The Regional Great Game in the Indian Ocean and India’s Evolving Maritime Strategy

Editors: Vivek Mishra and Sarvani Gooptu

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This book delves into the classic case of an emerging great power rivalry in the heart of Asia reminiscent of the original Great Game, except this one is taking place in perhaps India’s most consequential water body; the Indian Ocean Region. The book’s focus is to locate India’s maritime positioning amidst rapidly changing roles of China and the United States in the Indian Ocean. The discussions in the book have managed to generate a wide spectrum of thoughts incorporating aspects of both theory and practice. This volume tries to find the right balance in collating maritime perspectives from practitioners and academicians alike.

One of the main purposes of this volume is to bridge the gap in discourse that exists between the Indian Ocean literature that exists in India and the emerging literature and discourse vis-à-vis the Indo-Pacific. As such, this volume underscores the importance of the seamlessness of the Indian Ocean and the Indo-Pacific that Indian policy makers should keep in mind while framing policies for this region. This volume is also a reminder why India needs to rapidly shift gears in developing its maritime capabilities and that the emergence of the Indo-Pacific might be the opportune moment for India to make up for the historical lack of strategic thinking in the maritime domain.

Editors: Vivek Mishra and Sarvani Gooptu

Dr. Vivek Mishra is a Research Fellow at the Indian Council of World Affairs, New Delhi & Deputy Director, Kalinga Institute of Indo-Pacific Studies, Bhubaneswar. He is also Assistant Professor (on leave) in International Relations at the Netaji Institute for Asian Studies, Kolkata. He has been 2019 South Asian Voices Visiting Fellow at the Stimson Center, Washington D.C. and a Fulbright Visiting Scholar in the Saltzman Institute of War & Peace, School of International Public Affairs, Columbia University, NY for the academic year 2015-16.

Dr. Sarvani Gooptu is a Professor of Asian Literary and Cultural Studies at the Netaji Institute for Asian Studies, Kolkata. Her main area of research is nationalism and culture in colonial and postcolonial India. She has researched and written on the minority communities of Kolkata, the intellectual and literary history of Bengal and the history of music. Her book The Actress in the Public Theatres of Calcutta was published in 2015 and her latest book is The Music of Nationhood: Dwijendralal Roy of Bengal published in 2018.


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1. The Roots, Rationale and Limits of India’s Maritime Strategy
Arun Prakash

2. The Indian Ocean as a Theatre of Conflict: Past Patterns, Present Trends
Anindya Jyoti Majumdar

3. Dynamics of Emerging Power Play in the Indian Ocean: Impact on Stability and Security
Seshadri Vasan

4. Strategic Landscape of the Indo-Pacific Region
Arjun Subramaniam

5. India’s Indo-Pacific Maritime Strategy: Challenges and Opportunities
Shreya Upadhyay

6. Rethinking the Maritime East in India’s Act East Policy
Monish Tourangbam and Pranay VK

7. India’s Naval Reset: An Assessment of its Gradually Increasing Maritime Neighbourhood Expanse
Vivek Mishra and Udayan Das

8. India-US Strategic Relations: Assessing Potential for the Maritime Domain
Kakoli Sengupta

9. India, US and the Indian Ocean: Convergences, Cooperation and Challenges
Obja Borah Hazarika

10. India, Indian Ocean and the European Union: Challenges and Opportunities for Maritime Cooperation in the 21st Century
Purusottam Bhattacharya

11. “Everybody Wants a Part of the Ocean”: Samundra Manthan—A Historic Recurrence
Dr. Anup Shekhar Chakraborty




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