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.
This map is designed to convey the strategic importance of the Indian Ocean’s geographic features and trading routes. It dispels the imaginary continental lines that countries often use to divide the ocean and instead presents the region as one continuous theater from the eastern coast of Africa to the western coast of Australia.
Major powers view the ocean as three regions, but that outdated understanding hinders their ability to assess its strategic importance.
As the Indo-Pacific region grows in strategic importance for both China and the United States, island nations are making their own priorities known, too.
Join us for a special two-day dialogue on security in the Indo-Pacific and island nations' perceptions of regional priorities and challenges.
Join us for the celebratory launch of Carnegie’s Indian Ocean Initiative, a forum to examine the nexus of economic, geopolitical, and security interests in the Indian Ocean and its island states and territories.
A discussion of the strategic significance of the Indian Ocean to the United States and its allies and partners in the region.
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