Discuss in Detail the New Maritime Security Challenges for the Indian Ocean Region.


CSS Solved International Relations Paper 1 Past Paper | Discuss in Detail the New Maritime Security Challenges for the Indian Ocean Region.

Sheeraz Ahmed, the highest scorer in the CSS IR paper, attempts the following question. The question is attempted in the same way that Miss Abeera Fatima, the top IR scorer, has been attempting. Moreover, the answer is written on the same pattern, taught by Sir to his students, scoring the highest marks in compulsory subjects for years. This solved past paper question is uploaded to help aspirants understand how to crack a topic or question, how to write relevantly, what coherence is, and how to include and connect ideas, opinions, and suggestions to score the maximum. 

Question Breakdown:

The examiner wants to ask about the importance of the Indian Ocean Region in global geopolitics. It specifically pertains to maritime security and challenges in the IOR. It also requires you to mention solutions to those issues in maritime security. Besides, you have to mention analysis through the theoretical lens of International Relations.


1- Introduction

2- Indian Ocean Region: Maritime geopolitics around strategic choke points

3- Maritime Security in International Relations

4- Maritime security challenges in Indian Ocean Region

  • Piracy and armed robbery
  •  Terrorism
  •  Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing
  • Drugs and Human Trafficking
  •  Territorial and Maritime Disputes
  • Climate Change
  • Access and control of critical sea lane

5- Roadmap for the cooperation in Indian Ocean Region

  • Strengthening regional and international cooperation
  •  Capacity building of regional navies
  • Regional agreement to settle the geopolitical issues
  • Economic development to address grassroots issues
  • Use of technology for surveillance

6- Theoretical Framework

  •  Realism
  • Liberalism
  • Regionalism

7- Conclusion

Answer to the Question


The Indian Ocean region is a vital global shipping lane that connects major economic powerhouses, including Asia, and geopolitics Europe. However, this region faces security challenges, such as piracy, armed critical, smuggling, illegal fishing, and human trafficking. These security threats not only disrupt trade and commerce but also endanger the safety of seafarers and the marine environment. Effective collaboration and cooperation among coastal states, international organizations, and the shipping industry are critical to addressing these challenges and maintaining security and stability in the Indian Ocean region.

Maritime security is critical to the stability, prosperity, and security of the Asia-Pacific region and the world.”

– Shinzo Abe, Former Prime Minister of Japan.

Indian Ocean Region: Maritime geopolitics around the strategic choke points

      The Indian Ocean Region (IOR) has become increasingly important in the 21st century due to its strategic location and the presence of major shipping lanes, valuable natural resources, and growing economies. The region is characterized by a complex web of security and economic interests, with many major powers, including India, China, and the United States, and regional players such as Australia, Indonesia, and Iran, competing for influence.

        The first choke point is the Malacca strait between Malaysia, Singapore, and the Indonesian island of Sumatra, which connects Southeast Asia and the western Pacific to the Indian Ocean. The second is the Strait of Hormuz, which is the only sea passage connecting the Persian Gulf to the wider Indian Ocean. The third is the Bab-el-Mandeb strait, which flows between Eritrea and Djibouti in the Horn of Africa and Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula, connecting the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean. Finally, there is also the Mozambique Channel between Madagascar and Mozambique, which is a key trading route for goods transiting the Cape of Good Hope to the Middle East and Asia.

One key aspect of geopolitics in the IOR is the growing competition between India and China, two of the world’s largest economies, for influence in the region. India has traditionally been seen as a dominant player in the IOR, but China’s economic and military growth in recent years has challenged India’s position. This has led to increased strategic competition between the two countries in the region, with China investing in infrastructure projects, such as ports and roads, across the IOR and India seeking to counter China’s influence through partnerships with other countries in the region.

“The Indian Ocean region is rapidly emerging as the global economic center of gravity, and it is critical that we work together to ensure its stability and security.”

– Barack Obama, Former President of the United States

Another important factor in the IOR is the growing role of non-regional powers, such as the United States and Australia, in the region. The United States has a significant military presence in the region. It is actively seeking to counter China’s growing influence, while Australia has focused on strengthening economic and security ties with countries in the region.

