The Story of India's Bid for Regional Leadership
Routledge – 2014 – 228 pages
This book assesses India’s role as a major power in the Indian Ocean. Many see the Indian Ocean as naturally falling within India’s sphere of influence but, as this book demonstrates, India has a long way to go before it could achieve regional dominance. The book outlines the development of Indian thinking on its role in the Indian Ocean and examines India’s strategic relationships in the region, including with maritime South Asia, the Indian Ocean islands, East Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Australia. The book then discusses India’s ambivalent relationship with the United States and explores its attitude towards China’s growing power in the Indian Ocean. It concludes by discussing the region’s evolving strategic order – does India have what it takes to become the leading power in the region?
'What happens in the Indian Ocean will define India’s strategic future, and that in turn will do a great deal to set Asia’s course in the Asian Century. David Brewster gives us a perfect guide to the forces shaping India’s role in the Ocean that bears its name. It is a lucid, lively, comprehensive and judicious account of one of the central strategic questions of our times.' – Professor Hugh White, Australian National University
'A knowledgeable India hand, David Brewster explores India's maritime ambitions and provides an incisive assessment of its potential to wield influence across the Indian Ocean region. Amidst current speculation about turbulent regional geopolitics, this Antipodean study illuminates a zone of uncertainty and holds a mirror to Indians, laypersons and strategic thinkers alike.' – Admiral Arun Prakash (Retd), Chief of Naval Staff, Indian Navy 2004-06
'It is fashionable for strategic analysts to claim to understand India’s growing role and the increasing centrality of the Indian Ocean as a zone of geopolitical competition. It is also easy to assert that India’s domestic problems and troubled neighbourhood will forever hobble its maritime ambitions. In this book, David Brewster offers a convincing and carefully-researched alternative – outlining a realistic trajectory for India as an Indian Ocean power. In so doing he explains the power relationships and the subregional dynamics that will determine how smooth or otherwise this course will be. This book fills an important gap for scholars and policymakers striving to understand how India will affect the Indo-Pacific strategic order in the 21st century.' – Rory Medcalf, Director, International Security Program, Lowy Institute, Australia
'This is an excellent contribution to understanding the power dynamics in the Indian Ocean, the bridge between Europe and Asia. It brings out the centrality of this ocean region - the new global centre of trade and energy flows - and the key role India will play in influencing the regional order.' –Brahma Chellaney, Professor of Strategic Studies, Centre for Policy Research, India
1. The Indian Ocean as a strategic entity 2. The evolution of Indian strategic thinking about the Indian Ocean 3. Strategic competition with China in the IOR 4. Strategic competition and cooperation with the United States in the IOR 5. India’s special role in the Southwest Indian Ocean 6. India’s opportunities in East Africa and the Northwest Indian Ocean 7. India in the Northeast Indian Ocean 8. India and Australia in the Indian Ocean 9. India as an Indian Ocean power
David Brewster, a former mergers and acquisitions lawyer, is a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University and has written extensively on India's international relations.