerful U.S. Navy in any arrangement that seeks to ensure maritime order in the region. This would not only lower the vulnerability threshold of the SLOCs and the choke points, but also ensure that they remain stable and free from threat of closure.

What Can Be Done – The Multi-Layered Approach
From an Indian perspective it is obvious that the various maritime challenges must be addressed on a multi-layered basis. Some challenges that are predominantly located around the Indian coast require a unilateral approach. These deal with policing and constabulary functions. Other challenges require a bilateral approach, such as military exercises involving US Navy and other navies. The most desirable format is the multilateral approach toward solving transnational crime and maintaining maritime order.
While regional cooperation between navies and coast guards must take center stage in the emerging order, non-military maritime cooperation is equally important. Navies must reorient themselves from the existing mindset of 'preparing for war in order to ensure peace' to that of 'if you want peace and stability prepare to cooperate.'
Any multinational agency designed to deal with the aforementioned maritime challenges will need to set priorities multinational security organization will have to adapt to different capabilities and perspectives on the pace of operations and the degree of force to be applied to a particular challenge. Money laundering would probably not elicit a military response by most states, whereas biological terrorism would necessitate assistance from naval forces, as may disaster relief, drought assistance etc. Tracking of smugglers and gunrunners would lead to greater military involvement and possibly interdiction and arrest as well. Of the various transnational security threats, maritime piracy and terrorism would most directly and extensively involve nations’ naval forces. 25
Unfortunately, the problem plaguing the Indian Ocean and the Southern Asian region is the lack of "channelized" efforts towards addressing maritime challenges. Previous efforts to combat these problems have been mostly bilateral and, at best, trilateral arrangements. There is a near total absence of a multilateral approach to combat maritime disorder. Track II arrangements like the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific (CSCAP) and the Western Pacific Naval Symposium (WPNS) have been active in hosting seminars and discussions, but most states have yet to incorporate their suggestions in their national policies. This calls for an accentuated belief in and greater importance attached to Track II recommendations on this issue that has sadly been lacking.
In view of the above, I recommend the following measure: the establishment of Joint Maritime Centers (JMCs) and "Oil Spill Response Centers."26 Interlinked joint maritime centers comprising regional navies and coast guards should be formed at important ports near strategic choke points to enable rapid and coordinated responses to smuggling, piracy, humanitarian disasters, illegal migration, environmental incidents, and search-and-rescue operations, since these are crucial areas that require cooperation. The centers may also provide a venue for intelligence sharing. These centers can join with "oil spill response centers" to combat the hazards of oil spills. Oil spills are an ever-increasing problem with serious consequences for marine ecological systems. For example, in the Malacca Straits alone there were five oil spills totaling 3.5 million tons of oil in 1994. Hence, regional navies and coast guards need to structure "spill response centers" with mandatory power to inspect oil tankers, as Turkey, Italy, and France implemented in some of their ports. These response centers could be amalgamated with the JMCs for better coordination and management.
Regional states should also develop marine technology and a joint strategy to ensure the safety of ports and harbors. They should also pursue coordinated efforts on utilization and management of marine resources, both animal and mineral, in their respective Exclusive Economic Zones, or EEZs.

Transnational threats, including narco-terrorism, gun running, sea piracy, immigration control and assistance during natural disasters, have spawned a multitude of additional "out of area" operational roles for regional navies, and have dramatically increased the maritime security challenges of the South Asian region. Countering these threats and challenges requires consistent cooperation between the states affected and the associated maritime agencies.
Admittedly, the above-cited areas of potential cooperation seems like a wish list that sidesteps practical limitations imposed by the realities of divergent national perspectives on issues of sovereignty, etc. However, a fatalistic assessment of the situation is neither practical nor necessarily pragmatic given the stakes of maritime security. To begin with, littoral states in the region should look toward regional power centers for assistance in maintaining maritime order and coping with natural disasters. Countries with enhanced maritime capabilities like the United States, India, South Africa, and Australia can help by not only cooperating amongst themselves, but also by taking other littoral states on board as part of multilateral efforts towards maintenance of maritime order.
The agreement reached between the Malaysian, Indonesian and Singaporean navies on the conduct of joint anti-piracy patrols in the Malacca Straits is an example of progress in increasing maritime cooperation. India has also been asked to help in this task.27 The establishment of joint maritime centers (JMCs) at important ports and near ocean choke points would prove to be a milestone towards this type of maritime cooperation. The sea may bring together like-minded countries that in turn may influence the region's strategic perceptions. Indeed, to quote the old saying: "the sea unites while the land divides."
