Japan’s Naval Diplomacy in the Bay of Bengal: In Pursuit of a Sound Peacetime Commitment Strategy in Establishing a Stable Maritime Order

Today, Japan’s naval diplomacy has become one of the key elements in securing peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. Notably, the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (MSDF) has focused on strengthening its peacetime commitment strategy which is designed to establish a more stable international security environment and to deter armed attack, rather than to exert itself in the traditional so-called “gunboat diplomacy.” This strategy is pursued directly and indirectly by means of bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the realm of maritime security with the U.S. as well as other likeminded countries including the Republic of Korea, Australia, ASEAN countries and India. This article explores the growing importance of Japan’s peacetime maritime commitment strategy, specifically in the Bay of Bengal which has increasingly become an area of strategic and economic competition between rising regional powers such as China and India in the midst of relative decline of the U.S. influence in the region.

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