Maritime strategy is playing an ever greater role in Indian strategic thinking. As India reaches for great power status, it is increasingly turning to the Indian Ocean to expand its strategic space. Although it currently operates in co-operation with the United States, India has long-term aspirations towards attaining naval predominance throughout much of the Indian Ocean. In conjunction with an expansion of India's naval capabilities, there has been a significant strengthening of India's maritime security relationships throughout the region. Much of the emphasis has been on developing relationships with small states at or near the key points of entry into the Indian Ocean. A challenge for New Delhi in the coming years will be to maintain the perception of India as a benign and non-hegemonic power in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) as it moves towards achieving major power status.