Sidra Tariq

Ms Sidra Tariq is Research Analyst at the Institute of Regional Studies, Islamabad.

DOI: http://DOI Number

Keywords: Supremacy, Maritime Asia, China, India, IOR, SCS, Security dilemma, SLOCs, modernization, String of Pearls, Indian Ocean, encirclement


Authority over the seas Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and South China Sea have been China and India’s main point of dispute in Asia (SCS). In India, the security establishment views China’s efforts to modernise its military, expand its power projection into the Indian Ocean, and strengthen economic and political ties with states in the IOR as a threat to India’s hegemonic position in the region. Consistent with this view, many in India believe that China’s String of Pearls is an effort to stifle India’s political, commercial, and energy interests in the region through the use of military force. China is increasing its naval presence in the IOR by funding the construction of military and intelligence facilities in friendly states, and this is what this term refers to. India has long considered the Indian Ocean to be its own, given its position as a resident and dominant power there. In this paper, we revisit the String of Pearls discussion and look at the security dilemma between China and India in the Indian Ocean. This paper analyses the strengths and weaknesses of the Indian and Chinese strategic postures in the IOR, the controversy surrounding the String of Pearls plan, concluding that China lacks the strategic, technical, and logistical wherewithal to maintain an “encirclement” policy toward India in the Indian Ocean.

First Published

June 25, 2016

How to Cite

Sidra Tariq, “Sino-Indian Security Dilemma in the Indian Ocean: Revisiting the String of Pearls Strategy,” Regional Studies 34, no.3 (Summer 2016): 3-28,


Volume 34, Issue 3