Can UAE become an Indo-Pacific Sea Power?

Amidst the intensified race over connectivity in the Indo-Pacific in a competitive infrastructure marketplace, the UAE is positioning itself to play an important role through strategic investments in ports abroad and extensive maritime engagements. Having established a strong presence in the Horn of Africa through investment in port infrastructure, the UAE is now keen to expand its regional influence in the South Asia sub-region of the Indian Ocean, and beyond into the larger Indo-Pacific. This issue brief outlines the emergence of the UAE as a sea power through such investments while highlighting how the Emirates’ limited participation in the governance of the Indo-Pacific is limiting its influence. It makes a case for the UAE to take a more proactive role in complementing its economic investments with participation in regional governance initiatives to help secure a truly free and open Indo-Pacific.

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