Date of Award


Degree Type

Major Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


A study of the common interests of internal and external states in the Indian Ocean and identification of the methods, and their potential for confrontation, employed by external powers in pursuit of their interests. The historical interests of external powers in the Indian Ocean are depicted. Common interests, which have commanded the attention of internal states and external powers during recent years, are identified. The Indian Ocean is divided into five regions, each region characterized by the aforementioned common interests. The assets, mutual relations and interests of the littoral states comprising each region are described. The interests and methods of projecting these interests by China, Japan, Western Europe, Soviet Union and the United States are delineated. The paper finds that external power interests are competing at an increasing rate in the Indian Ocean area. As the interest converge, the potential for confrontation, particularly between the United States and Russia, resulting from methods of operation and uncontrollable events, increases. U.S. policy makers must clearly define U.S.-Indian Ocean objectives, to maximize effective utilization of resources in pursuit thereof.