Christian Bueger

Small islands states in the Indo-Pacific. Visit to Seychelles

During my recent visit to Seychelles, I participated in an event jointly organized by the University of Seychelles and Khalifa University (UAE). The symposium focused on the strategic consequences of Indo-Pacific thinking and geostrategic rivalries for small island states.

Drawing on my earlier research on small states in the Indo-Pacific, how islands face a militarization dilemma, and how they are able to expand their action space through creole foreign policy, I argued during my talk that Seychelles needs to highly alert to geopolitical dynamics and the new vulnerabilities it causes, and indeed needs to rethink its repertoire of foreign policy tools.

Panelists of the Symposium on the Indo Pacific, University of Seychelles, 7.3.2024

As a champion of the blue economy, and its high profile in counter-piracy, Seychelles has navigated such troubled waters extremely well in the past. However, it is now also time for new ideas.

What such new ideas might be, and how Seychelles could utilize its presidency of the Indian Ocean Commission to shape the global agenda, was one of the core issues of my discussion with representatives from the ministry of foreign affairs. Global ocean politics clearly can benefit from leadership of small states, such as Seychelles.

Public talks on the Western Indian Ocean

In the last week of February I had the pleasure to give two public talks on global ocean politics and the security dynamics in the Western Indian Ocean.

The first talk was generously hosted by the University of Mauritius Faculty of Social Science. In the talk I investigated the rise of global ocean politics and the role of the Western Indian Ocean within it. Showing the politics behind different regional dynamics, I ended with a discussion on the consequence for small island states and the need to develop smart foreign policies. Holding larger states accountable to ensure they engage in stewardship, prioritizing regional integration, and exercising globally visible leadership were some of the strategies I highlighted.

Talk at the University of Mauritius, 28.2.2024

It was followed by comments by Pooja Awotar (Indian Ocean Commission and PhD Candidate at the Centre d’Etudes Diplomatiques et Stratégiques, Paris, France). The discussion focused on what smartness might mean in the current regional environment and how states can escape the militarization dilemma.

The second talk was hosted by the Honorary Consul of Germany to Mauritius. In the talk I provided a short history of the Western Indian Ocean and investigated the different positions of actors in more depth, ending on current challenges such as the crisis in the Red Sea. The discussion centered on the long term consequences of these developments and implications for sustainable development.

Talk at German Business Club, Mokka, Mauritius, 1.3.2024