AbstractsPolitical Science

The Role of Identity in India’s Expanding Naval Power

by Sandeep SinghSan

Institution: University of Otago
Year: 0
Keywords: India; Naval; Power; Asia-Pacific; Identity; International-Relations; War; Balance-of-Power; China; Indian-Ocean
Record ID: 1316729
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10523/5651


Since the end of the Cold War Indian political elites have demonstrated a remarkable predilection towards naval power in India’s grand strategy. Today, a naval modernization program is on the Indian agenda with emphasis on both the foreign acquisition and domestic construction of warships, submarines and battle fleets. The expensive capability accretion program is matched by a new penchant for articulating expansive naval doctrines and maritime strategy. This is a radical departure from the past where the Indian strategic community has often bemoaned the Indian political elite’s apparent ignorance of the potential of naval power. A number of reasons can be advanced to explain this change in the Indian political elite’s perception towards naval power. The predominant view in the literature favours material factors and India’s structural position as a source of this emerging maritime consciousness among the Indian political elite. While there are many compelling reasons for India to build a strong navy, this thesis suggests that an ideational factor related to India’s aspirations towards a new identity in the international system is an additional factor. India’s aspiration to become an Asia-Pacific power informs the Indian political elite’s new-found enthusiasm for naval power. As the Asia-Pacific region and the maritime disputes in the Asia-Pacific region assume growing importance in international politics, it is all the more important to understand India’s aspirations to transform itself into an Asia-Pacific power and how this shapes its naval strategy.