A nice survey of a big game going on around the Indian Ocean here:
My fellow passengers and I have also witnessed recent signs that, as the rise of India and China continues, the Indian Ocean will soon match the Pacific in geostrategic importance. In Kochi, our cruise liner passed an impressive grey flotilla of destroyers and frigates at the Indian navy's southern command base.The author says "chess" - I'm thinking "Risk."
In Mumbai, we moored near one of India's two operational aircraft carriers (a third is on the way) - reminders of the country's growing focus on security in the ocean that carries its name.
And no patch of this ocean's 73.5 million sq km of water will be more important than the SLOC we are passing through. More than 50 oil tankers navigate these latitudes daily; by 2020, up to 200 are expected daily, carrying some 80 per cent of the Asia-Pacific's energy consumption from the Middle East.
Ahead of this, China and India are scrambling for advantage around the ocean's rim. On this lazy morning on board, to our north-east, China is building military and perhaps naval links with Bangladesh and Myanmar.
Click on the map to make it bigger.