Maritime Security was a key issue as the foreign representatives of the QUAD nations met aftermath of the G20 summit, where the various finance chiefs disagreed on a joint statement on the Russian Invasion of Ukraine.
In a very critical meeting, the QUAD countries, this time, reaffirmed their commitment in June 2022 to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific, saying that it strongly supports the principles of the rule of law, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and peaceful settlement of disputes.
The External Affairs Minister of India, S Jaishankar, presided over the meeting attended by US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and the other colleagues of the QUAD including Japan’s Yoshimasa Hayashi and Australia’s Penny Wong.
“Our meeting today reaffirms the Quad’s steadfast commitment to supporting a free and open Indo-Pacific, which is inclusive and resilient,” a joint statement said.
“We strongly support the principles of freedom, the rule of law, sovereignty and territorial integrity, peaceful settlement of disputes without resorting to threat or use of force and freedom of navigation and overflight, and oppose any unilateral attempt to change the status quo, all of which are essential to the peace, stability, and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region and beyond,” it said (Quad Foreign Ministers Meet In Delhi, Review Maritime Security, n.d.).
The Quad’s new maritime initiative was discussed last year to accelerate the Indo-Pacific’s militarisation, a region heavily powered by Chinese Geopolitical Influence. In this regard, the Quad countries jointly want to monitor the movements of ships and submarines in the Indo-Pacific using satellites.
According to Maj, a potential militarisation may occur in such a scenario.Gen.Dhruv Katoch of the Indian Army told CNBC, “While the Quad as of now is not a security organisation, it has the potential to metamorphose into one quickly, and he also stated that “If Chinese belligerence threatens ASEAN countries, then perhaps Southeast Asian countries too would be inclined to join such a grouping.” (Quad’s Maritime Initiative Could Spur Militarization of Indo-Pacific, n.d.).
As we shall see further, the Indian and Pacific Ocean maritime waters are miffed with intense Geopolitics; the Indo-Pacific region has seen “freedom of navigation” patrols by U.S., Australian, German, French and British naval ships in waters and maritime features claimed by China. (Quad’s Maritime Initiative Could Spur Militarization of Indo-Pacific, n.d.)
The IPMDA will share commercially available satellite data and alert smaller Southeast Asian states if there are territorial intrusions or if ships carry out an illicit activity such as illegal fishing, smuggling or piracy in waters within their maritime boundaries.
“This initiative will transform the ability of partners in the Pacific Islands, Southeast Asia, and the Indian Ocean region to monitor the waters on their shores fully and, in turn, to uphold a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the White House statement said (Quad’s Maritime Initiative Could Spur Militarization of Indo-Pacific, n.d.).
The Current Maritime Security in the Indian Ocean through Maps
The Indian Ocean Maritime Zone covers 68.56 million Sq Km; Most nations follow the UN Convention on the Law of Sea; they divide marine water into five zones, namely, Internal Waters, Territorial Sea, Contiguous Zone, Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), and the high seas.
Key Defensive Areas
GUAM Naval Base
One of the most important American Naval bases in the Apra Harbor at the Orte Peninsula, It is also the home base of dozens of Pacific commands, Peace Fleets, Seventh Fleeths and Seabee Units.
Other Critical Defensive NATO Establishments in the Indo-Pacific Region
Chinese Presence in Indo Pacific Region
Key Maritime Regions: Strait of Malacca
The Importance of Strait of Malacca: The Strait of Malacca is a 550-mile-long narrow stretch of water in Southeast Asia between the East coast of the Indonesia Islands of Sumatra and the West coast of the Malay Peninsula; there are about 400 shipping lines linking 700 ports worldwide with 70,000 ships passing through the strait annually.
The Strait of Malacca has strategic importance, too. Roughly a quarter of all oil transported by sea (more than 15 million barrels per day) passes through the straits. Several countries in North East Asia, including China and Japan, rely heavily on the oil imports that pass through the channels (https://dg.dryadglobal.com/south-east-asia-straits-of-malacca).
Key Maritime Region: A String of Pearl Sri Lanka
A hypothetical concept that US Political Researchers first created, String of Pearl refers to a settlement to control China vital Sea of Line Communication from the Strait of Malacca, where 80% of Chinese Crude Oil Imports Transited towards the Port of Sudan, Sri Lanka at the Southern Indian Ocean plays a key role in ensuring the connectivity to be maintained and also National security for the Indian Nation since India Maritime Isolation would be ensued upon