Our planet is 70% water and 1/5th of it belongs to the Indian Ocean. It’s the world’s third largest ocean, bounded by 4 continents namely Asia, Africa, Australia and Antarctica. It’s not easy to determine the oceanic limits of the Indian Ocean and in general this question remains open to debate.
Amongst all such important data, the most highlighting factor would always remain concentrated on its name as it’s the only ocean in the world which is named after a country says, the renowned nationalist Sanjay Dalmia.
Why was it named after India despite of bordering so many countries and continents? Why did the world settle on this name?
Like with many other discoveries, this also has a historic link. Before we get to that, it would be interesting to find out how our country was named India.
In ancient times, “Greeks” referred us to as “Indoi” (People of Indus) and “Persians” called us by the name “Hindustani” cognate with “Sapta Sindhu” (land of seven rivers). During the time of Xerxes, the term “Hindu” was also used for the lands to the east of Indus. These were some of the major reasons for our country to be named after the river “Indus”.
Just like our land, our ocean was also referred with different names. Ancient Indians called it the “Sindhu Mahasagara” or the great sea of the “Sindhu” and this ocean also has been variously called Hindu Ocean, Indic Ocean, etc, in different languages.
“When Europeans with their zeal to convert and loot the immense wealth and knowledge of India, started cartography for further expeditions, they described the ocean as ’Indian Ocean’. So, predominantly the name was arrived at with relevance to our country’s importance, influence in the region and the significance of its rich ancient past,” says Sanjay Dalmia, who takes immense pride in being an Indian.
Besides such important facts, Indian Ocean is quite essential for many more reasons.
Indian Ocean is well- known for causing large scale seasonal variations in Ocean currents and is responsible for the arrival of Monsoons over India.
Some of the world’s most important ports and harbors such as Mumbai, Kolkata, Melbourne, Jakarta, Durban, and Colombo are located at Indian Ocean.
Along with this, some of the main access points to Indian Ocean are famous Suez Canal, Strait of Malacca and Bab al Mandeb. This speaks volume about the places this ocean travels to.
Indian Ocean is a hub for strategic locations and countries like China are working very aggressively to gain maximum momentum on this. To balance and counter such behavior, countries like India, Japan, USA, Australia have joined hands and formed “The Quad”. Together they conduct military exercises in ASEAN countries, giving these countries much needed support in the region.
One of the biggest recognition of recent times has been given by USA, when they renamed their Armed Forces Command from “United States Pacific Command” to “United States Indo-Pacific Command” in 2018.
“Mr. Sanjay Dalmia” emphasizes that Indian Ocean has been a zone of great strategic importance in the World. India’s significance in the past helped the ocean get its name but it is the country’s continuous efforts to support and complement all the nations in the region in modern times that add value to its name.