South Africa and security building in the Indian Ocean Rim

Author/s (editor/s):

Greg Mills

Publication year:


Publication type:

Policy paper

Canberra Papers on Strategy and Defence No. 127

Through an examination of the nature of the security agenda in Indian Ocean rim (IOR) states and in the light of ongoing diplomatic initiatives in the region, this study provides a number of policy guidelines both for assessing the likely success of the various IOR initiatives and, specifically, for addressing regional security difficulties.

The IOR remains a diverse and geographically nebulous region in which there is no common view of security. There is also a danger that the embryonic IOR trade facilitation process may be undermined if security issues are handled within the first-track IOR Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC). Although the second-track diplomatic process may be a less contentious forum for dealing with these issues, the political will and the funding necessary for this to progress are currently lacking.

Against a backdrop of the increasing importance of maritime issues in developing countries, naval cooperation could significantly enhance and improve regional confidence, and act also as a confidence-building measure. An IOR Naval Symposium, based on the template provided by the Western Pacific Naval Symposium, could be a most appropriate format for addressing IOR maritime issues.

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