The admission of Russia as a conversation partner of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) has opened up a slew of possibilities for cooperation with India, including a potential maritime security architecture to restore balance in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and scientific and research activities.
While the parameters of regional maritime security architecture may vary in the future, Russia’s involvement in India might be bolstered by its Navy conducting port calls and strengthening Navy-to-Navy cooperation and joint exercises. India is the IOR’s net security supplier, and the first 2 +2 (Foreign and Defense Ministerial Meeting) in New Delhi on December 6 looked into the prospect of bilateral cooperation in the region. The regional maritime security architecture, which includes India and Russia, is anticipated to focus on achieving equilibrium in the face of geopolitical flux in the region.
It may be recalled that India supported Russia’s application to join the IORA conversation and has been encouraging Moscow to participate in IOR. In the near future, India and Russia will sign the Reciprocal Exchange of Logistics Agreement (RELOS). In 2022, the two countries may sign a navy-to-navy MoU.
‘India–Russia Cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region, Arctic, and Russian Far East,’ according to a recent article. “India’s key position in the northern IOR bestows upon it a unique role,” wrote Anurag Bisen (Research Fellow) of the Institute of Defence Studies Analyses. Several extra-regional countries regard India as the first responder in a disaster, a net contributor of regional security, and desire collaborative marine partnerships with India… Russia is the only major power in the IOR that does not have a permanent presence. Despite the fact that few people believe Russia to be a major factor in the Indian Ocean, it has long attempted to construct permanent bases there. The addition of Russia as a conversation partner of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) on November 17, 2021, indicates an implicit acceptance of its vital position in the changing geopolitics of the Indian Ocean.”
One of Russia’s foreign policy priorities, according to its National Security Strategy, updated in July 2021, is its relations with India and China. The most important objective in the Indian Ocean Region, according to Russia’s National Maritime Doctrine of 2015, is the “development of cordial relations with India.”
Russia is now involved in anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia and has emerged as a significant partner for Mozambique and Madagascar, in addition to announcing the establishment of a naval facility in Sudan (which would improve Russian Navy access to the West Asian region).