Context: India has been approved as an observer state for Indian Ocean Commission.
Indian Ocean Commission
It is a five nation grouping in the Western Indian Ocean, which includes Madagascar, Comoros, Seychelles, Mauritius and French Reunion.
- The decision to join the IOC marks a part of the government’s push for greater salience in the whole Indian Ocean Region (IOR), including what is called the Western or African Indian Ocean.
- The IOC is also significant for its geographical location, as the islands sit around a “key choke point” in the Indian Ocean — the Mozambique Channel.
- This channel is being watched more closely as the U.S.Iran tensions threaten the Strait of Hormuz.
- With the decision, India will join China, which was made an observer in 2016,
- Given China’s growing presence in the region, India hopes to increase its naval presence and gain support for its maritime projects across the Indo Pacific, beginning at East African shores.
- It can also be seen as deepening strategic partnership with France as well as its expanding ties with the Vanilla Islands.
Imae Source: IOTC