Maritime Boundaries

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After the cold war ended, the Asia Pacific Region witnessed new developments in ocean management, related to 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of Sea (UNCLOS) and countries’ to claim ownership over maritime space and marine resources. Though the prospects of interstate wars are diminishing, inter-state tensions arising from extensive claims of maritime boundaries are common. As such, it became imperative for states to strengthen their navies and to deploy their naval missions beyond the territorial waters in order to secure their interests and sovereignty. The situation with ASEAN is no different. While maritime security environment among ASEAN nations has changed, especially with newly emerging and more divers threats. At the same time, trans-boundary issues have required most of the ASEAN navies to redefine their roles. Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam are among the navies in ASEAN that acquiring state-of-art naval capabilities including surface platforms, anti ship missiles, submarines and maritime patrol aircraft and unmanned platforms. Most navies in the region rush to modernise maritime forces due to high levels of naval activity, increased spending and response to the possible threat of maritime related crime. As such, Confidence Building among navies is essential to avoid conflict and confrontation particularly among navies the Southeast Asia.


As observed by Carlye A. Thayer, the general strategic outlook in the Asia Pacific region is positive over the next decade , nonetheless, there is significant naval expansion in the Asia Pacific Region in the 2000s. Richard A. Bitzinger noted that “From Japan to Southeast Asia to India, regional maritime forces have been adding new capabilities...

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...purpose fighter jets, battlefield tanks, helicopters and submarines the same year. The aggressive military modernization by many member state of ASEAN was to resume their procurement program that was disrupted by the 1997 financial crisis. Moreover, ASEAN economic recovered and in 1999, the ASEAN economic growth rate was about 5%. Most of the ASEAN countries enjoyed positive economic growth rates between 3%-8% and the sustainable economic growth encouraged ASEAN countries to increase defense and military spending (see: Figure 1 & 2 shows the increase in maritime related arms procurement among). Malaysia’s military expenditure increased from US$ 1.7 billion to US$ 3.5 billion and Indonesia’s from US$ 2.2 billion to US$ 4.2 billion between 2002 and 2007; and Singapore’s expenditure increased from US$ 4.6 billion to US$ 6.1 billion between 2000 and 2007.

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