Australia and the Indian Ocean region

The Indian Ocean region is important to Australia.

It is economically significant as a crucial conduit for global trade, home to some of the world's fastest growing economies and contains large reserves of natural resources. An estimated 40 per cent of the world's offshore oil production comes from the Indian Ocean. Indian Ocean countries include a number of Australia's major markets. Six of Australia's top 15 trading partners are from the Indian Ocean region: Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, India, Indonesia, and the UAE.

The Indian Ocean region is also strategically significant. The increasing presence and influence of growing powers is shifting established dynamics. Building regional cooperation, developing regional norms and building the capacity to address challenges peacefully will all underpin regional stability. Encouraging a more robust rules-based order includes strengthening regional approaches to terrorism, transnational crime, illegal fishing, trade and climate change.

Australia is responding to regional economic and strategic issues by engaging with key regional forums, such as the Indian Ocean Rim Association; advocating for more diverse forms of regional dialogue and cooperation, including through trilateral and other small group arrangements; and through well-established bilateral relationships. ​

Last Updated: 3 March 2017