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Indian Ocean & South Asia Security

CNA analysts who work on Indian Ocean and South Asia security issues draw upon in-country data sources, policy and operational insights, and rigorous methodological approaches. As recognized experts, they have traveled extensively in the region and are in contact with members of strategic communities in these countries. Recommendations given by CNA analysts to policymakers are actionable and anticipate a range of outcomes, across multiple timeframes.

Our work on the Indian Ocean region and South Asia has focused on navy-to-navy relations, security cooperation, crisis response operations, water security, and maritime legal disputes. Increasing areas of focus for CNA analysts include allied and partner interests in the Indian Ocean and non-traditional security issues such as illegal fishing and human trafficking.

Indian Ocean & South Asia Security reports


For more information on CNA's Indian Ocean & South Asia work, contact Nilanthi Samaranayake.

In the News

January 31, 2018

Nilanthi Samaranayake says, “Smaller Indian Ocean countries are getting sucked into a discourse about strategic competition. We’re increasingly seeing the politicization of infrastructure, especially in maritime domain.”

American Center New Delhi: Panel Discussion on Maritime Security in the Indo-Pacific

January 18, 2018

Admiral James Foggo III writes, “The strong relationship between the U.S. and France is a natural “fit” for us to lead and promote the tenets of maritime security and greater freedom of navigation throughout the Indian Ocean.”

CNA: Statement on U.S.- France Naval Cooperation

January 18, 2018

CNA analysts Nilanthi Samaranayake and Mary Ellen Connell discussed France's strategic interests in the Indian Ocean region with Dr. Iskander Rehman of the Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy.

December 21, 2017

CNA study The Future of U.S.-India Naval Relations recommends “a host of steps to address this challenge, including inviting Indian Navy liaisons to U.S. Central Command and Africa Command, discussing cooperation outside of PACOM at the next Maritime Security Dialogue, and opening channels of communication on disaster response, non-combatant evacuation, anti-piracy, and maritime domain awareness outside of PACOM.”

Defense One: “Take Small Steps to Advance the U.S.-India Relationship”

December 2, 2017

Nilanthi Samaranayake says that India's leadership role in the Indian Ocean represents, "a security burden sharing" between India and the United States in the IOR.

The Island: "Indian Ocean Politics of the 21st Century –a View From Sri Lanka"

November 2, 2017

Nilanthi Samaranayake says "The Modi administration appears to have an open mind to altering participation in Malabar, suggesting the potential for Australia to join someday - not necessarily as a permanent member, but as a participant like Japan was before 2016."

Business Standard: "Bolder Now, India Showing More Risk Appetite in Its Relations with China"

October 10, 2017

On October 10, Eric Thompson spoke at the Galle Dialogue in Sri Lanka on “From the Outside Looking In: Creating Greater Maritime Visibility to Enhance Maritime Security.”

September 19, 2017

The National Interest publishes "Is Diego Garcia at Risk of Slipping From Washington's Grasp?" by CNA SVP Mark Rosen

September 18, 2017

CNA publishes Bangladesh v. India: A Positive Step Forward in Public Order of the Seas by CNA SVP Mark E. Rosen and analyst Douglas Jackson

July 17, 2017

The Straits Times quotes CNA analyst Nilanthi Samaranayake in “China’s First Overseas Naval Base Makes Waves in India”

June 26, 2017

CNA analyst Satu Limaye, Ph.D. moderated a panel on “The Launch of India Matters for America/America Matters for India” at the Hart Senate Office Building on June 26. Learn more.

June 20, 2017

CNA analyst Nilanthi Samaranayake spoke on a panel on “China’s ‘Belt and Road’ Plan, and Three Asian Neighbors” at the U.S. Institute of Peace. Watch the panel here.

May 31, 2017

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace cites CNA’s “The Long Littoral Project: Bay of Bengalby CNA analyst Nilanthi Samaranayake and “Water Resource Competition in the Brahmaputra River Basin: China, India, and Bangladesh,” by CNA analysts Nilanthi Samaranayake, Satu Limaye, Ph.D. and Joel Wuthnow in “It’s Time to Deepen Integration Around the Bay of Bengal”

May 25, 2017

Forbes quotes CNA analyst Nilanthi Samaranayake in “India Should Either Come up with a Better Plan for Sri Lanka or Send a Thank You Note to China”

May 17, 2017

CNA analyst Nilanthi Samaranayake is a panelist at the Stimson event “Strategic Competition in Southern Asia: Arms Race or Modernization”

March 28, 2017

War on the Rocks publishes "Sri Lanka Is Not China’s Pearl in the Indian Ocean" by CNA analyst Nilanthi Samaranayake

March 25, 2017

Forbes quotes CNA analyst Nilanthi Samaranayake in "The Real Reasons Behind China’s Big Investments in Sri Lanka"

March 24, 2017

CNA analyst Satu Limaye, Ph.D. will speak at the seminar "Beyond the Island Dispute: Democracy, Regionalism, and Global Politics in Southeast Asia" on Friday, March 24 at Boston University