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Wading out to Sea: The Evolution of India and Indonesia’s Naval Mindset towards Multilateralism

This Paper examines the evolution of India and Indonesia's military strategic mindset, from inward-looking powers to budding naval powers. It asserts that the two countries will have "no choice but to cast aside the antiquated aspects of non-alignment and move toward a more pragmatic approach to foreign policy, based on multilateralism."

Source Image: Wading out to Sea: The Evolution of India and Indonesia’s Naval Mindset towards Multilateralism

As the global focus moves from West to East, and a military emphasis shifts from land to sea, the importance of the security of the Indo-Pacific waters has risen to the forefront of various Indian Ocean Region (IOR) States' strategic thinking. This interest can be largely viewed through the lens of the intersecting maritime “mental maps”2   of  both  India  and  China,  an intersection that is bridged by the Indonesian archipelago. As various actors begin to question the potential repercussions of China's rise, particularly from a naval perspective, the actions of key emerging players are worth noting—specifically India and Indonesia. Both countries locations as pivotal littoral States, coupled with their desire to be global players, make them important swing States in the emerging international system.

Despite their geopolitical location, the strategic mindsets of Indonesia and India have not always had a naval focus. Arguably, the “mental maps” generated by Indonesia and India throughout the past have been inward looking. Due in part to their historical legacy of post-colonial unrest and ethnic and religious insurgencies, India and Indonesia post independence have been inward oriented states, exhibiting a certain “sea-blindness4. This is not to say that India and Indonesia were unwilling to look outward. Both engaged in power politics, but from an inward oriented mindset. Regardless of their positions as founding members of the non-aligned movement, both were willing to partner or pursue their interests on the international political stage when they felt their continentalist interests were at stake.


This Paper examines the evolution of India and Indonesia's military strategic mindset, from inward-looking powers to budding naval powers,5 while also charting this historical evolution. As the equilibrium of the international system is once again in a flux with the rise of China, and with India and Indonesia's desire to become global players, this Paper asserts that the two countries will have no choice but to cast aside the antiquated aspects of non-alignment and move toward a more pragmatic approach to

foreign  policy,  based  on  multilateralism.6

As multilateralism becomes a defining aspect of the international system, to what extent will their doctrines of strategic autonomy help or hinder their interests abroad?
Budding Maritime Powers: The Development of an 'Outward-looking' Mindset

Internal Consolidation

From  the  time  independence  was  declared  in Indonesia  in  19457 and subsequently in India in 1947, both States have grappled with various endogenous forces of unrest. Ethnic, religious, economic and ideological strife has frequently led to inner turmoil that demanded governmental emphasis on internal consolidation even amidst external security threats. Both Indonesia and India, albeit with structural differences, utilized their armies as forces for state consolidation in the wake of more forceful calls for autonomy among various separatist groups.


Indonesia's 'Inward-looking' Mindset

The creation of the Indonesian archipelagic State, comprised of 17,508 islands8 stretching from the conservative, oil-rich tip of Northern Sumatra, Aceh, in the East, to the scarcely populated and animist province of West Papua (formerly Irian Jaya) in the West, has since its inception been plagued by internal strife.


From the outset of independence, Dar'ul Islam, an Islamic movement under Kartosuwirjo, in West Java, continuously defied the Indonesian central government, extending at its peak to Central Java, Aceh, and South Sulawesi. While the Kartosuwirjo state never held much clout outside of its West Java stronghold, the armed forces invested considerable resources in suppressing the insurgency; Kartosuwirjo was captured by 1962. The repression of Dar'ul Islam by the armed forces structurally embedded the army in the infrastructure of the State, ensuring their enduring centrality in governmental decision-making.


However,  notwithstanding  the  presence of   internal  strife,  Sukarno9 engaged in a konfrontasi 10 against Malaysia between 1963 and 1966 over the formation of a Malaysian federation. While there are several different interpretations regarding Sukarno's choice to engage in cross-border military operations, the most convincing argument postulates that Sukarno wanted to create a 'greater Indonesia' by incorporating the Northern Borneo territories into the Indonesian island of Kalimantan. Thus, from the  outset   Sukarno's   strategic   outlook  was   land-based.11 As the confrontation escalated, however, Indonesia began launching raids into Singapore and the Malaysian peninsula. In 1965, internal unrest within Indonesia again erupted, placing Sukarno in a weakened position—he was engaged in military campaigns on both “external” and “internal” fronts. The military, while firmly entrenched in the State, staged a coup, removed Sukarno from power and replaced him with National Army General Suharto.12

From  then  on,  two  doctrines13 guided the Indonesian armed forces, dwifungsi, the 'dual function' of the army, that allowed the military to run the State while also ensuring its security, and Ketahanan Nasional or 'national resilience' which was originally declared the national security doctrine in 1973. Removing the focus from external threats and security concerns, Ketahanan Nasional, prioritized internal security through economic and social development.14


In 1976, at the Bali Summit, President Suharto reiterated the inward- looking doctrine of the armed forces, and more importantly the Indonesian State, by stating, “Our concept of security is inward-looking, namely to establish an orderly, peaceful, and stable condition within each territory, free from subversive elements and infiltration, wherever their origins  may  be.15 While his statement can be attributed to the anti-Chinese16 and anti-communist sentiment and paranoia that marked his government, it is also highly indicative of the subsurface detachment that many territories felt towards Jakarta.17

The fall of Suharto in 1998 brought the disconnect between various territories and the central government to a head. Severe economic and political chaos crippled Indonesia, rendering the central government in Jakarta largely ineffective. Guerilla movements against the State, a pestilence to Suharto's three-decade rule, intensified. The compilation of the Free Aceh Movement in Aceh to the West and the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (FRETILIN) and Free Papua Movement (OPM) for Iriana Jaya in the East caused the military to subsume an expansive role in internal security, ranging from policing and the declaration of emergency rule in Aceh, to at times committing various human rights atrocities, extrajudicial executions, torture, and forced starvation in East Timor. From 1998 to 2005, in the face of rising insurrections, the Indonesian government's, and by virtue of its entrenchment in the institutional architecture of the State, the armed forces', main focus was the maintenance of a unitary Indonesian State. Indonesia's security policy continued to be entirely inward focused.


India's “Land-based” Mindset

India, like Indonesia, “is an immensely diverse country with many distinct pursuits, vastly disparate convictions, widely divergent customs and a veritable feast of viewpoints.18  The vast Indian State, after the precipitous withdrawal of the British, has been a breeding ground of turmoil since independence and Partition in 1947. From the Northeast states of Nagaland and Mizoram to Jammu and Kashmir in the Northwest, the Indian armed forces have had to quell discontent in order to maintain a unified Indian state.19 Internal security has consumed the Indian military.


The continentalist mindset of the Indian armed forces, however, predates independence. The British government developed a land-based defence 

strategy during the Raj. Previous threats to the Indian State, barring the maritime encroachments of  the Europeans, had been land offensives.20 After independence, the Indian government maintained a continentalist approach to security.


