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Consider if India and China are to account for much of the world's growth and oil consumption, the Indian Ocean is the key connector. Furthermore, the primary producers and political "hot spots",
Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Somallia, Pakistan, all are dependent on the Indian ocean.
China is increasing it's navy presence in the Indian Ocean, event while India is increasing it's military presence there. Both nations are short of oil and both have a realistic attitude of respect and hostility to one another. The chances of friction and ultimate conflict will continue to grow, and the area of greatest influence and potential conflict will be in the Indian Ocean. Since the month when China invaded Tibet, military leaders in India, have made contingency plans for conflict with China.
(For further information, see: Foreign Affairs, March/April 2009, article by Robert D. Kaplan. Mr. Kaplan is writing a new book on the Indian Ocean, and was recently Distinguished Visiting Professor in National Security at the U.S. Naval Academy)