Map: Indian Ocean Region with important choke points (Source: Google)

Maritime Security in International Relations

Maritime security refers to the protection of ships, ports, offshore oil and gas installations, and other assets in the domain from various threats, including piracy, terrorism, armed robbery, drug trafficking, and illegal fishing. Ensuring maritime security is critical for global trade, economic development, and maintaining stability and security in the world’s oceans. The responsibility for maritime security is shared among a number of organizations and countries, including the International Maritime Organization, the United Nations, and coastal states. To improve maritime security, a number of measures have been implemented, such as the establishment of security zones around critical infrastructure, the use of naval patrols and surveillance, and the development of international cooperation and information-sharing mechanisms.

“Maritime security is essential for global prosperity, as 90% of world trade is carried by sea.”

– NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg

Maritime security challenges in Indian Ocean Region

The Indian Ocean is a vital region for global peace, stability, and prosperity, and its security and stability are of great significance for the international community.”

 – Xi Jinping, President of China

The Indian Ocean region faces several challenges to its maritime security, including

  • Piracy and armed robbery: Somali-based piracy and armed robbery at sea continue to pose a threat to shipping in the western Indian Ocean, particularly in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea.
  • Terrorism: The threat of terrorism at sea, including the potential for the use of vessels as weapons or the targeting of vessels for an attack, remains a concern in the Indian Ocean region.
  • Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing:IUU fishing is a major challenge in the Indian Ocean region, depleting fish stocks and undermining the livelihoods of coastal communities.
  • Drug and Human Trafficking: The Indian Ocean region is a major transit point for the illegal trade of drugs and people, posing a threat to regional stability and security.
  • Territorial and Maritime Disputes: Territorial and maritime disputes over resources and borders in the Indian Ocean region, such as in the South China Sea, can lead to increased tensions and conflicts among countries in the region, posing a threat to maritime security.
  • Climate Change: The impacts of climate change, including rising sea levels and ocean acidification, can exacerbate existing security challenges and lead to new ones.
  • Access and control of critical sea lanes: The control and access to critical sea lanes of communication, such as the Strait of Hormuz, the Strait of Malacca, and the Suez Canal, are major geopolitical concerns for regional states and global powers.

Example: One example of the impact of piracy on the IOR is the cost that it imposes on the global economy. The International Maritime Bureau estimates that piracy and armed robbery at sea cost the global economy between $7 billion and $12 billion annually. Another example is the problem of illegal fishing, which has led to the depletion of fish stocks and reduced income for local communities in the region, such as in the waters around Somalia.

Roadmap for the cooperation in Indian Ocean Region

“Maritime security is not just about securing the sea; it’s about securing our collective future.”

– Ban Ki-moon, former Secretary-General of the United Nations

 Here are some ways to deal with the challenges of maritime security in the IOR:

  • ✓Strengthening regional and International Cooperation: Collaboration between regional and international actors, such as the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), and the U.S.-led Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), is essential in addressing the security challenges in the IOR. Such cooperation can involve joint patrols, intelligence sharing, and coordinated law enforcement efforts.
  • ✓Capacity Building for regional navies: Enhancing the capacity of coastal states in the IOR to deal with maritime security challenges is crucial. This can include training and equipping their coast guard and naval forces, as well as improving their legal frameworks to address maritime security threats.
  • Regional Agreements to settle the issues of geopolitics: Regional agreements, such as the Djibouti Code of Conduct, can help to create a common understanding of the maritime security challenges in the IOR and to facilitate cooperation and coordination among regional actors.
  • ✓Economic Development to address the issues of the grassroots level:  Addressing poverty and promoting economic development in the coastal communities of the IOR can reduce the incentives for piracy, illegal fishing, and other illicit activities.
  • Use of Technology for surveillance in the sea: The use of technology, such as satellite surveillance and unmanned aerial vehicles, can enhance the ability of regional actors to monitor and respond to maritime security challenges in the IOR.

Example: One example of international cooperation in the IOR is the U.S.-led Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), which was established in 2002 to promote security and stability in the region. The CMF is a multi-national coalition of more than 30 countries and works to counter piracy, terrorism, and other maritime threats in the IOR. Another example of capacity building is the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Blue Economy Cooperation Program, which aims to enhance the sustainable use of the ocean’s resources and promote economic growth in the region.

