Monday, November 18, 2013

Indian Ocean Security Issues

Greetings from the Australian National University in Canberra, where Clive Williams is speaking on "Security Issues in the Indian Ocean: Maldives Case Study". Professor Williams pointed out that the Maldives is smaller than the ACT and vulnerable to sea level rises. There were 108 people killed in the 2008 tsunami. The RAF had an airbase in the Maldives, but this was moved to Diego Garcia, about 1,000 km south. The Commonwealth suspended the Maldives from its democracy and human rights committee due to suspected violations. The Maldives is a  Sunni Islam state. The defence force has a budget of $45M with some patrol boats, acting essentially as a supplement to the police force, which are essentially water police.

The Chinese Peace Ark hospital ship recently visited the islands. However, the Maldives government is unlikely to permit a permanent PLA Navy presence due to pressure from India. Professor Williams referred to "Indian Ocean : a sea of uncertainty", by Leighton G. Luke (Future Directions International, 2012).

Professor Williams  discussed the idea of an Australian funded police training centre for the Indian Ocean region located in the Maldives. Although I did wonder if Western Australia would be a better location.

The issue of Indian Ocean security is topical with the Australian Prime Minister having just announced that two second hand Bay-class patrol boats would be donated to Sri Lanka. These vessels are used by customs in Australia and so are very lightly armed with one machine gun, but are likely to be up-gunned by Sri Lanka. 
The Centre for Military & Security Law, ANU College of Law invite you to attend a Public Lecture: Security Issues in the Indian Ocean: Maldives Case Study, to be presented by Clive Williams MG, Visiting Professor at the Centre for Military and Security Law, ANU College of Law.

The Maldives is seen by many Australians as a tranquil paradise and ideal holiday destination - but it faces serious security challenges related to growing Islamisation, stymied democracy, political corruption, organised crime, and a subverted judiciary. It also has a constitution that is in breach of human rights law. The Maldives has a range of connections to regional countries and these often affect the Maldives' security situation.

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