“In 1938 Nehru wrote that India did not face any significant military challenge, and that the only military role he saw for the Indian Army was in suppressing  the tribes  of  the  North  West  Frontier province.21

Post-independence India's sense of security was durably shattered by the Chinese offensive across the disputed Sino-Indian border, which only served to sustain and reinforce traditional continentalist threat perceptions. The external threats independent India faced were, and for the most part have remained, land-based.22   India fought three wars with Pakistan, two within Kashmir, and one, in former East Pakistan, in addition to the notorious Kargil Conflict in 1999 that brought South Asia to the brink of nuclear war.23


While structurally the Indian armed forces are not embedded in the architecture of the government, nor do they maintain decision-making authority like the Indonesian military, the challenges from land-based threats reduced the salience of the Navy in Delhi's national security calculus. Historically, the navy has been the smallest of the three branches consuming on average 11-14 per cent of the defence budget and reaching a nadir of 3 pre cent during the Sino-Indian war.24


This can be contrasted to the army and air force's average allocation of the defence budget  at  over  51  per  cent  and  28 per  cent  respectively.25 Furthermore, as Winner notes, “the ocean's relative absence in official Indian pronouncements on foreign policy and national security policy, offers a useful window into India's land-centric view of the world26. While Winner advocates the emergence of an outward-looking naval world-view, he recognizes that this has been limited to a select few maritime strategic thinkers.


So long as insurgency and homegrown terrorism—as the recent Mumbai bombings illustrate—continue to dominate the headlines, the army will continue to carry a position of relative inter-service strength. The Indian government since its birth has had to fight a major insurgency struggle every decade, at times, such as in the 90s, three—Punjab, Kashmir, and the Northeast—at once. In a country that is internally wrought with tension it is only natural that the Indian State would have maintained an “inward- looking” mindset.


The abiding paradox of Indonesian and Indian strategic culture is that both nations vaunt expansive coastlines and large exclusive economic zones (EEZs). The Indonesian archipelagic coastline stretches from the tip of the Andaman Sea, through the Malacca Strait to the South China Sea, and further, past the Java and Banda Sea to the Pacific Ocean. India's coastline, beginning in the Arabian Sea, jets out over 1000 miles into the depths of the Indian Ocean, beyond the Bay of Bengal and onto the island chain within the Andaman Sea.


As Indonesia and India's geopolitical positions rise at the confluence of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, their capacity to maintain a strict continentalist approach27   will be challenged. While both states seek to become global players, their ability to influence events on the international stage will be judged by their capability to un-tether themselves from their inward- looking mindsets and instead cast their gazes outward to the wide oceanic expanses.


The Beginnings of an 'Outward-looking' Maritime Mindset

The geopolitical significance of Indonesia and India's maritime locations is without question. Located amidst some of the busiest sea-lanes in the world, both Indonesia and India have begun to look beyond their shores, casting their lines into the open oceans that press against them.


Indonesia's Budding Naval Capability

With the cessation of major internal strife within Indonesia, the Indonesian armed forces, while still in many ways embedded in the government, have begun to seek reforms in order to accommodate a larger set of strategic interests.


In 2004, the newly elected Indonesian parliament dissolved the Indonesian military's dual function, dwifungsi. The armed forces, while still politically influential, were no longer tightly enmeshed within the government.29  This reform was subsequently followed up by the 2007 alteration of the Indonesian's armed forces (TNI) military doctrine from four forces, Catur Dharma Eka Karma, to three forces, Tri Dharma Eka Karma.30 Previously the armed forces were comprised of four elements: the army, navy, air force, and police force. The alteration of the Indonesian government's doctrine placed internal security within the hands of the police force, while also removing policing from the military apparatus. The TNI's focus switched to the defence of state sovereignty and territorial integrity through the use of force projection strategies emphasizing 'deterrence' and 'denial' capabilities.31 The Indonesian military's historic doctrine had been based on the conception that Indonesia would maintain peaceful relations with its neighbours; therefore, the prime mission of the military was to ensure internal security. However, with the change of doctrine came the implicit 

acknowledgment by the Indonesian elites that the international system was in flux. They no longer could ensure peace would prevail in state-to-state relations.


Despite the armed forces' implicit acknowledgment of the need to look outward, and various political officials' explicit statements,32 this has not yet translated into naval development. The Indonesian government is still reeling  from  the  1997  financial  crisis  and  poverty  is  widespread.33 Indonesian government spending towards defence accounts for just 1.8 per cent of GDP.34 As the recent Indonesian Secretary of Defence, Juwono Sudarsono, stated in an interview with Kaplan, “The strategy of the Indonesian military is one of 'patience': hold the lines while a middle class develops further, providing the tax revenue for a larger military, especially a navy; in the meantime, continue to participate in the UN peacekeeping operations to raise its international stature, and thus be morally defended by  the   international   community.35 With the Indonesian economy experiencing over 6 per cent GDP growth in the second quarter of 2010, one of the few countries to experience growth throughout the global recession, this may not seem like such a bleak diagnosis. However, an assessment of the Indonesian navy's current inventory suggests otherwise.


Figure 1 depicts the readiness level of TNI naval armaments in 2009. A vast majority of the naval armaments are inoperable and in need of significant repairs.36 Furthermore, despite Indonesia's location at key submarine chokepoints,  Indonesia  possesses   only   two  Cakra  Class/U209 submarines  in  its  fleet.37 Of these only one is operable. The other experiences safety problems due to the “repeated hydraulic squeezing from ascending  and  descending38 placed on the pressure hull. Since 2007, Indonesia has expressed interest in purchasing 3-6 replacement submarines, particularly the Russian Kilo class submarine; however, as Rizal Darmaputra, an Indonesian military analyst, noted, “budget issues often prevent the military from acquiring needed equipment”.39


Additionally, regardless of the relative peace that has prevailed in Indonesia since 2004, the military budget is still largely skewed in favour of the army. Figure 2 depicts the budget allocation of the Indonesian armed forces in per cent of gross national GDP. Indonesia still maintains an inward- looking mindset, although the Indonesian elites are beginning to acknowledge the necessity of looking outward to sea. Indonesia has a long way to go to develop into a budding naval power, thus, taking its place as a leading custodian of the Malacca Straits.


Figure 1: The Readiness Level of TNI Naval Armaments in 200940

Figure 2: Allocation of Defence Budget as Percentage of Overall GDP41

The Development of India's Maritime Mindset

India, in spite of its continentalist mindset, has maintained a strong historical maritime tradition.42   British India, during the time of  the Raj, managed an empire that extended “from the Swahili coasts to the Persian Gulf and eastwards to the Straits of Malacca.43  However, after the British granted India independence, India turned inward and looked instead to consolidate the State. The 1991 economic reforms, which liberalized the Indian economy and the declaration of an Indian “Look East” policy, forced the Indian elite to look outward. Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee in 2007 highlighted this change in strategic direction by stating: “after nearly a millennia of inward and landward focus, we are once again turning our gaze outwards and seawards, which is the natural direction of view for a nation seeking to re-establish itself, not simply as a continental power, but even more so as a maritime power, and consequently as one that is of  significance on the world stage.44   It is not surprising then, given Mukherjee's statement, that the Indian Ministry of  Defence describes 

India's security environment as extending from the Persian Gulf in the West across the expanse of the Indian Ocean to the Straits of Malacca in the East.45   More recently, India's 2009 Maritime Doctrine added the South China Sea to its zones of strategic interest.


