Date of Graduation

Fall 2008


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

Bradley Thayer


The Indian Navy is undergoing a major expansion and modernization. Does the Navy's transformation reflect a new maritime strategy for India, or are there other reasons for what is happening? If a new strategy, then what is it and will the Indian Navy be able to execute? This paper examines the reasons behind India's current naval buildup and argues that these changes reflect a fundamental shift in India‟s maritime strategy: India, a medium power, is striving to gain the equivalent of superpower status in the Indian Ocean region. Unlike other medium powers, India's maritime strategy is to achieve a position of benevolent dominance in its region of influence - to be the protector of the weak and punisher of the wicked. As viewed from New Delhi, the Indian Ocean is destined to become India's ocean - mare Varuna. The Indian Navy's role is to ensure peace and tranquility in the region. An evaluation of the Navy's ability to carry out this strategy, however, reveals a number of weaknesses that need to be overcome.


India, navy, strategy, maritime strategy, naval strategy, Indian Ocean

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


© William J. Nichols

Campus Only