The India Ocean is the third biggest ocean, and extends from south Asia to Antarctica, on one side and from East Africa to South East Australia on the other and covers 73,427,000 sq. km. The Indian Ocean has about twenty per cent of the total world’s ocean area.
The Indian Ocean is connected to the Pacific Ocean by the Malay Archipelago, while the Suez Canal connects with the Atlantic Ocean from the area lying in-between Africa and Antarctica. The Indian Ocean’s chief arms can be named as the Arabian Sea, along with Gulf of Aden, Persian Gulf and the Red Sea; the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal. The Indian Ocean has a narrow continental shelf.
The Indian Ocean floor is 11000 feet deep on an average. The Ocean is divided into three important sections, known as the African, Antardis, and Australasian, which is marked by a submarine mountain range, known as the Mid-Oceanic Ridge, the ridge itself reaching a height of c.10, 000 ft with some peaks emerging as islands. Great Rift Valley’s extension, which itself is a huge rift, passes through the Gulf of Aden, extending through the length of the Indian Ocean. Java Trench, in Indonesia has the greatest depth of 25344 ft. The river waters from Indus, Ganges-Brahmaputra, Zambezi, Tigris-Euphrates, and Irrawaddy pour into the Indian Ocean.
With its narrow continental shelf the Indian Ocean has some of the largest islands, which include Madagascar and Sri Lanka, all of which are structural parts of the continents, and these include the Andaman and the Nicobar Islands; the Seychelles and Kerguelen Islands, which are only exposed submerged ridge’s upper portions. The Indian Ocean’s low coral islands include the Laccadives, the Maldives, and the Chagos while Mauritius and Réunion have high volcanic activity.
The Indian Ocean has general warm water on its surface, though when it is near the Antarctica, we can see icebergs and ice formations. The main circulations in the Indian Ocean are the regular anti-clockwise southern system, including South- Equatorial Current, West Wind Drift, Mozambique Current, and West Australian Current, while the other system, the northern system, comprises of the Monsoon Drift, the currents of which are formed through the monsoon winds’ shifts according to seasons. The Indian Ocean supplies moisture for the southwest monsoon, even as heavy rainfall drops are witness in India and Southeast Asia.
The Voyage of Columbus gave fillip to the commerce and trade and even conquering of various areas surrounded by the Indian Ocean. Dutch, French and Englishmen conquered the local fiefdoms, in the guise of trading activities and established their kingdoms in this area. Indian Ocean has many trade ports right across the coast of the Ocean. These extend to Madagascar and Columbo, Chennai and Mumbai, the South Asian Ports, apart from African ports.