India’s Ocean: The Story of India’s Bid for Regional Leadership by David Brewster (review)

India’s Ocean: The Story of India’s Bid for Regional Leadership by David Brewster (review) Contemporary Southeast Asia Vol. 36, No. 3 (2014), pp. 486–88 DOI: 10.1355/cs36-3l © 2014 ISEAS ISSN 0129-797X print / ISSN 1793-284X electronic India’s Ocean: The Story of India’s Bid for Regional Leadership. By David Brewster. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2014. Hardcover: 228pp. Is the Indian Ocean India’s Ocean? If not, will it inevitably become so? To advance its national interests in the Indian Ocean, will India replace its current “mish mash” of ideas, instincts and prejudices? Or, as the author of India’s Ocean: The Story of India’s Bid for Regional Leadership suspects, will India “continue along at its own civilizational pace without any overarching or coordinated strategic plan, seeking to expand its power and influence here and there on an ad hoc basis, as and when opportunities present themselves?” (p. 206). After decades in the shadows, the Indian Ocean has recently attracted renewed attention. Initially, governments, pundits and scholars often exaggerated both rivalry between India and China in the Indian Ocean and the improvement in relations between India and the United States. The high water mark of speculation about great power rivalry was probably reached with Robert Kaplan’s 2009 “Center Stage for the 21 st Century: Power Plays in http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Contemporary Southeast Asia: A Journal of International and Strategic Affairs Institute of Southeast Asian Studies

India’s Ocean: The Story of India’s Bid for Regional Leadership by David Brewster (review)

India’s Ocean: The Story of India’s Bid for Regional Leadership by David Brewster (review)


Contemporary Southeast Asia Vol. 36, No. 3 (2014), pp. 486–88 DOI: 10.1355/cs36-3l © 2014 ISEAS ISSN 0129-797X print / ISSN 1793-284X electronic India’s Ocean: The Story of India’s Bid for Regional Leadership. By David Brewster. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2014. Hardcover: 228pp. Is the Indian Ocean India’s Ocean? If not, will it inevitably become so? To advance its national interests in the Indian Ocean, will India replace its current “mish mash” of ideas, instincts and prejudices? Or, as the author of India’s Ocean: The Story of India’s Bid for Regional Leadership suspects, will India “continue along at its own civilizational pace without any overarching or coordinated strategic plan, seeking to expand its power and influence here and there on an ad hoc basis, as and when opportunities present themselves?” (p. 206). After decades in the shadows, the Indian Ocean has recently attracted renewed attention. Initially, governments, pundits and scholars often exaggerated both rivalry between India and China in the Indian Ocean and the improvement in relations between India and the United States. The high water mark of speculation about great power rivalry was probably reached with Robert Kaplan’s 2009 “Center Stage for the 21 st Century: Power Plays in the Indian Ocean”, though popular but unsupportable myths such as a Chinese “string of pearls” (naval facilities) across the Indian Ocean live on. It is with regret that David Brewster’s new book was not available a few years ago. The book has three strengths. First, Brewster provides a sophisticated analysis of the drivers and constraints on Indian policies, as New Delhi slowly and hesitantly tries to increase its influence. Second, the book is comprehensive. Because individual chapters address specific parts of the Indian Ocean, this book serves as...
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Institute of Southeast Asian Studies
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1793-284X
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Abstract

Contemporary Southeast Asia Vol. 36, No. 3 (2014), pp. 486–88 DOI: 10.1355/cs36-3l © 2014 ISEAS ISSN 0129-797X print / ISSN 1793-284X electronic India’s Ocean: The Story of India’s Bid for Regional Leadership. By David Brewster. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2014. Hardcover: 228pp. Is the Indian Ocean India’s Ocean? If not, will it inevitably become so? To advance its national interests in the Indian Ocean, will India replace its current “mish mash” of ideas, instincts and prejudices? Or, as the author of India’s Ocean: The Story of India’s Bid for Regional Leadership suspects, will India “continue along at its own civilizational pace without any overarching or coordinated strategic plan, seeking to expand its power and influence here and there on an ad hoc basis, as and when opportunities present themselves?” (p. 206). After decades in the shadows, the Indian Ocean has recently attracted renewed attention. Initially, governments, pundits and scholars often exaggerated both rivalry between India and China in the Indian Ocean and the improvement in relations between India and the United States. The high water mark of speculation about great power rivalry was probably reached with Robert Kaplan’s 2009 “Center Stage for the 21 st Century: Power Plays in

Journal

Contemporary Southeast Asia: A Journal of International and Strategic AffairsInstitute of Southeast Asian Studies

Published: Dec 18, 2014

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