The Indian Ocean Data Analysis Bank
A comprehensive temporal and spatial GIS-based data bank will be developed with main node at the University of Western Australia. The data bank will include a wide range of demographic, economic, environmental and other data on regional, coastal, island and land-locked states. Group members will participate in the process of building the data base on an ongoing basis. It will be made accessible on fee-for-service basis to regional governments, businesses, researchers and teaching institutions. Cartographies of maritime boundaries will also be incorporated into the data base.
Geopolitical Orientations of Indian Ocean States
It is proposed to undertake a long-term data collection and monitoring project to identity the structure and change of the geopolitical orientations of all regional, coastal, island and landlocked state. Data collection will be based primarily upon analysis of government reports and speeches, content analysis of newspaper reports and interviews with Indian, Australian and other diplomats in host states. A summary and analysis of these data will be available on a fee-for-service basis.
This project will undertake a systematic critical regional analysis of the geopolitical orientations of Indian Ocean states. It will direct particular attention to: (a) the geopolitical contexts of each regional state, and (b) state perceptions and policies.
The Geopolitical context of each regional state will be identified via consideration of three sets of factors:
- Geographical- the description, evaluation and changing value and changing perception of locational and regional factors including, for example, proximity, relative location, degree of control of strategic waterways and to degree of access to strategic resources
- Economic- the stability and change of economic linkages in order to maximise economic security
- Political- causes of regional peace and conflict and changing threat perceptions.
- State perceptions and policies will be especially concerned with:
These ANALYSES will be conducted for three interrelated reasons:
- Perceived global and regional position- for example, India's perception of its 'regional centrality' in South Asia or Australia's self-perception as a 'middle power'. How meaningful are these perceptions and what impacts do they have on state policy and on the policies of other states?
- Perceived spheres of influence- for example, Australia's perceived sphere of influence in the Southwest Pacific
- Perceptions of state leaders
- State policy documents which identify particular orientations or changes in orientation- for example, Australia's 'look west' concept and India's 'look east' strategy.
They will lead to an increased understanding of the behavior of states in the Indian Ocean region
- They will increase the degree of predictability in the nature of regional inter-state relations
- They will contribute to an environment of peace and stability in the Indian Ocean region
It is anticipated that the project coordinators will commence their research with a analysis of the geopolitical orientations of all SAARC members.
Indian Ocean Regionalism
As the past decade has witnessed a resurgence of regionalism in world politics. Old regionalist organizations have been revived, new organizations formed, and regionalism and the call for strengthened regionalist arrangements have been central to many of the debates about the nature of the post cold war international order. Current moves towards the development of a regional dialogue across the Indian Ocean have to be viewed in the context of changes in the global Great Power structure, and sweeping structural reforms of the international economic order. Since the end of the cold war, there has been a significant acceleration in the institutionalization of regional relations beyond Europe.
This project would be based on the assumption that Regionalization would flourish only if we can establish close and cooperative relationship 'within' and 'between' the regions. This project aims to study the process of regionalism and regionalization in a globalising world in the Indian Ocean. Regionalism provides a middle-level approach to problem solving, between the extremes of unilateralism and universalism. One of the principal aims of project would be to strengthen cooperation that entails policy-adjustment among actors so that eventually all will be better off than had they acted independently. There is scope for cooperation by way of sharing development experiences and expertise, as also by the transfer of technology through collaboration in industrial, technological and the services sectors. There is a vast market base for potential cooperation in trade where cooperation in specific sectors can be highly beneficial .The new regionalism may provide solutions to development problems.
This project will be based on an analysis of the process of regionalism across the Indian Ocean. It will involve a critical analysis of the processes involved in the development of a regional identity ranging from attempts at association in core-sectors of the region to debates concerning membership issues of a regional association such the Indian Ocean Rim Association for regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC).
Research will begin with a focus on the general area of defining a region and then move to the specific issues relating to the development of a sense of Indian Ocean regional identity. Indications are that in the short period since IOR-ARC was established (in 1997) definitions of Indian Ocean regionalism have changed and will undoubtedly continue to change as the menu of common interests continues to expand.
Sea Lane Security in the Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean possesses considerable and often underrated geopolitical significance if only because of its use as a maritime highway. Given its location and the fact that it provides a relatively short and thus economic link between the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans, it is perhaps not surprising that not only does the Ocean account for the transportation of the highest tonnage of commodities in the world, but that more than three-quarters of this is extra-regional trade. The maintenance of safety and security of these sealanes and associated choke points is especially significant for the movement of commodities, especially oil, to Northeast Asia, Western Europe and North America.
There are several possible threats to the security and safety of sealanes in the Indian Ocean: piracy, inter or intrastate conflicts, and creeping jurisdiction. Piracy has reared its ugly head in recent times in the eastern Indian Ocean. Despite effective anti-piracy efforts by the Indian navy and cooperative anti-piracy exercises between India and Japan, piracy remains a problem.