1 Rahul Roy Chowdhury, "India's Maritime Security" (Knowledge World, New Delhi, June 2000) p.30.
2 India's economy grew by 8.4% in the second quarter of 2003-04 and a phenomenal 10.4% in its third quarter. It has a FE reserve of about US$119 billion (as of Jul 3, 2004) in comparison to US$1billion in 1991. Its stock sensex crossed an all time high of 6000 pts in early 2004, showing tremendous investor confidence. In the first quarter of 2004 the Indian economy grew by about 8.2%. However, some estimates for 2004 predict a steady growth of + 7%.
3 P. K. Ghosh, "Let Indian Ocean Unite the Rim", The Financial Express, December 12, 2000. Also see ibid pp 33-35.
4 P. K. Ghosh, "The Maritime Dimension", in "Oil and Gas in India's Security" Ed Jasjit Singh (Knowledge World New Delhi July 2001).
5 International Maritime Organisation, "Reports on Acts of Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships- Annual Report 2002," dated 17 April 2003, available in pdf at http//
6 MV Alondra Rainbow, a 7,000-ton Panama-registered vessel belonging to Japanese owners was hijacked. The vessel was en route from Kuala Tanjung, Indonesia to Milke in Japan. The Piracy Reporting Center of the International Maritime Bureau had announced through a worldwide broadcast that pirates had captured the vessel. After a high-speed chase and drama it was finally captured by Indian Naval ship INS Praha.r
7 See "Hunt for 20 terror ships", The Observer International, London, December 23, 2001.
8 See "Inside the Ring",
9 See ‘Containerisation’, From vessels that used to carry 226 TEU’s (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units) in 1957, there are today vessels that can carry 6,600 TEUs. Maersk Sealand alone has approximately 21 vessels that can carry over 6,000 TEUs. Their "S"-Class Post Panamax vessels can carry 6,600 TEU’s. Other lines having over 6,000 TEU vessels in their fleet are MSC, P&ONL Hanjin, Hyundai Merchant Marine, and CMA-CGM. The world fleet at present consists of 32 vessels of 6,000 TEUs and above, with another 40 in the order books and many more to follow.
10 According to United States custom authorities, only 2 per cent of the cargo containers that enter seaports each day are inspected as cited in "Port of Entry Now Means Point of Anxiety," The New York Times, December 23, 2001.
11 "U.S. Ports Represent Weakness in Nation’s Defenses, Analyses Shows,",12044,FL_ports_103001,00.html
12 For details see "Container Security Initiative" at United States Customs and Border Protection website:
13 "Killing Of Sea Bird Not A Big Blow to LTTE Shipping Operations", The Sunday Times, February 1996.
14 Ibid.
15 "What are FOCs: A brief guide to flags of convenience",
16 For a detailed treatment see B. Raman, "Control of Transnational Crime and war against Terrorism" Indian Defence Review, Apr- Jun 2002, Vol 17(2).
17 P. K. Ghosh n.3. Also see UN Report on "Trafficking scene in South and South West Asia", Chapter 4 available at and Dr. Nihar Ranjan Das "Narco-Politics and Islamic Society: A Case Study of Pakistan" Jan 08 2004, available at
18 David Capie "Small Arms Production Transfers in South East Asia," Canberra Papers on Strategy and Defence No.146, 2002, p.20.
19 Research Report on "Combating Illicit Light Weapons Trafficking: Developments and Opportunities," British American Security Information Council, London January 1998.
20 The effect of an LPG tanker blast is yet to be fully understood and is still under study. See Jerry Havens "Ready to Blow" Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, July/August 2003, pp. 16-18.
21 For a more detailed perspective on the strategic and other implications of Sino Indian naval exercises see P. K. Ghosh, "Indo China Exercises: Unlikely Mates" at Asia Times Online, Nov 19, 2003, available at .
22 See Vijay Sakhuja, "Naval Diplomacy: Indian Initiatives" BHARAT RAKSHAK MONITOR Volume 6(1) Jul-Aug 2003.
23 Intelligence Pointers, Janes' Intelligence Digest, April 12, 2002.
24 R.K. Radhakrishnan, "Indo-U.S. joint naval exercises conclude," The Hindu, Saturday Jul 12, 2003.
25 Paul J Smith and Don Berlin, "Transnational Security Threats in Asia," Conference Report, Asia Pacific Centre.
26 See P. K. Ghosh n.3
27 Earlier a joint anti-piracy, anti narco-terrorism patrol of the Indian Ocean had been agreed to in principle between Singapore, Australia, Thailand and the Philippines, to which India was also "invited". (See Shisir Gupta, "Delhi gets Indian Ocean coalition to guard the seas," Indian Express Mar 16, 2004). However, later reports suggest that Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore have signed an accord to implement anti-piracy patrols in the Malacca Straits (see "South East Asian Navies to Patrol Malacca Straits" The Strait Times, June 29, 2004). India was again invited to join this group at the ARF meeting held in July 2004.