Theoretical Framework

  • Regionalism: Regionalism highlights the importance of regional actors and institutions in shaping international relations. In the Indian Ocean region, regional organizations such as the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) play a key role in promoting cooperation and addressing security challenges. For example, the IORA has established a working group on maritime security to enhance cooperation and coordination among its member states in addressing security threats in the region.
  • Realism: According to realism, states are the primary actors in international relations and their actions are driven by their pursuit of national security and self-interest. In the context of maritime security in the Indian Ocean region, states may engage in power competition, balancing, and cooperation to secure their interests and protect their sea lanes of communication. For example, India and the United States have strengthened their strategic partnership in the region to counter China’s growing naval presence.
  • Liberalism: Liberalism argues that states can cooperate and work together to achieve common goals, such as ensuring maritime security in the Indian Ocean region. This can be achieved through institutions, norms, and rules that regulate state behaviour and encourage cooperation. For example, the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), which brings together navies from around the region to promote cooperation and confidence-building measure, is an example of regional cooperation in pursuit of maritime security.


In conclusion, the maritime security challenges in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) are complex and multifaceted and pose risks to regional stability, economic prosperity, and global trade. The IOR is facing a range of threats, including piracy and armed robbery, illegal fishing, terrorism, human trafficking, drug and arms smuggling, and territorial disputes. Addressing these challenges requires a multi-faceted approach that involves international cooperation, capacity building, regional agreements, economic development, and the use of technology. Effective cooperation among regional and international actors is essential in ensuring the stability and security of the IOR and the safety of its seas and oceans.

“The Indian Ocean region is not just a geographical expression, but a strategic space that encompasses the interests and aspirations of many countries and peoples.”

– Ban Ki-moon, Former Secretary-General of the United Nations.

CSS Solved Past Papers’ Essays

Looking for the last ten years of CSS and PMS Solved Essays and want to know how Sir Kazim’s students write and score the highest marks in the essays’ papers? Then, click on the CSS Solved Essays to start reading them.

CSS Solved Essays
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Want-to-Write-Argumentatively-the-Way-They-are-Writing.png

CSS Solved General Science & Ability Past Papers

Want to read the last ten years’ General Science & Ability Solved Past Papers to learn how to attempt them and to score high? Let’s click on the link below to read them all freely. All past papers have been solved by Miss Iqra Ali & Dr Nishat Baloch, Pakistan’s top CSS GSA coach having the highest score of their students. 

General Science & Ability Solved Past Papers

CSS Solved Pakistan Affairs Past Papers

Want to read CSS Pakistan Affairs Solved Past Papers and learn how to attempt them to score high? Let’s click on the link below to read them all freely. All past papers’ questions have been attempted by Sir Kazim’s students, who scored the highest in the subject.

CSS Solved Pakistan Affairs

CSS Solved International Relations’ Past Papers

Have you opted for International Relations in the CSS examination and want to score above 150? Then, click on the CSS Solved International Relations’ Past Papers by Miss Abeera Fatima, the top IR scorer and the best IR coach in Pakistan. 

CSS Solved International Relations Past Papers

Articles Might Interest You!

The following are some of the most important articles for CSS and PMS aspirants. Click on any to start reading.

List of Important Idioms for PMS Punjab
List of Important Antonyms for PMS Punjab
How To Write an Evidence in the CSS and PMS Essay Body
How Did I Prepare and Qualify for the PMS Essay and Precis Paper?
100 Must-Read Essays and Solved Past Papers Questions for CSS, PMS Aspirants
Why Do Most CSS, PMS Aspirants Fail Exams?
How Much Is English Important for CSS, PMS Aspirants?
Best CSS and PMS English Essay and Precis Teacher in Pakistan
High-Frequency Words for CSS, PMS Aspirants
CSS Solved Pakistan Affairs Past Papers 
CSS Solved General Science and Ability Past Papers 
CSS Solved Sentence Corrections with Explanations by Sir Kazim
Who Is The Best CSS English Essay and Precis Teacher in Pakistan?

Share Via
Recent Posts


Education Company


Welcome to Cssprepforum, Pakistan’s largest learning management system (LMS) with millions of questions along with their logical explanations educating millions of learners, students, aspirants, teachers, professors, and parents preparing for a successful future. 

Founder: Syed Kazim Ali
Founded: 2020
Phone: +92-332-6105-842
Students Served: 10 Million
Daily Learners: 50,000
Offered Courses: Visit Courses  

More Courses

RS 7000
3 Weeks


RS 15000
Extensive English Essay & Precis Course for CSS
4 Weeks


RS 15000
2 Weeks


error: Content is protected !!