India’s economic growth and prosperity are increasingly being shaped by circumstances outside its borders. Most prominently, trade and access to energy are now critical components of the Indian economy. In addition, the Indian diaspora, which is a source of significant remittances, also needs protection and evacuation. Thus, India’s economic and national interests are gradually spreading outwards from its borders. Also, at times, the Indian military has been deployed for security operations – for instance, in anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia and in overseas humanitarian and disaster relief operations. In light of its capabilities and possible overseas role, the Indian military has been called a ‘net security provider’ in the region. This report, therefore, focuses on examining the Indian military’s Out-of-Area Contingency (OOAC) operations.
In examining this topic, the report analyses previous deployments of the Indian military outside its borders, including in United Nations Peacekeeping Operations (UNPKO), evacuation of Indian citizens from conflict zones and in active operations like Sri Lanka from 1987–90 and the Maldives in 1988. It then examines the current capacity and trends for executing such operations. Finally, it makes recommendations not only for the Armed Forces but for other relevant agencies as well, such as the Ministries of Defence and External Affairs, the National Security Council and the Cabinet Secretariat.