Crucible for Survival: Environmental Security and Justice in the Indian Ocean Region

By Timothy Doyle; Melissa Risely | Go to book overview

Preface

In 1998, one of this volume’s editors, Timothy Doyle, published an article in a special edition of the Third World Quarterly dedicated to exploring North-South political geographies. This edition, put together by David Simon and Klaus Dodds, included an array of articles from scholars across the globe, most of whom adopted a critical geopolitical stance. One of the contributors, unbeknownst to Doyle at the time, was an Indian scholar by the name of Sanjay Chaturvedi. Chaturvedi is that most unusual of academics, one who actually reads journal articles and then attempts to construct networks of scholars with like-minded interests to himself. So, with this in mind, Doyle received an email from his fellow contributor, inviting him to come to India to further his research at the Centre for the Study of Geopolitics at Panjab University. So began a close personal and professional relationship with Sanjay Chaturvedi. In one of many meetings in both India and Australia, he explained his decision, along with Dennis Rumley of the University of Western Australia (another remarkable man), to set-up an Indian Ocean Research Group (IORG), whose key objective was to initiate a policy-oriented dialogue, in the true spirit of partnership, among governments, industries, NGOs, and communities, toward realizing a shared, peaceful, stable, and prosperous future for the Indian Ocean Region. The objectives were grandiose, but Chaturvedi and Rumley are the sort of people that make one believe that such a thing could happen and, more importantly, that such a group could make a real contribution to the lives of the many people across the Indian Ocean Region. And so, the cat, as it were, was out of the bag.

Chaturvedi and Rumley argue that the Indian Ocean—and the states that exist on its periphery—possesses enormous geopolitical significance, if only in terms of trade. Given its relative location and the fact that it provides a relatively short and economical link between the Pacific and the Atlantic, it is perhaps not surprising that, not only does the Indian account for the transportation of the highest tonnage of commodities in the world, but that more than three-quarters of this is extraregional trade (IORG 2006). Due to these enormous economic stresses (among others) on the region, environmental factors become extremely important, and will increase in their level of significance in the near future. The Indian Ocean is known to contain an enormous wealth of natural resources, the implications of which is yet to be fully determined. The Indian Ocean Marine Affairs Cooperation (IOMAC) grouping, for example, has already been involved for several years in issues associated with the management of the Indian Ocean tuna fishery. The utilization of these resources, among others, in the context of the delimitation of exclusive economic zones requires careful monitoring and inter-state collaboration.

-viii-

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