Tropical Waters and Unique Characteristics: Physical Characteristics of the Indian Ocean


The Indian Ocean has traditionally functioned as a crucial hub for marine commerce, enabling the linkage between the East and West via ancient trade routes such as the Silk Road and Spice Route. It continues to serve as a crucial international trade pathway, connecting Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. The Indian Ocean, which constitutes 20% of Earth’s surface, is unique in its status as the third-largest body of water. Unlike other oceans, it is land-locked to the north and does not expand into the cold temperatures of the northern hemisphere. Located north of southern Asia, bordered by the Arabian Peninsula and Africa to the west, the Malay Peninsula, Sunda Islands, Australia to the east, and Antarctica to the south, this region is important in global marine affairs. The entrance to the Indian Ocean is characterised by limited entry and departure ports, commonly called chokepoints. The Indian Peninsula acts as a partition, separating the northern Indian Ocean into two distinct basins: the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. Extending India’s coastline to almost 7,600 km strategically places the country in a prominent position within the Indian Ocean.

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