Libmonster ID: IN-1274
Author(s) of the publication: B.c. SHETH (India)

B. C. SHETH, Professor, University of Mumbai (Bombay)

Since time immemorial, the Indian Ocean has been plied by boats and small boats of tribes who lived on its warm shores. Asian and African navigators traded not only with each other, but also with Greece and Rome before the Christian era.

Given the technological capabilities of the various communities that lived in the coastal areas at that time, the Indian Ocean was a single ecumene for them.

Trade and movement of people within its borders were generally peaceful. They were complemented by cultural and humanitarian exchanges. So, with a certain degree of convention, we can assume that globalization was already taking its first steps there in those distant times.

All this changed with the Great Discoveries. Since the 16th century, Europeans have been building major sea trade routes across the Indian Ocean. Their irrepressible desire to enrich themselves inevitably led to the internationalization of trade, population migration, and the creation of new societies with their own linguistic and cultural characteristics.

It can be said that after the development of sea routes to the East, the Indian Ocean was turned by Europeans into its own internal lake. Trade between the peoples of the coastal countries was subordinated to the interests of the main trading countries of Europe. The resulting increase in their material well-being led to the development of science and technology and the subsequent transformation of the political and economic institutions of European societies. The monarchical feudal order was destroyed, and democratic national states emerged in its place. The strengthened commercial and industrial classes became the basis of the new European political structure. Thanks to scientific and technological advances in transport, communications and medicine, which have made it possible to overcome geographical barriers and resist diseases and other dangers, stable trade and commercial ties with overseas countries have been established.

The changes in Europe have profoundly affected both the nature of relationships between people and those between deeply different and distant societies. The pace and direction of international interaction during the second phase of globalization, which began on the verge of the 15th and 16th centuries, changed again in the 18th and 19th centuries. Globalization moved forward within the framework of colonialism and imperialism, which imposed cooperation between dependent peoples living in different geographical areas, in accordance with their interests. All new coastal territories passed (sometimes changing owners) under colonial and imperial control. For example, the Cape Colony in South Africa finally came under the rule of Great Britain at the beginning of the XIX century, and in the late 60s of the same century, the East India Company lost its role as a trading instrument of English merchants, which quickly turned into a state organization for managing British possessions in India. At the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885, Great Britain peacefully divided some territories of sub-Saharan Africa with other European powers,

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and then waged a brutal war with white Afrikaners for control of the gold and diamond mines of South Africa.

During this period, the Indian Ocean became the main transport system for the movement of European goods, human and material resources intended for colonization of both the adjacent countries and the countries of the Far East. At the beginning of the 20th century, the coastal countries of the Indian Ocean acquired special geo-economic and geostrategic significance, as significant mineral resources, including oil and natural gas, were discovered here. As a result, the importance of controlling the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, through which all these resources were sent in a continuous stream to Europe, has increased even more. By controlling the ocean's waters, bays, and narrow entrances and exits to the ocean with the help of its fleet, Great Britain was able to take control and use the vast resources of the Indian Ocean basin countries in two world wars.

The dynamics of globalization since World War II have been radically different from those seen in previous centuries. The use of a significant part of military technologies in civilian areas has further accelerated the already growing pace of scientific and technological progress. Thanks to the introduction of new, more advanced means of communication and communication, an unprecedented rapid exchange of information between peoples in different parts of the world has become possible. Advances in computer science, transportation, and military technology in the first two decades after the end of World War II made the world seem smaller, fundamentally changing global interactions.

Along with the achievement of their internal and external consolidation, the interconnection between national States is growing during this period. The ideological rivalry between the superpowers during the Cold War determined both the provision of aid by the United States to Western European countries in accordance with the Marshall Plan, and the formation of a system of military-political blocs within the two opposing world systems.

Globalization is to some extent the result of a particular state policy. The formation of the United Nations, which has global political, economic and military influence, reinforced the process of economic globalization that began in the XIX century, initiated by the imperialist powers at that time. However, the UN, unlike the imperialist Powers of the nineteenth century, depends in its international political activities on the positions of its member States. The United Nations in the post-war period recognized the right of colonial peoples to determine for themselves by whom and how they should be governed. All these changes in global politics, which took place in a short period of time (a little more than a decade), and the decline of the main colonial imperialist powers within the framework of the new world alignment of forces led to the rapid disintegration of colonial empires.

The process of decolonization in the 50s and 60s led to two main consequences in the Indian Ocean basin. First, countries and peoples with very different territories and populations, with varying degrees of political, economic and social viability, have gained independence one after another. The result was a power vacuum that created political instability in the Indian Ocean basin. This has seriously worried the elites of Western countries, whose well - being largely depends on the import of more than fifty different types of strategic materials from the region-manganese, cobalt, titanium, chromium, platinum, tin, nickel, iron, lead, copper and others. Western European countries, Japan and the United States import 70, 76 and 25 percent of their total oil consumption from the Indian Ocean basin, respectively. In addition, a significant amount of agricultural products, including tea, coffee, rubber, and sesame, are exported from there to the West.

