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Challenges and Solutions for Maritime Security in the Indian Ocean

Release Date: March 5, 2021
Jay Benson, Martin Sebastian, Michael Van Ginkel
Publication Type: Policy Brief


This policy brief examines maritime security and governance in the Indian Ocean region across nine issue areas including the blue economy, coastal welfare, rule of law, piracy and armed robbery, illicit trades, maritime mixed migration, fisheries, maritime enforcement capacity, and international cooperation. The brief looks at progress being made across these issue areas, as well as the challenges that remain to sustainable maritime security in the region. It also suggests several areas of policy prioritization of relevance to the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) that could have positive impacts across issue areas and help establish a self-reinforcing, positive cycle of maritime security in the Indian Ocean region. 

Key Findings

  • There are a diverse set of maritime security and governance challenges present in Indian Ocean region and facing IORA  member states. 
  • IORA has a prominent role to play as a forum for regional maritime cooperation.
  • Maritime security issues in the region are highly interrelated. Progress, or backsliding, in one area often has follow-on impacts across a variety of other indicators, necessitating a comprehensive approach to maritime security in the region. 
  • Finally, the brief highlights several areas of potential policy prioritization for IORA, and the region, as it continues to develop its maritime security strategy.