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Colombo Security Conclave UPSC NOTE

 What is Colombo Security Conclave(CSC)

  • The CSC reviewed the developments and progress made in the last year and agreed upon a road map for the year 2024 to promote a safe, secure, and stable Indian Ocean. 

  • The meeting also included member-states, Mauritius and Sri Lanka, and observer-states, Bangladesh and Seychelles

  • The Maldives, now under a new dispensation, was the only member-state that was absent, underscoring the impact of domestic politics over regional collaboration. 

  • It is imperative for India to continue pushing for a proactive CSC to address the challenges in the Indian Ocean.

Changing dynamics

  • The CSC underscores the evolving dynamics of the Indian Ocean

  • The organisation came into its own in 2011, with Sri Lanka joining India and the Maldives for a trilateral maritime security grouping but came to a standstill after 2014 due to rising tensions between India and the Maldives. 

  • In 2020, India not only pushed for the revival and institutionalisation of the organisation but also expressed interest in expanding the CSC to Mauritius, the Seychelles, and Bangladesh

  • The push for the CSC demonstrates India’s evolving strategic vision for the Indian Ocean. 

  • The Indian Ocean is at the heart of an evolving multipolar world today, with extra-regional powers competing to make inroads in the region.

  • This competition will further increase as the Indo-Pacific’s importance grows.

  • For India, a traditional power in the region, the CSC offers an opportunity to strengthen its leadership and security architecture

  • India has played an increasing role in promoting security in the Indian Ocean

  • The lack of capacity of island nations to secure the seas and counter transnational threats has continued to motivate India to assist them in

defence and security-related capacity building, infrastructure development, and equipment provision

  • India has also played a vital role as the first responder in the region, be it to avert coups or to offer humanitarian and economic assistance during COVID-19 and multi-faceted crises. 

  • The CSC offers India an opportunity to institutionalise its role, shape the regional security architecture, and better address the existing and emerging threats.

A revival that is linked to the China factor

  • China is another crucial reason for the revival of CSC. 

  • Since the early 2000s, Beijing has invested substantively in the Indian Ocean with its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects, helping it access the Indian Ocean. 

  • Beijing’s outreach to the Indian Ocean is to control the crucial sea lines of communication and trade and to limit India’s influence and presence

  • China is not only strengthening its naval capabilities; it also maintains strong defence relationships with states in the Indian Ocean

region and also conducts regular maritime exercises in the Ocean

  • It has established a base in Djibouti and controls Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port

  • Finally, it also wants to counter the prevailing security architecture in the Indian Ocean by institutionalising its presence through platforms such as the Indian Ocean Region Forum on Development Cooperation.

  • Despite expressing concerns about some of these developments, India realises that many regional countries do not necessarily consider China a threat. 

The influence of politics

  • Yet, the CSC, as a young institution, remains vulnerable to domestic political changes in its member-states. 

  • The Maldives’s absence from the recent meeting is an example of this vulnerability

  • Two reasons would have likely contributed to its decision: first, to prefer a close relationship with China, or second, to live up to the expectations of the nationalist campaign that have pledged to distance the Maldives from India on defence cooperation. 

  • But, this use of nationalist and pro-China cards is not exclusive to the Maldives

  • All the members of the CSC are democracies, and these countries play and will continue to use both the cards for their domestic and external benefits as the Indo-Pacific region grows in prominence. 

  • For New Delhi, whose ambitions, responsibilities, and threats have increased significantly in the last decade, the CSC will remain an important instrument to help it consolidate its regional leadership.


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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Colombo Security Conclave UPSC NOTE
Colombo Security Conclave UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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