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The second consequence of rapid decolonization was the formation of economies dependent on external forces in the countries of the Indian Ocean basin. Asymmetric economic relations have led to further unification of the Third World countries in general and the Indian Ocean basin countries in particular.

The emergence of quasi-states with dependent economies in the post-war period was accompanied by the involvement of the countries of the Indian Ocean basin in the sphere of neo-colonialist influence, including through the creation of military bases here and the provision of economic and military assistance from States belonging to rival ideological camps. The Indian Ocean and its uninhabited islands were used to house nuclear weapons, air and naval forces, and United States Army personnel.


In the post-war period, the tendency to form various international organizations to maintain the physical and economic security of peoples, which was already evident in the XIX century, intensified. The idea of creating an economic association, originally put forward by the nation states of Western Europe, captured the imagination of the ruling circles of the "third world" countries after their independence. The pace and dynamics of globalization underwent a profound transformation in the 1990s, resulting from the revolution in information technology and communications. Combined with the revolutionary changes in biotechnologies and agricultural production, which opened up new prospects for technological progress and economic growth, they have seriously affected the development of international relations. The restructuring of the centralized political and economic system towards economic liberalization in a number of former socialist countries has opened up opportunities for them to achieve economic development rates comparable to those of Western countries.

With the collapse of the communist command economy and the political structures that define it, under the influence of the revolution in the development of mass communications, information and other technologies, the Cold War ended. As the world became unipolar, international capital became more mobile. After the end of the Cold War, the global virtual space took shape not only as a communicative environment, but also as an important area for capital accumulation and operations with it.

In the unfolding process of globalization, models of cooperation and types of conflicts have emerged in a new way. The increasing flows of information, capital, technology, and labor have acquired not only a national but also a global dimension, and by opening up new territory for exchanges and interactions, they have contributed to the process of gradual "dissolution" of national economies. The emerging new spatial dimension was defined by the term "regional space".

The Indian Ocean area includes three politically, economically, socially and culturally distinct continents. Therefore, the rational grounds for developing cooperation in such a vast region are determined not so much by considerations of territorial proximity, but rather by the emerging relations of countries within the so-called new geography. Since globalization entails the transformation of nation-state models into some new organizational forms, it creates a new system of relationships and creates prerequisites for the emergence of new conflicts. After the end of the cold war, some long-standing conflicts were resolved, but very soon the era of globalization gave rise to new ones. While conflicts generated by terrorism and drug trafficking pose a threat to the world community, ethnic conflicts, genocide, separatist armed movements and illegal arms trade threaten the security of specific national States and regions.

The challenges of post-Cold War changes have forced the countries of the Indian Ocean basin to try to overcome their deep differences and cooperate in the creation of the Indian Ocean Association for Regional Cooperation (ARSIO). Important impulses in this regard were: the end of the Cold War, the end of the international isolation of South Africa, the design (based on the GATT) The World Trade Organization (WTO), the beginning of economic liberalization in India and other countries of the Indian Ocean basin, the emergence of new types of threats, including environmental, terrorist and criminal ones, the fear of further marginalization of the countries of the Indian Ocean zone in the global economic system. As former South African President Mandela aptly put it, the natural need for developing cooperation, due to historical and geographical complementarities, should be expanded by developing a conceptual framework for Indo-Pacific cooperation, strengthening socio-economic cooperation and other forms of peaceful interaction.

The ARSIO Charter, signed in 1997, is based on the principles of sovereignty, equality, peaceful coexistence, respect for bilateral and multilateral cooperation, territorial integrity, non-interference of Member States in each other's internal affairs, and exclusion of issues that hinder cooperation from discussion within the Association.-

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and consensus-based decision-making. In order to overcome the economic backwardness of the countries of the region, ARSIO decided to develop a program for the development of their economic and trade relations, reaffirmed its commitment to the policy of "open regionalism" and the principles of non-discriminatory entry into the Association of all countries of the Indian Ocean basin. The objectives of ARSIO, defined in the Charter, are: trade liberalization, strengthening economic exchanges, including the intensification of flows of goods, services and human resources within the Association, and infrastructure development. ARSIO's tasks also include promoting trade diversification and foreign direct investment, tourism development, and scientific and technical exchanges. Regional cooperation in the Indian Ocean basin is also aimed at developing a common position and strategy on issues of mutual interest, participating in international forums, and strengthening ties between participating States in the field of human resource development and training.

In its development, ARSIO faces conceptual problems of both a local and global nature, in particular, the problems of membership and defining the boundaries of the region. The maximum number of ARSIO participants may vary (depending on the accepted system of criteria for membership in the organization) in the range from 24 to 38 countries. Of the more than fifteen landlocked African States, about twelve are eligible to apply for ARSIO because of their dependence on Indo-Ocean trade. Three important countries in the region-India, South Africa and Australia - have different views on the problem of expanding the number of ARSIO participants. India's desire to gradually expand the Association was met with opposition from Australia, Indonesia, Singapore and South Africa. Australia considers it necessary for the full development of the Association to include such large countries as Thailand, Bangladesh and Pakistan in its membership; according to India, the participation of Pakistan and France in the activities of ARSIO is problematic due to its strained relations with the former, and the latter does not have the status of a sovereign subject in the Indian Ocean region. South Africa, for its part, would like to see all countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) as new members of ARSIO. This would allow South Africa to better link its policies in the Indian Ocean basin to SADC-related interests, and thus more effectively pursue its policies in both directions.

