The Indian Ocean is the world's third-largest ocean and constitutes about 20 percent of the water on the Earth's surface.
It is bounded on the west by East Africa, on the north by India, on the east by Indochina and Australia, and on the south by the Southern Ocean off the coast of Antarctica.
Department of State Background: U.S. Relations
The Indian Ocean region is one of growing geopolitical importance and is characterized by competition and intense rivalries involving both littoral states and external powers. The strategic environment is volatile and has increasing global attention.