A vast expanse that holds a fifth of the water on the Earth’s surface, the Indian Ocean has long been a crossroads for merchants, mariners, and navies. The ocean is critical to the geopolitical and economic fortunes of both its littoral states and outside powers. As they have for centuries, ships squeeze through its narrow straits and sail into its deep waters, plying busy trade routes that span the globe from Africa to the Middle East, Asia, and Australia.

Today, as a space where the interests of the world’s great powers intersect, the Indian Ocean is becoming ever more important. It is a fulcrum not only of strategic competition between nations but also of an array of valuable economic and development opportunities. Yet there are few dedicated Indian Ocean programs anywhere in the world. The Carnegie Asia Program aims to rectify this gap and build a hub for some of the world’s best research on the Indian Ocean and its island states and territories.

Ideas and analysis are valuable, but Carnegie’s business is improving policies, decisionmaking, and real-world outcomes. Excellence in scholarship and responsiveness to changing global circumstances define our work, and we are committed to making a concrete difference in the world.

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Associate Fellow Darshana Baruah directs the Indian Ocean Initiative, drawing on her own innovative research and writing on maritime security and the importance of island nations, as well as New Delhi’s strategy toward the Indian Ocean. The Initiative draws together the work of other leading Carnegie scholars who have advanced the study of the Indo-Pacific, its security architecture, and the development of connectivity across this huge tract of ocean.

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