India's Theatre Expansion: Use of Sea Power to Balance China's Rise



Issue: Jan-Feb 2021

There are geopolitical, strategic and historical reasons for a competitive and adversarial relationship between China and India. The border dispute is both a symptom and a trigger of this adversarial relationship. While border defences and the use of land and air power along the Himalayan frontiers is essential given the nature of the dispute, they are insufficient to deter China from using military provocations to unsettle India's foreign policy and limit it to a sub-continental power. This paper argues that sea power affords India the best way of managing China in the Indo-Pacific region. The development and demonstration of maritime power, particularly in the Indian Ocean and to the east of the Malacca Straits allow India a range of options in explicit and implicit strategic negotiations with Beijing.


Sino-Indian Border Dispute, Indian Ocean, Indo-Pacific, People's Liberation Army (Navy), Line of Actual Control

Author Bio

Suyash Desai, Takshashila Institution

Suyash Desai is a research analyst working in the China Studies Programme at The Takshashila Institution where he researches on China’s defence and foreign policies. He also publishes a weekly newsletter on the Chinese People's Liberation Army called The Takshashila PLA Insight.  He completed his M Phil from Jawaharlal Nehru University specialising in Asian regionalism and international organisations. 






Political and Defence Strategy