India's naval modernization towards a “blue water” navy began in the mid- 1990s. From 2001 to 2005, the armed forces' budget grew at 5 per cent annually and subsequently between 2005 and 2010 at 10 per cent. The navy's share of the defence budget grew from 11 per cent in 1992/1993 to 18 per cent in 2008/2009.46   In 2008, Admiral Mehta outlined the navy's maritime vision: “by 2022, we plan to have a 160-plus ship navy, including three aircraft carriers, 60 major combatants, including submarines, and close to 400 aircraft of  different types.47   The renewed naval focus has yielded some results. India's navy, the world's 5th  largest, has made strides, albeit at times half-heartedly, in its power projection, sea control and sea denial capabilities.


India's capacity to project power abroad is contingent on India's fleet of aircraft carriers. India currently possesses one aircraft carrier, the 45-year- old British made INS Viraat, which is to be replaced by the Russian Admiral Gorshkov by 2013. The Admiral Gorshkov, a 44,500-ton capital ship, which will be renamed the INS Vikramaditya will have “three times the operational radius of  the Viraat,48  with a range of  14,000 nautical miles, carrying 16 new MiG-29K aircraft, as well as a variety of Kamov-28 and Kamov-31 helicopters. In addition to the INS Vikramaditya, the Indian Navy is currently constructing for release in 2014 its own indigenous aircraft carrier, the IAC. The 37,000-ton, IAC49 will be fitted with 16 fighter aircrafts and 20 aircrafts. Complementing the IAC, and providing the navy with its third aircraft carrier, the second indigenous aircraft carrier, the 50,000-ton IAC-II will undergo construction shortly after the launch of the IAC. The three aircraft carriers will be rotated to protect each of India's seaboards given the long periods of maintenance aircraft carriers require at berth.50


Key to India's sea control and sea denial capabilities is the navy's submarine flotilla. While India does have the capacity to boast an indigenously designed and manufactured nuclear submarine, India's overall submarine fleet is lacking in operational effectiveness. The Indian navy currently possesses 10 Russian-built Kilo class boats and four German Type-1500's performing at an operational readiness rate of 50 per cent. The submarine fleet is being upgraded with the introduction of the Russian-developed Klub naval cruise missile and the phased 2013 to 2017 introduction of six French Scorpene diesel-electric submarines, which will have the capacity to launch Klub and Exocet anti-ship missiles.51


Yet, despite the Indian Navy's ambitious plans for modernization, its goals remain more aspirational then realistic. Regardless of some naval progress, India is still mired in counter-insurgency conflicts in the North and East of the state, and has yet to find an adequate response to the Naxalite rebellion that covers much of its territory.


The army still consumes over 50 per cent of the defence budget attempting to end the discord, and it is likely this trend will continue. More importantly, as Arun Prakesh has argued, the “prosaic logic underpinning maritime growth” is that the Indian nation is struggling to raise a half billion people above the poverty line, these people have demands on resources and the quest for maritime “hegemony is the last thing on their minds.52   Until India, like Indonesia, can come to terms with the internal problems that continue to plague the State, the Indian Navy's capacity to become a true maritime power will be stunted.

Both Indonesia and India aspire to great power status—India as a major emerging power with sights set on UN Security Council membership and Indonesia as the lone Southeast Asian member of the G20. However, both Indonesia and India have histories that are marked by internal strife and conflict and suffer from endemic poverty and creaking infrastructure. As the two states seek to become major actors within the newly emerging international system, naval power could effectively liberate them from being held hostage as land powers.53  The major question is whether they both have the capacity to overcome the irritants that have kept their gaze locked inwards.

From Non-Alignment to 'Multi-Alignment'

At the Asian-African Conference in Bandung, Indonesia in 1955, Nehru emphasised Panchsheel—five principles for peaceful coexistence. These five principles formed the basis of the non-aligned movement whose leaders formally met for the first time at a summit in Brioni, Yugoslavia in 1961.54


The five principles are:

1.                       Mutual respect for each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty

2.                       Mutual non-aggression

3.                       Mutual non-interference in each other's internal affairs

4.                       Equality and mutual benefit

5.                       Peaceful co-existence


In essence, the non-aligned movement was a direct response to the dismantling of the imperialist system and the bipolar nature of the Cold War international system that emerged out of it. The founding members of the non-aligned movement sought to restructure the international order creating a “zone of peace.” As Rasheeduddin Khan states, “It's prefix 'Non' 

is indeed the sine qua non of non-alignment's primordial opposition to military-blocs, arms race and bifurcation of the world into two compartments.56 Indonesia and India were eager to use non-alignment as a foreign policy framework. Non-alignment allowed the two states to avoid embroilment in Cold War animosities, asserting their own national sovereignty and developing a unifying discourse of national development.


In Robert Rothstein's analyses of  small powers and alliances,57  Rothstein highlights that “foreign policy, except when the new state perceives a direct external threat…tends to be a residual category, dominated not only by domestic politics but also by rhetorical and ideological preoccupations.58 In essence, foreign policy becomes an instrument of domestic policy. In Indonesia and India, post-colonial unrest threatened to fragment the states. Anti-colonialism and non-alignment helped build solidarity among the newly independent countries and consolidate national unity. However, to say that Indonesia and India strictly followed a doctrine of active neutrality in order to specifically engage domestic policy would be a myth. Both Indonesia and India, in spite of being members of the non-aligned movement, at various points post independence “aligned” with various states or played “power politics” to their advantage. As noted earlier, within Indonesia, this can be notably highlighted by its confrontation with Malaya in Borneo in the 1960s. Furthermore, Sukarno's close relationship to Nyoto, a pro Beijing PKI leader, was partly responsible for Indonesia's close relationship with China during the 1960s.


However, Suharto's suspicion towards potential Chinese complicity in the 1965 attempted coup caused Indonesia to swing away from Beijing and towards the West during the New Order, labeling Beijing as its primary military threat.59

India's hesitation in condemning the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956 highlighted the difficulty in remaining actively neutral. The 1962 Chinese invasion of India, however, dealt the biggest blow to non-alignment. Nehru had invested considerable capital in the Sino-Indian friendship. The humiliating war of 1962 brought Nehru's efforts to create an Asian “zone of peace” to a standstill. India was forced into external dependencies, turning first to the United States and other Western powers; but ultimately to the USSR.60


As the late K. Subrahmanyam observed in February, 2011 on Nehru's 1962 appeal to Kennedy for air support, “The crux of non-alignment is that this country does not get involved in some other power's antagonism and it does not mean that we sacrifice our national security by keeping away from other powers when our national security interest necessitates our dealing with them.61  To characterize non-alignment as “dead” would be to view non-alignment with an etymological narrowness that does not come to grips with the phenomena that non-alignment created and has become. Facets of non-alignment, like the need to create a “zone of peace” and prevent arms build-ups, are indeed antiquated within the current global system.


However, the main ideology behind non-alignment, as Subrahmanyam highlighted, is still very much alive. Perhaps then, non-alignment as it is used today is a misnomer. What indeed Indonesia and India are pursuing is multilateralism62 within a framework of strategic autonomy.