The position of national economies (as the lowest level in the hierarchy of the world economy) has changed under the influence of globalization. The WTO's efforts to reduce tariff barriers to world trade by 2005, the cross-border activity of TNCs and the development of the global financial market, the spread of a global network of production zones, and the emergence of the non-national Internet (as a factor for the free development of civil society) and semi-private cross-border communities that operate legally but escape traditional jurisdiction-all this has influence on the inclusion of the system of national economies/regions in the new global space. It follows that today, when the concept of time and space, the principles of organizing the production process and market norms are undergoing profound changes generated by the new technological revolution, ARSIO will not be able to revive the classic forms of South-South cooperation.

In addition, regional cooperation that enables Indian Ocean countries to participate more actively in the global economy will help them better address emerging security threats such as low-intensity conflicts (CII). Such threats can be considered to be threats to the sovereign States of the Indian Ocean basin from any non-State and forces sponsored or supported by other States. They can be contrasted with the coordinated mobilization and joint operations of the Navy and Coast Guard units of the member countries.

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ARSIO in the territories of a number of small island States of the Indian Ocean in order to effectively control the coast and vast marine areas.

The Indian Ocean is rich in mineral and biosphere resources, renewable and non-polluting energy sources. The tropical climate favors the prosperity of marine fauna and flora-fish, plants, and marine animals that are used by humans for the consumption and production of medicines and pharmaceuticals. The exclusive economic zones of many coastal countries of the Indian Ocean are rich in oil and gas, polymetallic nodules and thermal water outlets.

The development of marine biosphere and mineral resources, intensive use of transport routes passing through the Indian Ocean, dictate the need for regional cooperation in shipbuilding and repair of watercraft, prevention of pollution of ocean waters as a result of shipwrecks and oil leaks, rational use and protection of biosphere and mineral resources, including oil and gas.

Poverty, population growth, dissatisfaction with popular expectations, religious strife, and border conflicts in mainland areas can destabilize the entire Indian Ocean basin, triggering a conventional or nuclear arms race here, which will give a new reason for external forces to interfere in the affairs of the region. The possibility of turning the Indian Ocean zone into a nuclear storage facility is becoming real, since India and Pakistan already possess nuclear weapons, and several countries-Iran, Israel, South Africa-have the desire to create these weapons. In addition, the United States, Western European countries, Russia and China also intend to make their presence in the Indian Ocean zone more tangible.

The geography of the Indian Ocean provides an opportunity to exert military pressure on the countries of the northern part of it by ground forces, as well as use the Suez Canal, the Strait of Malacca and the Gulf of Aden to control movements at sea. Since the end of the Cold War, Moscow has maintained diplomatic relations with all the coastal and island states of the Indian Ocean basin. It rejects the tendency for a single superpower or a narrow group of countries to dominate the world and recognizes that increased cooperation between various regional organizations can become an important factor in regional and sub-regional security and peacemaking. Moscow supports the Indo-Pacific regional cooperation within the framework of ARSIO, which can strengthen the trend towards multipolarity and strengthen useful interaction in global political and economic processes.

China has vital trade interests in the Indian Ocean basin. It imports about $ 36 billion worth of goods from the region, and its exports reach about $ 28 billion. Many Indo-Ocean countries, such as Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, India, Pakistan, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and Australia, are important trading partners of Beijing. From the point of view of maintaining China's existing interdependent and mutually beneficial relations with the countries of the Indian Ocean zone, the emergence of any dominant or hegemonic naval and military force there may adversely affect China's trade in this region. Beijing is very concerned about the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the growing naval power of coastal States in the Indian Ocean, especially those in Southeast Asia. In this regard, China intends to create a naval base and a communication point in the Bay of Bengal.

In our opinion, the successful development of cooperation between the coastal and island States of the Indian Ocean basin can prevent further marginalization of the Indian Ocean countries in the global economic system, strengthen their ability to deter and prevent terrorist, criminal and environmental threats, and confidently resist the interference of external forces in the affairs of the countries of the region.

* * *

Bretherton's Global Politics, published in 1996, identifies four cornerstones of globalization in the post-cold War era: the technological revolution, the creation of a global economy, and the growing community of political institutions, as well as universal values and ideas. Each of these factors (processes) affects the development of the situation in the continental, coastal and island States of the Indian Ocean basin and in its waters. The formation of the ARSIO institutional mechanism is intended to be a response of the States of the Indian Ocean zone to the changed dynamics and pace of the globalization process in the period after the end of the Cold War. Since the 15th century, the Indian Ocean has been an important center of international relations and will continue to be so in the 21st century.

The success (or non-success) of ARSIO will determine whether the Indian Ocean basin States will remain subordinate, marginalized participants in the global system, or whether they will be able to shake off the shackles of dependence on Western Europe, the United States, and Japan and prevent other major States from interfering in the affairs of the basin countries.

Translated from English by V. USOV


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