India’s border conflict with China is pushing New Delhi to look for an asymmetric response: flexing its naval might as it deepens cooperation with other democracies that seek to counter Beijing’s global ambitions.
India, which operates one of the world’s largest navies, sits astride shipping routes in the Indian Ocean that connect China to its main sources of oil and gas in the Middle East and to its key markets in Europe. Though growing fast, China’s navy still has only limited ability to operate in a region far from its home shores—and has to contend with the U.S. in its own backyard.
“On the northern border, the best we can hope for is to achieve a stalemate. But at sea, we have an advantage over the Chinese,” said retired Adm. Arun Prakash, a former head of the Indian navy. “