Maritime Terrorism in the Indian Ocean Region

Date of Award

Spring 9-1-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

MA in Geopolitics and International Relations


Department of Geopolitics & International Relations


With the advent of increasing influence of violent non-state actors coupled with the rise in political instability, there has been rise critical issues such as piracy, terrorism, drug trafficking, etc. in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). Terrorist activities have now become multidimensional, with organisations acquiring air, water, cyber, and land attack capabilities and tactics. Traditionally, incapability and incapacity have largely hindered most terrorist groups from sea-based attack. The geographical location, maritime tradition of the state, unstable government, etc. are some of the factors that lead organisations to opt for sea-based attacks which in turn can have disastrous sequences which may range from disrupting the livelihoods of the seafarers to disrupting maritime supply chains which would in turn, affect the global economy. The Indian Ocean Region has attracted much geopolitical and security interests in the twenty-first century, while also becoming a major focal point for a number of maritime security threats. The absence of a great power as well as the presence of a number of critical and busiest Sea Lanes of Communications (SLOCs) and choke points, which the international economy severely relies upon, have contributed to making the IOR as a breeding ground for major terror organisations. Maritime terrorism has emerged as one of the region's major and persistent challenges which has led the regional states as well as the international community to come forward with certain initiatives to combat the threats posed by it. This paper will explain the definition of maritime terrorism and throw light on why terrorists choose sea-based terrorism. This paper will also assess the maritime terror attacks and the terror organisations involved in the region. In addition, the paper also aims to analyse the threat, vulnerability, and implications of maritime terrorism in the IOR. This paper also intends to examine the various counter-terrorism measures taken in the Indian Ocean Region