i. Presence of big powers in Indian Ocean area
ii. Military base at Diego Garcia-America
iii. Soviet Ships armed with Nuclear Weapons
iv. Chinese presence at Cocco Islands
v. French intervention from T. Union Island.
2. Various Measures:
Efforts at declaring Indian Ocean a ‘Peace Zone’ include
i. 1964-Sri Lanka suggested for it-NAM summit
ii. 1970-NAM summit at Lusaka
iii. 1971-UN-General Assembly adopted a resolution
iv. 1993-UN-General Assembly passed the resolution
3. Basis of India’s claim:
India took upon itself the task of ensuring peace in Indian Ocean area because
i. It is a South Asia country, surrounded by Indian – Ocean on two sides.
ii. It is in line with India’s policy of non-alignment and peaceful co-existence.
iii. It may create a situation of arms race and fearless among the countries lying in the vicinity of military bases or site of confrontations.
iv. It threatens the territorial integrity and sovereignty of neighboring countries.
4. Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Co-operation:
In recent times Mauritius along with India and thirteen other states formed “Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional co-operation” to promote cooperation among the countries lying in the zone. It has been named M.T signifying the number of founding members. Its major objectives are
i. To promote the welfare and living standard.
ii. To promote sustainable development.
iii. To enhance economic cooperation.
iv. To help on knowledge front.
v. To increase communication.
vi. To promote trade and commerce.
India’s commitment to declare Indian Ocean as a peace zone is a hyphen that joins its commitment to sovereign equality of all states. In this endeavor, it has garnered the third world solidarity. But, the big powers are reluctant to accept Indian demands.
They are not only apprehensive of Indian stand but are fearful of losing strategic leverage. They have continuously postponed conferences and meetings in this regard. But, they have realized the strengths of Afro-Asian countries. A combined effort and systematic bargaining has a role to play in this regard. So India will have to continue to play a big role for the time to come.