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Security problems of small island developing states (SIDS) : with particular reference to the Indian Ocean

Faizal, Farahanaz


Farahanaz Faizal


Paul K. Sutton


In succeeding chapters it will be argued that the characteristics of SIDS results in their security problems being substantially different to those of larger states.

Chapter one seeks to provide the background information about international interest in small states in general and deals with the difficult issue of defining 'smallness'. It also reviews the existing theories of security and applies these theories to SIDS. Although no attempt will be made to give an alternative 'definition' of security it nevertheless attempts to outline security in relation to SIDS. Chapter two examines the concept of vulnerability and seeks to identify the different areas where SIDS are vulnerable. It also strives to identify the special attributes of SIDS pertaining to these states that makes their security environment different to small continental states.

This is followed by Chapter three in which the threats confronting the SIDS are presented drawing insights from the Caribbean and the Pacific. Using examples from these two regions various types of threats are identified in the following: areas: military, political, economical, societal and environmental. Chapter four is devoted to the security scenario of the Indian Ocean. It analyses how the Indian Ocean geopolitics affect the Indian Ocean SIDS, especially the regional security scenario and in the various sub-systems in which the Indian Ocean SIDS are located. It also attempts to identify the changing security pattern of the Indian Ocean from the Cold War setting to the present day.

Chapters five, six and seven are case studies of the Maldives, the Seychelles and Mauritius respectively. They attempt to give an in-depth analysis of the security problems of these states. Each chapter starts with a brief insight into the physical, historical and socio-cultural background of the countries. Next, it analyses the security problems as perceived by the leadership of these countries. It goes on to identify the security capabilities that exist in these countries. Finally, it attempts to identify the current security problems while differentiating security threats into real, potential and latent threats. Chapter eight is divided into two parts. The first part is a comparative analysis of the security problems faced by the three Indian Ocean SIDS. It deals with national, regional and international dimensions of the problems and tries to draw out the similarities and the differences between the three states and why they are so. The second part deals with the responses to the security problems of the SIDS. It identifies existing strategies and responses at various levels: Domestic, Regional and International. It also attempts to identify measures that the SIDS could undertake to enhance their security. Chapter Nine is a brief summary of the findings of this research.

With regard to the Indian Ocean SIDS (IOS), the result of the research shows that these SIDS have security problems that are considerably different to those of larger states; and that these problems are attributable to the characteristics arising out of their smallness and their islandness. Furthermore, the research clearly strengthens the view that there is very little that the SIDS can do to enhance their security. While the geo-politics of the Indian Ocean did influence the security problems faced by these SIDS in the past and still does so to a certain extent, the majority of the problems faced by the Indian Ocean SIDS are due to the fact that they are small and island developing states rather than SIDS located in the Indian Ocean. As such there does not seem to be a common Indian Ocean security problem. On the basis of this, there is very little ground for an Indian Ocean response to the security problems faced by these IOS.


Faizal, F. (1996). Security problems of small island developing states (SIDS) : with particular reference to the Indian Ocean. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Aug 16, 2011
Publicly Available Date Feb 22, 2023
Keywords Political science; Public administration
Public URL
Additional Information Department of Politics, The University of Hull
Award Date Feb 1, 1996


Thesis (16.9 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 1996 Faizal, Farahanaz. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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