Carnegie India, in partnership with the Global Britain Fund, hosted a track 1.5 maritime workshop between experts from India and the United Kingdom. Participants discussed strengthening maritime collaboration between India and the U.K.
- Emerging Challenges at Sea: Participants highlighted the changing global environment in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) with growing multipolarity and strategic competition. Participants noted the importance of strengthening the India-U.K. relationship in the post-Brexit era. They stated that India and the U.K. should explore deeper collaboration on connectivity and infrastructure projects, including engagements in science and technology. Participants also discussed new ports and other strategic infrastructure projects undertaken by China in the IOR. While some participants welcomed and hoped to increase cooperation with China in order to maintain a stable maritime environment, others noted that these projects have added an element of uncertainty in the IOR.
- India-U.K. Maritime Cooperation: Participants stressed the commonality between the Indian and British navies. They highlighted that the traditions and customs of the Indian Navy are modeled on the Royal Navy and these similarities make it easier for the two nations to work together. Participants also noted that the revival of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting has great potential for India-U.K. strategic cooperation.
- More Maritime Forums: Participants commented that there is great potential for strengthening India-U.K. maritime cooperation through track 1.5 and maritime dialogues. They stated that a comprehensive and coherent maritime framework for all nations in the region can ensure a stable and secure IOR. Participants noted that as the IOR gains greater significance, there is an increasing need for a more collaborative maritime domain awareness approach. They suggested a comprehensive MDA strategy to help secure a stable maritime environment in the IOR.
- Blue Economy: Participants emphasized the need for India and the U.K. to identify areas for collaboration to enhance the blue economy in the IOR. Doctrine development should focus on tackling illegal activities in the region, and include greater burden sharing, joint patrols, and other multilateral organizations, they stated.
- The Way Forward: Participants highlighted the importance of navy to navy engagement to enhance India-U.K. cooperation. They stated that the India-U.K. partnership is critical to the two nations’ diplomatic and strategic framework. All participants agreed on the need to adhere to a rule-based order in the Indian Ocean Region.
This event summary was prepared by Rhea Menon, an intern at Carnegie India.