Multilateralism via Joint Naval Exercises: The China Factor


Indonesia and India are not the only “land-oriented” states that have taken a turn to sea. China, historically a continentalist power, has turned its gaze 

outwards. China's military rise is placing the geopolitical system within Asia in a flux. Indonesia and India, while staying true to their historical legacy of strategic autonomy, will have to embrace multilateralism as a means of controlling and integrating China's naval rise within the current international system.


The Rise of China: Indonesian and Indian Scepticism


Despite the secretive nature of the People Liberation Army's (PLA) defence plans, Beijing has been in the process of crafting a “sophisticated, long-term strategy aimed in part at securing its maritime position.63 In June of last year, the head of the Chinese PLA General Army, General Chen Bingde, confirmed that the Chinese were in the final stages of remodeling the Soviet Varyag aircraft carrier, long held as China's worst kept” secret.64 Along with the aircraft carrier, over the past decade, the PLA Navy has upgraded its flotilla with five new classes of modern, conventional and


nuclear   submarines.65

Beijing is also reportedly in the process of


manufacturing its own indigenous anti-ship ballistic missile, which could arguably change the maritime dynamic in the Asian-Pacific.66


Apart from China's expansive naval build-up, China's “Far Sea Defense Strategy,” outlined by the deputy commander of the East Sea Fleet, Rear Admiral Zhang Huachen, in April of 2010, lends credence to Indian naval strategists' fears of a Chinese 'string of pearls'. According to the “Far Sea Defense Strategy,” the PLA Navy plans to construct new support bases, strengthening the PLA Navy's shore-based support system.67  This power projection strategy fits within Indian and Indonesian fears of Chinese maritime expansionism. India fears Chinese encirclement via a 'string of pearls'68  strategy. This 'string of  pearls' beginning in the East at the Switte naval  base  in  Myanmar  extends  to  the  Chittagong  deep-sea  port in 

Bangladesh, in through the Humbantota port project in Sri Lanka, and finally reaches its clasp in Pakistan's developing deep-sea port, Gwadar. While many have argued that the 'string of pearls' is not a cogent national PLA strategy due to its absence in the Beijing doctrine, strategic communications, and official statements, the PLA's plan to secure support bases in the Indian Ocean could be considered a harbinger for future Chinese activity in the region.69


While there has been an easing of tensions with the Chinese, Indonesia still


harbours  deep  seeded  suspicions  about  Chinese  intentions.70

In March


2010, Beijing indicated that the South China Sea would be moved to a “core interest” placing it on equal footing with Taiwan, and Tibet (although the Chinese government has not officially confirmed this).71


China has “historical claims” to over 80 per cent of the South China Sea,72 and in 1993 released historical maps that placed a portion of Indonesia's


EEZ  off  the  Natuna  Islands,  within  those  claims.73

The EEZ dispute


intensified with the detainment of 75 Chinese fishermen off the coast of the Natuna Islands in 2009. While recently, however, China has not made any further claims to Indonesia's EEZ or Indonesia's hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation in the area, there remains a degree of concern. Outside of conflicts surrounding Indonesia's EEZ, Indonesia as de-facto leader of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has reason to be wary of Chinese expansionism in light of recent territorial spats between the Chinese, Vietnamese, and Philippines.


Balancing the Chinese through Multilateralism: An Examination of MALABAR


While there have been attempts at naval bonding throughout the Indo- Pacific region, no true “vibrant trans-oceanic community74  has emerged. 

As both India and Indonesia are dependent on the free passage of traffic throughout the Indian Ocean and various choke points—Straits of Hormuz, Malacca, and the Lombok and Sunda Straits—maintaining the status quo of freedom of access and passage within the oceans and the sea lanes of communications (SLOCs) becomes paramount.


Joint naval exercises provide one means to embed China within a multilateral naval framework.75  For navies that suffer from funding deficits, like India and Indonesia, bilateral and multilateral joint naval exercises, based on mutual interests, enhance interoperability and political confidence, while also exposing the navies to the latest technologies and tactics. However, joint naval exercises play a larger geopolitical role—they generate elasticity between participatory states and also can be used as a form of signalling towards potentially rogue States.


Indonesia and India have engaged in confidence building naval exercises within multilateral and bilateral frameworks in recent years. Multilaterally, Indonesia hosted the MOMEX/DIVEX exercises with Singapore in conjunction with 16 other navies, participated in the CARAT exercises along with Bangladesh, Brunei, and Cambodia and holds an observer place in Pacific Reach featuring Japan, Korea, Singapore and the US with Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Russia, and the UK also observing. Bilaterally, Indonesia has engaged in naval exercises with Australia, Thailand, the Philippines, the US, China, India, Pakistan, and Singapore. India's multilateral engagements range from taking the lead in IONS (the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium)76  and MILAN (Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Singapore) to the BSAMAR (Brazil and South Africa) and MALABAR exercises among others. Bilaterally, India has engaged in naval exercises, with, but not limited to, the French, British, Russia, Singaporean, Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Vietnamese, Indonesia, Persian, Saudi, German, and Omani navies.

It is interesting to note that India's policy of naval engagement with great powers such as the US differs slightly from that of regional powers. During discussions, a former US official noted that Indian officials seem to have a cap on the number of bilateral naval exercises that they can hold with the US per year. The official postulated that exercises outside of MALABAR


are  then  selected  at  random  based  on  that  cap.77

This “cap” could


hypothetically exist because of Indian fears that an over-engagement with the US could signal a loss in strategic autonomy. Regardless of whether such a cap exists or not, India does have an active record of naval engagement with the United States, among other 'great-powers' such as the UK and France. It currently seems to early to say whether Indonesia also has such a policy, given that the country has not yet developed the naval soft-power that India possesses.




The MALABAR-2007 exercises between India, the US, Singapore, Australia, and Japan, which included over 26 vessels and 200 aircrafts, both air and sea, was a manifestation of the growing strategic convergence among multiple States within the Indian Ocean. While some emphasis was placed on disaster relief and rescue missions, the war games focused on dissimilar air combat, interception of shore-based aircraft, air defence of warships, and surface and anti-submarine operations, using air assets to hunt down the USS Chicago. Previously a bilateral exercise, the multilateral MALABAR-2007 stretched from Vizag south to the Andaman Islands, within reach of China's monitoring station at the Coco Islands and near the Straits of Malacca. The MALABAR-2007 joint exercises sent a signal to the Chinese: the war games were a form of  'strategic deterrent'78   against future Chinese posturing.79

However, the intention of Indonesia, India and other players within the Asian-Pacific is not to exclude China from a multilateral framework, but to embed China within one. Incorporating China into a multilateral joint naval exercise like MALABAR-2007 could potentially accomplish this. The MALABAR exercises did not begin as a multilateral joint naval exercise with a focus on war-games. Instead, it began in 1992 as a bilateral joint naval exercise between the US and India, only becoming an annual exercise in 2002. MALABAR began on a basic level between the two States, focusing on manoeuvres, communication drills, underway replenishment and exchange of personnel.80  The MALABAR exercises slowly evolved and by 2003 and 2004 MALABAR included helicopter cross-deck landing, submarine operations and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and the inclusion of two American long-rang maritime patrol/ASW aircraft. 2005 saw the addition of complex aircraft carrier operations to the exercises and by 2006 a full US expeditionary strike group participated in a large-scale amphibious war-game.81  By 2007, the MALABAR exercises had become a full multilateral exercise.


