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IFANS PERSPECTIVES Strategic Developments and Maritime Cooperation in the Indian Ocean: Implications for ROK-India Maritime Cooperation CHO Won Deuk Upload Date 2024-01-23 Hits 185
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1. Introduction 
2. Strategic Developments in the Indian Ocean and India’s Maritime Strategy
3. Maritime Cooperation in the Indian Ocean
4. Implications for ROK-India Maritime Cooperation


1. Introduction 


In 2022, the Yoon Suk Yeol administration unveiled its Indo-Pacific strategy, and reaffirmed the administration’s commitment to deepening the Republic of Korea’s engagement to advance freedom, peace, and prosperity. The administration also expressed its intent to foster solidarity and cooperation with like-minded countries in the region. The ROK’s key partners of cooperation envisioned in its Indo-Pacific strategy include India and nations in the Southeast Asian and Indian Ocean regions. 
As Korea’s Indo-Pacific strategy highlights maritime security cooperation with like-minded countries as a key focus of cooperation, it is anticipated that the ROK’s role in promoting maritime safety and security in the Indian Ocean will increase in the coming years.
Over the past few years, the Indo-Pacific has evolved into a pivotal theater for strategic competition, marked by China’s assertive expansionist policies and concerted efforts led by the United States to bolster the status quo in the region. Geopolitical rivalries in the Indo-Pacific have extended across crucial areas such as the South China Sea, the East China Sea, the Taiwan Strait, and the South Pacific, with indications suggesting a potential extension into the Indian Ocean. Major Pacific nations have shown little interest in the Indian Ocean region, whereas European countries have closely monitored and shown keen interest in the evolving developments within the region.
 While the Indian Ocean receives less attention than the Pacific, it is anticipated that the region will offer more opportunities as a global supply chain hub and consumer market in the medium to long term. The Indian Ocean is home to approximately 2.7 young people and boasts abundant natural and fishery resources. The Indian Ocean is a vital maritime transit route through which 80% of the world’s petroleum transportation is passing. Notably, the ROK heavily relies on the maritime transit routes of the Indian Ocean for a significant portion of its oil imports and trade. Therefore, stability and prosperity in this region are of utmost importance to the ROK.
However, due to the rise of emerging regional powers such as China and India, the geopolitical landscape of the Indian Ocean has been undergoing significant changes. The region is not only experiencing geopolitical competition, but also facing destabilizing non-traditional security threats including climate change, maritime natural disasters, piracy and illegal fishing. It deserves attention that security risks in the Indian Ocean are increasing as the region serves as the most crucial route for global trade and the transportation of oil and gas.
The Republic of Korea recognizes India as a crucial partner for regional cooperation, and seeks to bolster maritime security cooperation, underscoring the importance of the Indian Ocean. To this end, it is recommended that the ROK enhance strategic cooperation with India to stabilize trade and energy supplies in the Indian Ocean. This paper aims to delve into the strategic developments and changes in the Indian Ocean, and India’s responses, and to explore ways to forge and advance maritime cooperation between the ROK and India.

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#China #IndoPacific #MaritimeSecurity #IndianOcean
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IFANS PERSPECTIVES 2024-03E(조원득).pdf
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