Critically comment if the “strategic diamond” initiative of four maritime democracies that was mooted by Japan is in the interest of India’s geopolitical ambitions beyond the Indian Ocean region. (200 Words)

Strategic Diamond Initiative, a maritime cooperation between Japan, USA, India and
Australia, is an idea mooted by Japan to contain China’s growing influence in the West Pacific region. India can gain from such a cooperation but not without significant backlash from China.
  1. India can extend its regional and maritime footprint beyond Indian Ocean, to become a global power.
  2. India has interests in the South China Sea (Vietnam oil blocks) which are currently disputed by China and other SE Asian Nations. Strategic diamond can provide a platform to engage with China about these disputes.
  3. It can act as a counter to growing Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean Region.
  4. Prospects of improving Indian maritime capabilities by engaging with superior technologies of USA, Japan and Australia.
  5. Sea Line of Communication: With 35% world trade in oil from st of malacca and our related interest in the same, its protection is sina qua non.
  6. Diplomatic Importance: With these 3 countries India has huge stake in terms of trade in energy (Australia: coal and uranium), industries(USA: pharma and other exports), infrastructure projects(Japan: funding for trade corridors eg DFC). So further engagement will strengthen the relationship even more.
  7. Disaster Response: Region is frequented my tropical cyclones, concerted effort will be crucial for protection of life and property.
  1. China will aggressively condemn such a cooperation. It has already expressed reservation to Strategic Diamond, due to which Australia has pulled back.
  2. Can heighten the already intense border disputed between India and China
  3. China may increase cooperation with Pakistan, thus putting our regional security at stake.
  4. China can project this as India’s expansionist and confrontation attitude and influence SE Asian nations against India.
Rebalancing Policy: There must be restrained to any passionate and aggressive campaign against China. The approach must be with larger objective of maintaining peace with gradual participation of China in near future. Thus such multilateral engagements should be potentially used to pursue our national interest and must be added with clarification that India will not engage in any peace destroying engagements .



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