If China were to be incorporated into a MALABAR-2007 type exercise, an evolution, like that of MALABAR, would need to take place. Indonesia and India have both engaged with China on a bilateral navy-to-navy basis, albeit at a basic level. In 2003, the PLA Navy held joint naval exercises with the Indian Navy off the coast of Shanghai, focusing on search and rescue drills.82  In May 2011, Indonesia and China agreed to plan coordinated sea patrols to prevent illegal fishing by Chinese fishermen in Indonesian waters.83  While these bilateral joint naval exercises are simple, they provide the foundation for larger more complex joint naval exercises. The difficulty with incorporating the Chinese into such a framework, however, is that unlike other navies within the Indo-Pacific, the Chinese lack transparency in their maritime build-up and the PLA Navy has never engaged in a real 

wartime combat situation. Countering this could take the form of granting the Chinese limited observer status at future MALABAR operations in conjunction with more simple bilateral and multilateral joint-naval exercises—the process would have to be incremental, careful, and calibrated.


Another potential scenario considering various littoral States' scepticism toward China, and what the Chinese fear most, which was highlighted so starkly by Chinese political and media commentary post MALABAR- 2007, is the emergence of  a 'concert of  democracies'84   within the Indo- Pacific. MALABAR-2007 while providing elasticity and flexibility between the participating navies sent China a signal that such a multilateral- alignment was possible, but it was dependent on Chinese future behaviour in the region.


As long as there is a lack of trust between various navies in the Indo-Pacific and China, the chances of a multilateral joint naval exercise with Chinese involvement in complex naval war-gaming emerging is unlikely. However, littoral States also do not want to appear as if they are 'bandwagoning' with the US against a Chinese rise, prematurely forming a 'concert of democracies,' and polarizing the Asian-Pacific. What seems most likely, under the current circumstances—the US' fiscal woes and Obama's preoccupation with domestic issues, which are likely to be enduring for the foreseeable future—is a greater PRC presence within the Indo-Pacific at the cost to American power. Within such a framework, it seems unlikely that the PRC would be forthcoming about cooperation in the maritime realm and consequently lukewarm in their willingness to increase naval cooperation with India or Indonesia. In this respect, leaving signalling options open via exercises like MALABAR-2007 will be fruitful to the current States involved.


Since independence, Indonesia and India have experienced periods of protracted unrest; both have fought insurgencies fuelled by secretarian desires for autonomy, driven by religious extremism, and compelled by socio-economic deprivation. The ubiquitous nature of historical counterinsurgent struggles within the two States have forced Jakarta and Delhi to look inward, adopting continentalist mindsets and turning a blind eye to the maritime expanse that lies beyond their coastlines.


However, with the onslaught of globalization, economic liberalization, and democratic reformation coupled with the rise of an expansionist China, both Indonesia and India have begun to look beyond their borders, turning their gaze outwards to sea. While both Indonesia and India face hurdles becoming naval powers—in terms of defence monetary allocation and overall government strategic thinking—both States show signs of changing; the Indonesian and Indian navies are beginning to capture the attention of decision makers.


The growing attention to naval power in both States can be accredited to their acceptance that the international system is again in a flux. Various tenets within non-alignment, which served the ideological and domestic interests of the Cold War era, are no longer relevant in the emerging balance of power system. The pervasive arms-build up and naval growth throughout the Indo-Pacific is forcing Indonesia and India to move from non-alignment to a multilateral framework within the framework of strategic autonomy.


The question then, for further research, is to what degree should strategic autonomy affect their budding naval relationships? Indonesia and India do not want to be pawns in the animosities of great powers—whether it be the Cold War rivalry of the US and the Soviet Union, or the emerging rivalry of the US and China—nor do they want to be junior partners in a newly emerging international order. Indonesia and India seek the autonomy to choose their relationships as they wish, to have a “thousand friends and zero enemies” while developing their defence and maritime capabilities. The challenge, as Indonesia and India seek to become influential stakeholders within the international order, is not to seek strict autonomy from the major global players but to effectively partner with them to manage an increasingly insecure world.


1.  The author would like to thank Dr. Sumit Ganguly, Dr. Thomas Lynch, Dr. Vijay Sakujha, Commodore Uday Bhaskar, Commander S.S. Parmar, Dr. P.K. Ghosh, and Dr. U.B. Singh for their helpful comments and suggestions.

2.         The term 'mental map' describes a nation's sphere of influence based on their historical narratives. As Iskander Rehman notes, in the past, Tibet and Southeast Asia have provided a buffer between India and China; however the unresolved border dispute between the two states and the expansion of both states navies have caused their 'mental maps' or spheres of influence to collide. Iskander Rehman, “An Ocean at the Intersection of Two Maritime Narratives,” IDSA Issue Brief, June 11, 2011.

3.         Indonesia and India were chosen for this study based on their geostrategic locations. Both Indonesia and India's locations have been detrimental at times to each states' security while also providing enormous military and economic potential. This potential if harnessed correctly under the aegis of a unified nation can be a major source of strength for each state, making them each key swing states in the international balance of power. Vietnam and Singapore could be interesting case studies for further research; however their historical naval development does not fit the model used in this study.

4.         For explanations of Indian “sea blindness” see: Andrew Winner, “The United States, India, and the Indian Ocean, and Maritime Elements of Security Cooperation” in Michael Kugelman, India's Contemporary Security Challenges (Washington D.C.: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 2011), p. 108 and K.M Panikkar, India and the Indian Ocean (New Delhi: George Allen & Unwin), p.90. For an examination of Indonesian 'sea blindness' or inward-looking security strategy see: Leonard Sebastain, “Realpolitik ideology: Indonesia's Use of Military Force (Singapore: Institute for Southeast Asia Studies, 2006). Indonesia's archipelagic nature made its inward oriented, “sea blindness” differ from India's. Please see an explanation of nusantara and the Djuanda Declaration later in footnote 10.

5.         This study is limited to India and Indonesia's budding naval power; however future research could also examine their maritime capabilities. As Ian Speller outlines, naval power “refers to dedicated seaborne military forces, such as warships, submarines, auxiliaries and aircraft operating from ships. It can be used in reference to land-based infrastructure and administration devoted to the support of these systems. In essence, 'naval' refers to the activities of navies.” While maritime power is “an overarching subject that encompasses the full range of mankind's relationship to the seas and oceans. The notion of maritime power therefore encompasses all naval forces and activity in addition to all non-military uses of the sea, such as merchant shipping and fishing. It also refers to all other assets and capabilities that directly influence the ability of a state or organization to use the sea. This might include land-based aircraft, coastal artillery and missiles, space-based systems, such as communications and surveillance satellites, a facility for effective maritime insurance and a variety of other factors that are not necessarily naval in origin.” See Ian Speller, "Naval Warfare", in Understanding Modern Warfare (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008) p. 151.

