India’s own string of pearls: Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Seychelles and Maldives

On 7 March, Shiv Shankar Menon, India’s National Security Advisor, announced that the Indian Ocean island states of Seychelles and Mauritius had joined India’s naval arrangement with Sri Lanka and the Maldives in a new Indian Ocean security grouping that some have called the ‘IO-5’.

The new arrangement signals a significant consolidation of India’s leading security role among the Indian Ocean islands. It is a manifestation of last year’s announcement by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that henceforth India should be seen as a ‘net security provider to the region.’ While Mr Singh did not specify the boundaries of India’s ‘region’ it was clear that much of the initial focus was on the Indian Ocean islands. Continue reading