Indian Ocean Conference

Against the backdrop of escalating tensions and geopolitical maneuvering, leaders and diplomats convened at the Indian Ocean Conference in Perth beginning on 9th February, 2024, to address growing concerns over the militarization of the region and the intensifying competition among major global powers.

Key Points

  • Regional Concerns: Participants at the conference, including Sri Lankan President underscored the pressing issue of increasing militarization in the Indian Ocean region.
  • Indian External Affairs Minister Remarks: Indian External Affairs Minister delivered a keynote address highlighting India's stance on international rule of law and calling out destabilizing activities, particularly referencing China's actions.
  • Complex Balancing Act: With increased naval presence from countries like India, the U.S., Australia, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and China, littoral states find themselves under pressure to align with one power over others, shrinking their maneuvering space.
  • Tensions and Diplomatic Moves: Recent diplomatic tensions, such as Sri Lanka's moratorium on foreign research vessels docking in its ports and the presence of Chinese warships in the region, added to the discussions.
  • Australian Foreign Minister emphasized the importance of sovereign choices in addressing regional stability, amidst questions about Australia's stance on foreign research vessels in the region.