6.         Multilateralism generally refers to more than two nations working in concert on a given issue, throughout this article the term multilateralism will generally refer to naval multilateralism.

7.         Dr. Sukarno (later President Sukarno) and Dr. Mohammad Hatta declared Indonesian independence on August 17, 1945, after the Japanese surrender. However, the Dutch once again took control of the archipelagic state, and formal sovereignty was not granted until August 1, 1950, at the demand of Nehru.

8.         Central Intelligence Agency. “East and South Asia: Indonesia” The World Factbook.   http:// www. c i a . g ov/ l ibrar y/ publications/ the- world- factbook/geos/id.html

9.         Interestingly, despite Sukarno's drive for territorial acquisition, Sukarno, post independence, did desire a strong navy. Sukarno made a request to the Soviet Union to acquire a cruiser. The Soviet Union provided Indonesia with the Ordzhonikidze light cruiser, which was renamed Irian in 1962. After Suharto overthrew Sukarno, any interest in developing a naval capacity ceased to exist. For more see: B.M Volkov, “Journal Entry of Ambassador Volkov: Conversation with Subandrio,” Cold War International History Project Wilson Center (January 28, 1959) and Alexander Pavlov, “Cruiser for Indonesia,” History 30 (1998) retrievable at: http://milparade.udm.ru/security/30/070x.htm.

10.     For a historical overview and analysis of the konfrontasi see: JAC Mackie, Konfrontasi: The Indonesia Malaysia Dispute 1963-1966 (New York: Oxford UP, 1974).

11.     Arguably Indonesia's “land based” mindset could also be conceived of as their “territorial based” mindset. Given Indonesia's archipelagic nature, the sea understandably plays a role in their historical and political discourse; however not in the conventional sense. In 1957, the Djuanda Declaration was issued on the part of the Indonesia government. The Djuanda Declaration sought to reinvent the term nusantara. Wawasan Nusantara (Archipelagic Outlook) sought to create an image of political unity, thus making the waters between the various Indonesian islands part of the state or territory. The islands and the water then became a larger “geo-body” in much the same way the waters (lakes, rivers, etc) make up part of a state. This was formally adopted including Indonesia's EEZ in 1982 at the third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). As argued later, this however did not mean that Indonesia built up a naval capacity, especially within a power projection sense, it simply meant that connecting waters were part of their sovereign state. See: Jennifer L Gaynor “Maritime Ideologies and Ethnic Anomalies,” in Jerry H Bentley, Renate Bridenthal, and Kären Wigen, Seascapes: Maritime Histories, Littoral Cultures, and Transoceanic Exchanges (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2007) and Hasjim Djalal, Indonesia and the Law of the Sea (Jakarta: Center for Strategic & International Studies, 1995).

12.     For more on the 1965 Indonesian coup, see: Harold Crouch, “Another Look at the Indonesian “Coup,” Indonesia 15 (1973), pp.1-20.

13.     For an analysis of the dual doctrines of the Indonesian armed forces see: Marcus Mietzer, Military Politics, Islam, and the State in Indonesia: From Turbulent Transition to Democratic Consolidation (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2009).

14.     See Seng Tan and Amitav Acharya, “Asian-Pacific Security Cooperation: National Interests and Regional Order” Political Science (2004),p. 12.

15.     ibid, p. 11.

16.     For an overview on the history of Sino-phobia in Indonesia see: Rizal Sukma, Indonesia and China (London: Routledge, 1999).

17.     For an analysis of provincial unrest during the Suharto era see: Damien Kingsbury, The Politics of Indonesia (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2005)

18.     Amartya Sen, The Argumentative Indian, (London, Penguin Books Ltd.: 2005), p. ix.

19.     For a thorough analysis of historic and current Indian insurgency and counterinsurgency see: Sumit Ganguly and David Fidler, India and Counterinsurgency: Lessons Learned (New York: Routledge, 2009).

20.     The British maintained complete naval supremacy of the Indian Ocean during the Raj. Except for the creation of a small Royal Indian Navy, the British were responsible for the security of the seas. For more on the 'British Lake' see: K.M. Panikkar, India and the Indian Ocean (New Delhi: George Allen & Unwin), pp.72- 81.

21.     Stephen Cohen, Arming without Aiming (Washington D.C.: The Brookings Institute, 2010), p. 3.

22.     Apart from the 1971 threat to India from the US 7th fleet in the Bay of Bengal, external threats have been primarily land based. During WWII the Japanese threatened the Indian state overland through the Northeast, the Chinese invaded the Indian border to the North in 1962 and India has fought three land wars with Pakistan, two within Kashmir (1947, 1965) and one in East Pakistan (1971), which is now Bangladesh, in addition to the Kargil Conflict of 1999.

23.     For an excellent overview of the three Indo-Pakistan wars and the Kargil War see: Sumit Ganguly, Conflict Unending (Oxford, Oxford UP, 2001).

24.     Steven Cohen, Arming without Aiming (Washington D.C.: The Brookings Institution, 2010), p. 75.

25.     Laxman Behera, “India's Defense Budget 2011-2012,” IDSA Comment, March 7, 2011.

26.     Andrew C Winner, “The United States, India, the Indian Ocean and Maritime Elements of Security Cooperation” 101 in Michael Kugelman in India's Contemporary Security Challenges (Washington DC: Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, 2011).

27.     This is not a criticism of Indonesia and India's past “inward looking” policies. It is only natural post independence that a previous colonial state would seek to consolidate their borders. The United States, also a previous colonial state, is a perfect example of this. Post independence, the United States followed a policy of isolationism, and sought to consolidate the border of the continental United States by expanding westward. However, once their borders were secure the United States switched its gaze to sea adopting the 'Monroe Doctrine' and developing a navy. In parallel to this, Indonesia and India underwent the same consolidation process, however, as their borders now remain secure they must begin develop a stronger naval capability.

28.     The littoral states of both Indonesia and India are situated at the “strategic crossroads” of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The Malacca Strait, which has been defined as the “critical hub of world oceans,” is a key choke point in the region, bridging the Indian and Pacific Oceans. 100,000 ships annually transit the international shipping lanes of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), with over 60,000 passing through the Strait of Malacca. See: Connie Rahakundini Bakrie, “Deepening the ADMM Security Leg: Indonesia's Maritime Security and the Role of India & Australia,” Paper presented at Delhi Dialogue III-Beyond the First Twenty Years of India-ASEAN Engagement, March 3-4, 2011, New Delhi and Rahul Roy-Chaudhury, “India's Maritime Forces: Oceanic and Coastal Security Imperatives” in N.S. Sisodia and Kalyanaraman The Future of War and Peace in Asia (New Delhi, Mangum Books Pvt Ltd: 2010).

29.     “Tentara Nasional Indonesia, TNI: ABRI- Armed Forces of the Republic of  I n d o n e s i a g l o b a l s e c u r i t y. o r g ( Ju l y 1 1 , 2 0 1 1 ) f o u n d a t : http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/indonesia/abri.html.




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30.     Alexandra Retno Wulan, “Whiter military Reforms?” Jakarta Post (October 13, 2009).

