PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2018, Vol. 37 ›› Issue (11): 1510-1520.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2018.11.007

• Special Column: South China Sea and "the Belt and Road Initiative" • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Indian Ocean Passages and their geopolitical impacts on China

Liang WU(), Qi QIN, Dan ZHANG, Shengkui CHENG   

  1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
  • Received:2017-10-09 Revised:2018-10-28 Online:2018-11-28 Published:2018-11-28
  • Supported by:
    Key Deployment Projects of Chinese Academy of Sciences, No. ZDRW-ZS-2016-6, No.ZDRW-ZS-2017-4


The Indian Ocean Passages (IOPs) have been regarded as the lifeline for China's energy and resources access, trade, as well as communication and cooperation with South and West Asian, African, and European countries. With the reshuffle of geopolitical power of the United States in the Asia-Pacific region and the shift of China's geopolitical position with its neighbors, China is in great need of reducing its dependence on the traditional IOPs through the South China Sea and the Malacca Strait and exploring alternative IOPs to leverage its geopolitical risks in these regions, improve domestic economic development pattern, push for further opening-up and development in the border areas in Southwest China provinces, and promote cooperations with Indian Ocean countries. This study offered a preliminary definition and analyzed the characteristics of a passage, summarized current and potential passages in the Indian Ocean, analyzed the strategic value, future prospect, and geopolitical impacts of potential passages for China, and provided novel perspectives and insights for the building of China's Indian Ocean strategy as well as the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative.

Key words: Indian Ocean Passage(IOP), the Belt and Road Initiative, geopolitical impacts, Malacca Strait