Now that we are in 2014, many eyes will be focused on the Indian Ocean. The Indian Ocean covers a vast area stretching from the coasts of East Africa in the west, to Malaysia and Australia in the east, to South Africa in the south. Its broader territory runs from the waters of the Arabian Gulf to the South China Sea, covers 70 million sq. km, or 20 percent of world’s water surface, hosts one-third of the world's population, one-quarter of world's landmass, three-quarters of global oil reserves, iron and tin, and over 70,000 ships cross it every year. Around 65 percent of the world oil reserves belong to just 10 of the Indian Ocean littoral states. The Indian Ocean hosts the world’s most significant Sea Lanes of Communication (SLOCs) and as such plays a pivotal role in the global economy, in particular in the past 20 years.
Geo-strategic and geo-economic importance
The sudden rise of India and China as global economic powers has significantly increased their energy needs and their dependence on the Gulf oil supplies. Consequently, their energy security interests give these two Asian players direct stakes in the security and stability of Indian Ocean. This has positioned India and China as major contenders for the share of the Ocean’s dominion.Dr. Theodore Karasik
The Indian Ocean's (SLOCs) are also key factors in the global trade and economic stability since the oil and other trading stuff pass through its waterways on the way to Asia, Africa, Europe and other parts of the world. Any disruption in the trade would cause significant stress and strain in many world economies. In addition to significant trade volumes between the two regions, an estimate 3.5-5 million Indian nationals live in the Arab and Gulf countries, and contribute about US$8 billion a year to the Indian economy in form of remittances.