The Indian Ocean Rorschach test

By Nilanthi Samaranayake*

The Rorschach test asks viewers to describe their interpretations of a series of inkblots.

A map of the Indian Ocean evokes a wide range of potential interpretations. A vast sea-lane highway connecting the Middle East to East Asia? The engine of the global economy, ranging from hydrocarbon to container shipping? A series of ports operated or built by China that could someday become military bases? The core of the “Indo-Pacific” region? Its periphery? The Indian Ocean provides a Rorschach test for watchers of the region.

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