The Feasibility of a Zone of Peace

Date of Award


Degree Type

Major Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


Starting in 1964 there has been a movement to declare the Indian Ocean a "Zone of Peace." What the Zone of Peace proposal provides is more valuable than the actual resolution. Empirically, it is obvious that nuclear free zones and peace zones have little validity. Historically, the weak have been vanquished by the powerful; their proclaimed neutrality notwithstanding. Consequently, a study of the peace movement in the Indian Ocean may be utilized to investigate why proclamations which attempt to restrict military involvement in a given region are workable. A study of the peace movement in the region rapidly moves toward the discussion of the military posture of the United States and the Soviet Union. Many littoral states argue that a removal of superpower forces would inevitably result in regional concord. This, as we shall see, is unlikely. This remote ocean is actually an area of high intrigue and endemic political maneuver. This paper will focus on the presence of the superpowers in the region, as well as that of China. Other western states with an interest in the area will also be considered. The prospect for peace amongst the littoral states (should the superpowers abandon the Indian Ocean) will also be examined. Lastly, some analysis will be provided which will identify major problems with attempts to proclaim any area of the world as a zone of peace.

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