Open hostilities between any of the region's states or between extra-regional powers in the Indian Ocean would of course threaten both the security and safety of the sealanes. While this possible threat is unlikely in the near future, incidents in Sri Lanka's waters between combatants in its civil war provide examples of what could happen on a larger and wider scale.
Creeping jurisdiction in which states extend their authority beyond accepted practice both geographically and in content is also unlikely in the near future. But China's recent attempt to ban an Australian warship from the Taiwan Straits and its apparent position that spying is not allowed in or over its EEZ portend what is possible in the Indian Ocean.
Cooperation in anti-piracy, anti-smuggling and in search and rescue can build the confidence necessary to forge common understanding and agreement on security and safety of sealanes. This effort will attempt to build that confidence and lead to that common understanding and agreement.
This project is based on the assumption that all nation-states within the Indian Ocean region share a common interest in ascertaining and maintaining a secure environmental future. This project aims to provide a workable concept of a regionally-shared, basic and secure environmental future, as well as identifying and researching appropriate mechanisms and management strategies which can be employing in problem-solving capacities.
Research leading to environmental security will move through two major stages. The first stage is to collate base-line social and environmental data which identify the key environmental security issues within the region. This will be done by collating existing data, as well as pursuing field-work within different parts of the region. Notions of environmental security within the region are multitudinous, differing greatly at times, from country to country, sub-culture to sub-culture. Common appreciation of these diverse understandings and interpretations will be essential to ascertain during the initial stages of the research. This situation makes 'on-the-ground' research essential in the context of environmental security issues, as the problems/issues must be valued and understood at the community level where most of the shared solutions lie.
The second part of the research moves beyond the definitional stage. Building on the data base, problem-solving strategies will then be identified and analysed. Ultimately the environmental security component of the IORG seeks to produce issue identification and problems-solving techniques which can be used by a variety of non-governmental, governmental, and industrial partners in their implementation of solutions ascertaining and maintaining environmental security in the region
International Population Movement in the Indian Ocean Region
International population movement has increased exponentially in both scale and complexity in the last decade. The countries of the Indian Ocean Region have been no exception and even border population movements have become one of the most important multilateral and bilateral issues in the region. Yet there has been little study of the migration system involving the Indian Ocean nations. This project seeks to elucidate the scale and nature of important international movements in the region, examine the major issues associated with them and investigate their demographic, environmental, social, economic and political implications.
External Powers in the Indian Ocean
After roughly a decade in the strategic wilderness, the Indian Ocean region again has become an arena of geopolitical rivalry among world powers and local states. A variety of factors have contributed to the intensifying strategic rivalry in the Indian Ocean. One of these is the continued and growing importance of oil, energy, and other vital resources. A second factor in the growing strategic salience of the Indian Ocean is the so-called "rise" of India, the most important of the coastal states.
According to India's recently published Maritime Doctrine, "all major powers of this century will seek a toehold in the Indian Ocean Region. Thus, Japan, the EU, and China, and a reinvigorated Russia can be expected to show presence in these waters either independently or through politico-security arrangements." The United States, of course, already has significantly enlarged its strategic footprint here in the last few years. Other significant "outside" players in the region include Israel and, depending on whether it is seen as an "outsider," France.
Given this pattern of growing involvement, the project will assess the interests and role of these nations in the Indian Ocean region, the interaction of these states within this area, and the relations of these countries with the various littoral states of the region. Also to be examined will be such questions as: 1) the attitude of these states with respect to Indian strategic goals in the IO; and 2) the future of military intervention by outside parties in the IO.
Development in the Small Island States and Territories of the Indian Ocean
Since the Earth Summit of 1992 (Rio de Janeiro), small island Developing states (SIDS) are widely recognized by the international community as singular cases both in terms of environment and development. A coherent analysis of this situation has also to take into account the small island territories that share the same basic geographical characteristics and development constraints deriving from smallness (small land, small population, and small economy) and insularity (isolation, and fragmentation in the case of archipelagoes).
Altogether, the small island states and territories (SIST) can be defined as small insular entities of less than 30,000 sq km, inhabited by a permanent local population, and, for the insular territories, located at a distance exceeding several hundred of kilometers from the continental State to which they belong. Thus, in the Indian Ocean, there are 7 small island states and 8 small island territories that can be considered as SIST.
Indian Ocean Small Island States: Bahrain, Comoros, Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Singapore, East Timor [Timor-Leste]. Indian Ocean Small Island Territories: Andaman and Nicobar (India), British Indian Ocean Territory (United Kingdom), Christmas (Australia), Cocos (Australia), Lakshadweep (India), Mayotte (France), Reunion (France), Socotra (Yemen).
The objective of this research programme is to document and analyze them development situation in these 15 SIST. Our approach is double sided as we will make a comparative study of the different island situations as well as specific thematic studies (energy, water, climate change impacts, etc).