Indian Ocean Maritime Security and Defence

The 2023 Defence Strategic Review recognises that ‘Australia is a significant Indian Ocean state’ and calls for the strengthening of military bases in Western Australia and its offshore territories. The Indian Ocean is a commercial and energy superhighway with multiple chokepoints amid heightened geopolitical tensions. Australia’s ‘Indo–Pacific’ conception of the region entails that the western Pacific Ocean and the eastern Indian Ocean are considered as one strategic arc. Australia exports vast amounts of minerals and hydrocarbons from its northwest, has important offshore territories, an immense Indian Ocean EEZ and Search and Rescue Zone. Its maritime security and defence require information and expertise about the security of the Indian Ocean.

Capabilities and UWA Competitive Advantage

UWA’s location in Perth, Australia’s Indian Ocean capital, has facilitated a depth of expertise on the strategic significance of the Indian Ocean region.  Maritime security and defence research includes the geopolitics of the Indian Ocean, non-military maritime security issues, and maritime-based environmental threats. Research and expertise at UWA cover:

  • The AUKUS Agreement and the significance of HMAS Stirling and Henderson’s Australian Marine Complex in maintaining Submarine Rotational Force – West and Australia’s future AUKUS SSN fleet.
  • The role of the ADF and the RAN in providing maritime security in the Indian Ocean.
  • The United States’ evolving strategy toward the Indian Ocean and the consequences of increased geostrategic tension with China.
  • The security implications of the Ocean’s role as a commercial and energy superhighway.
  • The growing naval and maritime roles of India, France, Japan and the United Kingdom.
  • Understanding the importance and vulnerabilities of Australia’s key strategic assets located in north-western Australia.

Outcomes and Impact

  • Black Swan Strategy Papers with analysis and strategic insights into defence and security in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Roundtable discussions and public events which highlight the strategic importance of the Indian Ocean Region.
  • Frequent media commentary and policy advice to government and industry


  • Host to the Perth USAsia Centre, a leading think tank focusing in geo-political issues, policy development and building strategic affairs.
  • Host to the Defence and Security Institute that focusses UWA’s expertise in defence and security research, engagement and education to develop Australia’s sovereign defence capabilities.

Key Contact

Dr. Troy Lee-Brown
Phone: +61 8 6488 1130