India’s border conflict with China is pushing New Delhi to look for an asymmetric answer: bending its naval power as it deepens cooperation with other democracies seeking to oppose Beijing’s global ambitions.
India, which operates one of the world’s largest navies, is located by sea in the Indian Ocean, which connects China with its main oil and gas sources in the Middle East and key markets in Europe. Although growing rapidly, China’s navy still has only a limited ability to operate in a region far from its home shores – and has to fight the United States in its own backyard.
“At the northern border, the best we can hope for is to achieve a stalemate. But at sea we have an advantage over the Chinese, “said retired Admiral Arun Prakash, a former commander of the Indian Navy. “The display of force at sea may send a message to China that you are vulnerable, that we may interfere with your shipping and Chinese energy supplies. Their economy will be shaken. “
India is stepping up joint naval maneuvers with the United States and its allies, while building new ships and building a network of coastal outposts that would allow New Delhi to monitor maritime traffic in the Indian Ocean.
Historically, the Indian military has focused on long land borders with other nuclear powers Pakistan and China. The country̵