The indian ocean provides major sea routes connecting the middle east, africa, and east asia with europe and the americas. it carries a particularly heavy traffic of petroleum and petroleum products from the oilfields of the persian gulf and indonesia. its fish are of great and growing importance to the bordering countries for domestic consumption and export. fishing fleets from russia, japan, south korea, and taiwan also exploit the indian ocean, mainly for shrimp and tuna. large reserves of hydrocarbons are being tapped in the offshore areas of saudi arabia, iran, india, and western australia. an estimated 40% of the world's offshore oil production comes from the indian ocean. beach sands rich in heavy minerals and offshore placer deposits are actively exploited by bordering countries, particularly india, south africa, indonesia, sri lanka, and thailand.
Endangered marine species include the dugong, seals, turtles, and whales; oil pollution in the arabian sea, persian gulf, and red sea
Body of water between africa, the southern ocean, asia, and australia
Total: 68.556 million sq km note: includes andaman sea, arabian sea, bay of bengal, flores sea, great australian bight, gulf of aden, gulf of oman, java sea, mozambique channel, persian gulf, red sea, savu sea, strait of malacca, timor sea, and other tributary water bodies
About 5.5 times the size of the us
Some maritime disputes (see littoral states)