Abstract

Far from being ‘naturally’ delineated by geography or bound solely through shared culture, regions are actively constructed by states and other actors pursuing specific interests. In this article, we analyse the region-building efforts of two rising powers – Brazil and India – as they work to project power and enhance their influence within the Atlantic and Indian oceans, respectively. Through a comparison of their behaviours within their maritime spaces – including naval build-up, international cooperation, and efforts to revive institutions such as ZOPACAS and IOR-ARC – we argue that Brazil and India are paying increasing attention to oceanic rims, albeit for somewhat disparate reasons. While India is increasingly concerned with the role of China within the Indian Ocean, for which it has had to rely on US support, Brazil is primarily driven to protect its oil and to minimise the role of the US and NATO in the South Atlantic. In both spaces, however, the rise of so-called non-traditional threats, including piracy, has further motivated these states’ maritime power strategies. The analysis suggests that, within the context of the post-Cold War period, rising powers have begun redefining their strategic regions in terms of their maritime perimeters as a way to project power and influence beyond their continental vicinities.

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