Challenge of Maritime Security in the Global South


    Syllabus: GS2/ Agreements Involving India &/or Affecting India’s Interests

    In Context

    • There is a need to have a strong maritime system to meet the evolving challenges of maritime security in the Global South.

    Global South & Maritime Security

    • India’s emphasis on Global South:
      • Throughout its G20 presidency, India has sought to emphasise the concerns of the Global South in discussions to find solutions to the most pressing issues in the maritime domain.
      • The Global South:
        • Global South includes countries in Asia, Africa and South America
        • The Global South also refers to various countries around the world that are sometimes described as ‘developing’, ‘less developed’ or ‘underdeveloped’.
    • India as a maritime nation:
      • India has interests that are beyond the country’s maritime zones.
        • Almost 95 percent of India’s trade by volume is through the sea route involving 12 major and around 200 non-major ports.
        • India’s 90 percent hydrocarbon requirements are met through seaborne imports and offshore production.
      • Maritime security is a prominent feature of India’s relations with Indian Ocean littoral states. 

    Challenges of Maritime Security in the Global South

    • Newer, evolving challenges:
      • In recent years, evolving security challenges in the maritime domain have acquired a new, menacing dimension. Example being,
        • Ukraine’s growing use of asymmetrical tactics against Russia in the Black Sea or 
        • China’s deployment of maritime militias in the South China Sea., etc.
      • The radical new tactics at sea involve the use of grey-zone warfare, land attack missiles, and combat drones.
    • Unconventional threats:
      • The bulk of the demand for maritime security in recent years has come from states facing unconventional security threats, such as illegal fishing, natural disasters, marine pollution, human and drug trafficking, and the impact of climate change. These are difficult to fight using only military means.
      • These challenges have had a disproportionate impact on less developed states, placing them in a position of vulnerability.
    • Concerns of littoral states:
      • Sustainable development goals in the littorals remain unrealised, as voices from littoral states in Asia, Africa, and the Southern Pacific are ignored by the developed countries.
      • Littoral states in Asia and Africa have unequal law-enforcement capabilities and lack the security coordination required to jointly combat maritime threats. 
      • Many have varying security priorities and are not always willing to leverage partner capabilities to combat threats such as piracy, armed robbery, and maritime terrorism.
        • Some even resist maritime cooperation with partner nations in a bid to reduce reliance on foreign agencies.
    • Challenge of marine governance:
      • The contemporary security agenda is an interconnected set of objectives involving national, environmental, economic, and human security goals
      • The cross-jurisdictional linkages between these diverse areas make them challenging to manage. 
      • This phenomenon is particularly pronounced in the Global South, which finds itself especially challenged in meeting the objectives of marine governance. 
    • Fight against illegal fishing in Asia and Africa: 
      • The sharp uptick in illegal unreported and unregulated fishing has been aided by faulty policies that encourage destructive fishing methods such as bottom trawling and seine fishing.
      • Environmentalists highlight three specific anomalies: 
        • lenient regulations that allow for the misuse of resources; 
        • lax implementation of the law by security agencies; and 
        • the harmful impact of subsidies that states offer to incentivise smaller fishermen to shift to motorised trawling.

    Suggestions & Way ahead

    • Utilisation of resources and personnels:
      • Maritime security is more than a matter of hard military action and law enforcement. 
      • Sea power is increasingly about generating prosperity and meeting the aspirations of the people. 
      • States must be prepared to commit capital, resources, and specialist personnel over prolonged periods to meet security needs. 
    • Integrated form of maritime security:
      • States must also adapt to an integrated form of maritime security operations and overhaul regulatory frameworks to align domestic regulation with international law — an unappealing proposition for many that continue to prioritise sovereignty and strategic independence over collective action.
    • India’s Maritime Vision 2030:
      • India’s Maritime Vision 2030 sets out a creative model. 
      • This 10-year blueprint for the maritime sector envisages the development of ports, shipping, and inland waterways as a way of generating growth and livelihoods.
    • SAGAR Programme (Security and Growth for All in the Region):
      • It is a maritime initiative which gives priority to the Indian Ocean region (IOR) for ensuring peace, stability and prosperity of India in the Indian Ocean region.
      • SAGAR involves increasing maritime domain awareness.
        • This is implemented through the Integrated Coastal Surveillance System.
      • As part of SAGAR the Indian government, the Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard have assisted countries in the Indian Ocean region with exclusive economic zone surveillance, search and rescue, and other such activities, including first responder initiatives.
        • Coastal radar systems have been sponsored in a number of Indian Ocean region countries.
    • India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative:
      • It rests on seven pillars including maritime ecology, marine resources, capacity building, disaster risk reduction, and maritime connectivity. 
      • It acknowledges that countries need collective solutions to their common problems, especially since they remain economically interdependent. 
      • It is to India’s credit that the initiative has the support of major Indo-Pacific states, many from the West.
    Daily Mains Question
    [Q] What are the challenges of maritime security in the Global South? Analyse India’s role in the security of the Global South, especially in the maritime domain.