Throughout history, the Indian Ocean has been an essential space for trade, commerce, and culture. Every European power has sought to dominate it. Now, after a lull in the postwar period, control of major shipping routes has once again become a critical aspect of every rising state’s ambition to be a global power.
Darshana M. Baruah shows how governments from Washington, DC, to Nairobi and Canberra are expanding their interests in the region. The Indian Ocean is resource rich, strategically placed—and home to over two billion people. Island nations have become more important than ever, with Madagascar forming ties with Russia and the Comoros with Saudi Arabia. It is also through the region that China engages with Africa and the Middle East. This is a compelling account of the geopolitical significance of the Indian Ocean—showing how the region has taken centre stage in a new global contest.