This article written by Dr Vijay Sakhuja, Honorary Distinguished Fellow of CPPR looks at the evolving naval coalitions for the Arabian Gulf waters and the future of Gulf security dynamics.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons ( Image for representation )

Three multi-nation naval coalitions are being constituted for the Arabian Gulf waters with a common stated aim of ensuring safe and secure movement of international shipping operating in the Gulf waters. These groupings are driven by a number of competitive political and strategic variables and necessitate an assessment of the future of Gulf security dynamics.

First is the US-led International Maritime Security Construct (IMSC-Op Sentinel) to “promote maritime stability, ensure safe passage, and deescalate tensions in international waters throughout the Arabian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, the Bab el-Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Oman”, after tankers belonging to Japan, Norway, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia were attacked in May and June2019. Some nations have committed to join Operation Sentinel, while others have conveyed a ‘lukewarm’ support. The current list supporting the IMSC includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and non-Arabian Gulf states such as Albania, Australia, the Republic of Korea and the UK. Meanwhile, France and Japan refused to be part of the IMSC and have expressed preference for an alternate security initiative to avoid being involved in any military confrontation between Washington and Tehran; and Germany prefers diplomacy. However, for the UK, the IMSC will reduce risks to British flagged ships transiting the Strait of Hormuz without a Royal Navy escort.

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Views expressed by the author are personal and need not reflect or represent the views of Centre for Public Policy Research

Dr Vijay Sakhuja
Dr Vijay Sakhuja
Dr Vijay Sakhuja is Honorary Distinguished Fellow with CPPR and associated with our Centre for Strategic Studies. Dr. Sakhuja, a former Indian Navy officer, is also former Director, National Maritime Foundation, New Delhi. He earned his MPhil and PhD from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He specializes in issues of national security and public policy, particularly in the context of ocean affairs, geopolitics, Climate Change, Arctic, Blue Economy and 4th Industrial Revolution Technologies.

1 Comment

  1. Dr. Lawrence Prabhakar Williams says:

    Well analysed Dr Vijay Sakhuja. Three dimensions do matter in the present matrices of MNO (Multinational Naval Operations). As envisaged earlier, the relevance of the 1000 Ship Navy comes to significance addressing the Multiple Missions At Sea-
    1. Change and Continuity in templates of Coercion,Compellance, Deterrence vs Dissuasion, Brinkmanship which is Asymmetrical naval operations.;
    2) The spectre of Littoral Warfare in combined Surface-Subsurface-air and space operations predicated on Maritime Domain Awareness empowered by platforms of Artificial intelligence. AI at Sea would provide the Trransformative impetus that would change the nature of warfare at sea in a Networked Sea-Shore- Space continuum;
    3) The age of technology transformation of Railguns and highpowered Lasers on board surface platforms would render all local terrain advantages of asymmetric naval actors at sea.

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