31.     Leonard C Sebastian and Iisgindarsan. “Assessing 12-Year Military Reform in Indonesia: Major Strategic Gaps for the Next Stage of Reform,” RSIS Working Paper, No. 227 April 6, 2011.

32.     In Dino Patti Djalal's, Indonesian ambassador to the United States, article titled, Pemimpin yang Nasionalis dan Internasionalis (Leader of the Nationalist and Internationalist), Djalal notes that President Yudhoyono is looking outward and internationally in order to create a “safer, fairer, more prosperous, and more democratic” Indonesia. He also states that “the stigma of Indonesia as an inward- looking country, which could color the perception of the world against Indonesia” is gone. See: Dino Patti Djalal, Pempin yang Nasionalis dan Internasionalis (April 2008) retrievable at: dinopattidjalal.com

33.     Despite Indonesia's placement as a middle-income country, the Indonesian population suffers from poverty rate of about 13.3%, down from 14.15% in 2009. The Indonesian government has invested little in infrastructure development and social services throughout the state. So long as these problems remain pandemic to the Indonesian state, economic recovery and growth will remain uncertain. See: “Indonesia's March Poverty Rate declines from 13.3% from 14.15%,” The Jakarta Globe (July 1, 2010) and Abraham M. Denmark, Christine Parthemore, and Rizal Sukma. “Crafting a New Strategic Vision: A New Era of US-Indonesian Relations,” CNA Report (4 June 2010).

34.     “Tentara Nasional Indonesia, TNI: ABRI- Armed Forces of the Republic of  I n d o n e s i a g l o b a l s e c u r i t y. o r g ( Ju l y 1 1 , 2 0 1 1 ) f o u n d a t : http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/indonesia/abri.html.

35.     Robert Kaplan, Monsoon (New York: Random House, 2010) 272.

36.     Throughout the 1990s, the US cut all formal military ties, including arms sales and training to the Indonesians citing gross human rights abuses throughout East Timor. While the US had been the principle arms supplier to Indonesia, putting strain on the Indonesian military, the decision of the US in 1993 to block the transfer of fighter jets from Jordan to Indonesia citing human rights concerns, caused other arms suppliers to also place embargos on the Indonesian state. The amalgamation of a ubiquitous arms embargo and severe budgetary constraints caused the majority of Indonesia's armed forces to fall into disrepair. See: Jessica Brown, “Jakarta's Juggling Act: Balancing China and America in the Asian Pacific,” Foreign Policy Analysis 5:3 (February 2011) 9-10.

37.     “Submarines for Indonesia?,” Defense Industry Daily (January 25, 2011) found at: http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/Submarines-for-Indonesia-07004/.


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38.     ibid.

39.     Jayadi Supriadin and Kartika Candra, “Purchase of Submarine's Considered Urgent,” TEMPO Interactive Jakarta (June 7, 2011).

40.     Adapted from: “Assessing 12-Year Military Reform in Indonesia: Major Strategic Gaps for the Next Stage of Reform,” RSIS Working Paper, No. 227 April 6, 2011,

p. 24. Data from: Ministry of National Development Planning, Book 11: Memperkuat Sinergi Antar Bidang Pembangunan (Jakarta: Ministry of Development Planning. 2010), pp. 11.7-12.

41.     Adapted from: Leonard C Sebastian and Iisgindarsan, “Assessing 12-Year Military Reform in Indonesia: Major Strategic Gaps for the Next Stage of Reform,” RSIS 227 April 6, 2011 p. 30. Data from: Jawaban Menteri Pertahanan atas Pertanyaan Tertulia Komisi I DPR-RI, 8 December 2004; : Jawaban Menteri Pertahanan atas Pertanyaan Tertulia Komisi I DPR-RI, 28 September 2005; : Jawaban Menteri Pertahanan atas Pertanyaan Tertulia Komisi I DPR-RI, 6 March 2006; Jawaban Menteri Pertahanan dan Pangima TNI atas Pernyataan Tertulis Komisi I DPR-RI,

28 May 2007; Presidential Decree (Perpres) No. 72/2008 on Detailed Expenditures of Central Government in 2009; Presidential Decree (Perpres) No. 51/2009 on Detailed Expenditures of Central Government in 2010.

42.     India's maritime and sea voyages can be found in the earliest Indian literature, the Vedas. Dating India's maritime tradition back at least to 1,5000 B.C. Apart from trade, India's naval and political supremacy in the sea can be dated back to the Chola power in the thirteenth century. For more on ancient India's maritime tradition see Panikkar's seminal work: K.M. Panikkar, India and the Indian Ocean (New Delhi: George Allen & Unwin), pp. 17-36.

43.     Walter Ladwig, “Delhi's Pacific Ambition: Naval Power, “Look East,” and India's Emerging Influence in the Asia-Pacific,” Asia Security 5:2 (2009) 90 from Ashley Jackson, “The British Empire in the Indian ocean,” in Dennis Rumley and Sanjay Chaturvedi, eds., Geopolitical Orientations, Security and Regionalism in the Indian Ocean (New Delhi: South Asian, 2004), p. 35.

44.     Pranab Mukherjee, Speech for the Admiral A.K. Chatterjee Memorial Lecture, Kolkata, (30 June 2007).

45.     David Brewster, “An Indian Sphere of Influence in the Indian Ocean?” Security Challenges 6:3 (Spring 2010), p. 16.

46.     ibid 3.

47.     “Indian Navy Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta Spells Out Vision 2022,” India Defense,   ( August   10 ,   2008 )   available   a t   http:// www. india- defence.com/reports/3954.

48. Walter Ladwig, “Delhi's Pacific Ambition: Naval Power, “Look East,” and India's Emerging Influence in the Asia-Pacific,” Asian Security 5:2 (2009) , p. 91.

49.     Iskander Rehman, “India's Future Aircraft Carrier Force and the Need for Strategic Flexibility,” IDSA Comment (June 1, 2010).

50.     Ibid.

51.     Walter Ladwig, “Delhi's Pacific Ambition: Naval Power, “Look East,” and India's Emerging Influence in the Asia-Pacific, Asian Security 5:2 (2009), p. 92.

52.     Arun Prakesh. “The Rationale and Implications of India's Growing Maritime Power” 87 in Michael Kugelman in India's Contemporary Security Challenges (Washington DC: Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, 2011).

53.     Stephen Cohen, Arming without Aiming, (Washington D.C., The Brooking Institute, 2010), p. 71.

54.     For more on membership of the non-aligned movement see: “NAM Background” at http://www.nam.gov.za/background/index.html.

55.     The “Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence” were originally laid out in the Panchsheel Agreement between China and India in 1954. The Panchsheel  Agreement, in essence, was a trade pact between China and India governing their trade negotiations in Tibet. Panchsheel was used a year later by Nehru to help form the basis of the non-alignment movement. For the full text of the Panchsheel Agreement see: Swaran Singh, “Three Agreements and Five Principles between India and China,” at http://www.ignca.nic.in/ks_41062.htm.

56.     Rasheeduddin Khan. “Non-alignment: The Context, Dimensions and Challenges,” 19 in Rasheeduddin Khan, Perspectives on Non-Alignment, (New Delhi, Kalamkar Prakashan Pvt. Ltd., 1981).

