The article argues that geopolitics is a major obstacle to an effective Indian policy on substantive maritime governance. It holds that India’s involvement in maritime governance is predominantly shaped by geopolitics and driven by two geopolitical concerns, Delhi’s drive to counter China’s expanding influence in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and India’s pursuit of leadership in that region. This emphasis on geopolitics is perfectly reasonable from India’s perspective but comes at the cost of constraining Delhi’s maritime governance policy and reducing India’s ability to address substantive maritime governance issues. Hence, India’s focus on geopolitics undermines substantive maritime governance. The focus on geopolitics negatively impacts substantive maritime governance because it: 1) leads India to oppose China’s involvement in IOR’s maritime governance; 2) creates bureaucratic obstacles to India’s substantive maritime governance; 3) constrains Delhi’s ability to concentrate its substantive maritime governance efforts.
- Indian Ocean
- Maritime governance