Book Review: David Brewster. 2014. India’s Ocean: The Story of India’s Bid for Regional Leadership

Published date01 August 2015
Date01 August 2015
Subject MatterBook Reviews
Book Reviews 229
‘the first “Indian” reading’ (p. 256) of the deeply nuanced history that has developed
between the two countries in their dealings from 1947 onwards. Chaudhuri’s clos-
ing remark that ‘India will never be an ally of the US’ (p. 259), rather than appearing
bleak, brings what is a thoroughly researched and argued thesis to a conclusion that
sheds tremendous light on the need for a deeply engaged reading of how one of the
most significant powers of the global South views itself in relation to the world and
vice versa. India’s desire to be political independent, whilst not directly expressed
in written policy, is shown through its reaction to crisis.
Forged in Crisis shows how realism and idealism are tied together to form the
nuanced timeline of the United States–India relations, the mix of ‘ideas with inter-
ests’ being the expressed key to understanding the policy outcomes that India has
strived for. Its accessible narrative style will make it of equal value and interest to
those both inside and outside of academia, and its ‘Indian’ approach to Indian
politics contributes a fresh and percussive perspective to the growing body of
literature surrounding the emerging powers of the global South.
Darcy Rowe
Murdoch University, Australia
David Brewster. 2014. India’s Ocean: The Story of India’s Bid for Regional
Leadership. London, UK: Routledge. 228 pp. ISBN: 978-0-415-52059-1
DOI: 10.1177/2347797015586132
The evolving geopolitics of the Indian Ocean has already raised the importance of
the region. From being just a pathway, it has become the most strategic highway
for international trade in the contemporary world. Needless to mention, the recent
Chinese increasing foothold in the Indian Ocean is responsible to an extent for this
changing perception about the ocean. As appropriately stated by the naval strate-
gist A.T. Mahan, ‘whosoever controls the Indian Ocean will rule the world’.
India’s Ocean: The Story of India’s Bid for Regional Leadership is one of the
most recent perspectives on the state of the Indian Ocean littoral. Spread over
11 chapters, the book covers the role of internal and external powers in the third
largest ocean. The theories of Barry Buzan and Saul Cohen are thoroughly knit-
ted with the detailed account of the region. Almost all quadrants and interquad-
rants of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and their relations with India are
discussed in details. Remarkably, the author discusses all the previous coopera-
tive initiatives in the region, such as, the India–Brazil–South Africa maritime
(IBSAMAR) exercise, Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation
(IOR-ARC) and Regional Maritime Security Initiative (RMSI), which are not
commonly discussed today.
The first two chapters of the book delve into the history of the region and attempt
to make a strategic survey of the Indian Ocean as a basis for understanding India’s

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