57.     See both Robert L Rothstein. Weak in the World of Strong (New York: Columbia UP, 1980) and Robert L Rothstein. Alliances and Small Powers (New York: Columbia UP, 1968).

58.     Robert L Rothstein. Weak in the World of Strong (New York: Columbia UP, 1980), p. 105.

59.     For more on Indonesia and their political “leanings” within the international system see: Irman Lanti, “Indonesia in Triangular Relations with China and the United States,” in Evelyn Goh and Sheldon W. Simon China, the United States, and Southeast Asia (Routledge, 2008) and Damien Kingsbury, The Politics of Indonesia, (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2005).

60.     In 1971, India Gandhi signed a “Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation with the USSR. For more on India's partnerships and foreign interventions see: David Malone, “The Evolution of Indian Multilateralism: From High Ground to High Table,” in David Malone, Does the Elephant Dance? (New York, Oxford UP: 2011), pp. 249-273.

61.     K Subrahmanyam, “Far from being an ideology, Non-alignment was a strategy devised by Nehru,” Indian Express (February, 3, 2011) found at http://www.indianexpress.com/news/far-from-being-an-ideology- nonalignment-was-a-strategy-devised-by-nehru/745258/2.

62.     While naval multilateralism is not a new concept, strong examples of partnering and naval cooperation have existed in Southeast Asia since the cessation of the Cold War, it has taken on a new significance today. Today, naval multilateralism often transcends a state's coastal waters and is reflected in various states emerging blue water capabilities. Given the Indo-Pacific environment is uniquely maritime, and therefore often outside of the territorial jurisdiction of a given state, multilateral naval cooperation provides the framework to challenge or maintain the current balance of power and also confront various emerging maritime threats, such as piracy, terrorism, gunrunning or trafficking. For a strong explanation of the roles of a navy see: Headquarters of the Ministry of Defense, “Freedom to Use the Seas: India's Maritime Military Strategy,” Integrated Headquarters Ministry of Defense (2007).

63.     James R Holmes and Toshi Yoshihara, “China's Naval Ambitions in the Indian Ocean,” Journal of Strategic Studies, 31:3 (2008), p. 373.

64.     “China aircraft carrier confirmed by general,” BBC News Asia Pacific (June 8, 2011) found at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-13692558.

65.     “Measuring the Chinese Fleet,” Strategy Page: Surface Forces Article Index (January,   21,   2010)   found   at:   http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/ htsurf/20100121.aspx.

66.     Toshi Yoshihara and James R Holmes, Red Star over the Pacific: China's Ride and the Challenge to US Maritime Strategy, (Newport, Naval Institute Press: 2010), p. 2.

67.     Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, “China's Defense White Paper 2010: An Initial Assessment,” Observer Research Foundation (April 2, 2011).

68.     As United States Air Force, Lieutenant Colonel Christopher J Pherson states, the “String of Pearls” describes the manifestation of China's rising geopolitical influence through efforts to increase access to ports and airfields, develop special diplomatic relationships, and modernize military forces that extend from the South China Sea through the Strait of Malacca, across the Indian Ocean, and on to the Arabian Gulf. For more see: Lt. Col. Christopher Pherson, “String of Pearls: Meeting the Challenge of China's Rising Power across the Asian Littoral,” Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College (July, 2006).

69.     James R Holmes and Toshi Yoshihara, “China's Naval Ambitions in the Indian Ocean,” Journal of Strategic Studies, 31:3 (2008), p. 378.

70.     See: C.R. Neu, Angel Rabasa, and Richard Sokolsky, “ASEAN Perceptions of a Rising China” in Southeast Asia in US Strategy towards China (RAND: 2000), Rizal Sukma, Indonesia and China: The Politics of a Troubled Relationship (London: Routledge, 1999), and Daniel Novotny, Torn Between American and China: Elite Perceptions and American Foreign Policy (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2010).

71.     Jessica Brown, “Jakarta's Balancing Act: Balancing China and America in the Asia- Pacific,” Foreign Policy Analysis 5:3 (3 February 2011) 3 from Carlyle A. Thayer, Recent Developments in the South China Sea: Implications for Regional Peace and Prosperity. Paper to 2nd International Workshop on The South China Sea: Cooperation for Regional Security and Development, co-organized by the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam and Vietnam Lawyers' Association (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: 10-12 November 2010).

72.     Michael Richardson, “Beijing Turns up the Heat in S China Sea,” ISEAS, (June 6, 2011).

73.     Douglas Johnson, “Drawn into the fray: Indonesia's Natuna Islands meet China's long gaze South,” Asian Affairs, 24: 3 (1997), p. 153.

74.     Cdr. P. K. Ghosh “Maritime Security Challenges in South Asia and the Indian Ocean: Response Strategies” Paper prepared for the Center for Strategic and International Studies American-Pacific Sealanes Security Institute conference on Maritime Security in Asia. January 18-20, 2004, Honolulu, Hawaii.

75.     This study chose to focus simply on joint naval exercises as a form of balancing; however, joint naval exercises are not the only means to create bilateral and multilateral partnerships. As Khurana notes, navies' political-strategic role embodies a diplomatic function, a constabulary and benign role, in addition to joint naval exercises. For an excellent analysis of the political-strategic function of a navy see: Gurpreet Khurana, “Cooperation among Maritime Security Forces: Imperatives for India and Southeast Asia,” Strategic Analysis, 29: 2 (2005).

76.     For more on the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium see: PK Ghosh, “Indian Ocean Naval Symposium: Uniting the Maritime Indian Ocean Region,” Strategic Analysis 36 (3) 2012.

77.     Interview with former U.S. official, April 2012.

78.     Deterrence theory was developed during the Cold War. Deterrence is based on the concept that no longer can military strategy be simply built around the goal of 'military victory,' that instead, military strategy also equally embodies the art of coercion, intimidation, and deterrence as a means influencing state behavior. For more on deterrence theory see Thomas Schelling's classic work: Thomas Schelling, The Diplomacy of Violence (New Haven: Yale UP, 1966).

79.     Gurpreet S Khurana, “Joint Naval Exercises: A Post Malabar 2007 Appraisal for India” Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies 52 (September 2007), p. 3.

80.     Ibid 2.

81.     Ibid.

82.     Luis Ramirez, “China, India hold joint naval exercises,” AFAR (November 19, 2003) found at: http:www.asianresearch.org/articles/1699.html.

83.     Mustaqim Adamrah, “Indonesia China plan coordinated sea patrols,” Jakarta Post (May 23, 2011).

84.     The concept of a grouping of democratic nations has gained prominence since the turn of the century. Used as a tool of political rhetoric in democratic speeches, and at times an aspirational goal, a 'concert of democracies' in essence would be “a global club, led but not monopolized by America, that would fight poverty, stem climate change and resist tyrants.” Due to the demographic make-up of South Asia and Southeast Asia, such a 'club' has caused concern among the Chinese. For more information see: “A Seductive Sound: A modern diplomatic concert may be more tuneful then the old one,” The Economist (June 7, 2007)

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