The Indian Ocean is critical to global trade and food and energy security. Resources increasingly are being exploited by its littoral and island states.
It is also a stage for the pursuit of global strategic and regional military and security interests. As the region emerges to become one of the twenty-first century’s leading strategic theatres, it will once again be at the crossroads of global trade, economic growth and potential crises. It is a region in which instability and conflict can quickly arise from imprecise border delineations, internal conflicts, issues of energy and resource security and changing national interests.
Over one-third of Australia’s coastline borders the Indian Ocean. Security of lines of trade and the development of both on-shore and off-shore assets are essential to Australia’s economy and development. The Indian Ocean and its littoral and island states are poised to play an increasingly important role in Australia’s future. FDI seeks to determine how events in those states have an impact upon Australia’s interests.
For all the above reasons, a detailed knowledge of the evolving nature of the Indian Ocean and its littoral states is essential. Accordingly, FDI asks the following questions:
What are the key developments in the Indian Ocean region’s littoral and island states over the coming decade and what impact might they have on Australia’s interests in the region? How might Australia best respond to the challenges and opportunities which they present?
In answering the above, the following major factors will be investigated:
- Security and geo-strategic issues;
- Australia’s interests in the Indian Ocean region;
- Potential threats to Australian interests in the region; and
- Possible means of addressing those threats.
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