"Right now many countries such as China and India have competed for influence over the Indian Ocean and its natural resources," the expert, Hasjim Djalal, said in his scientific speech on "Indonesian Maritime" at Bung Hatta University here on Thursday.
He said that China and India have already obtained licenses to develop and export mineral resources in the Indian Ocean.
Meanwhile he expressed concern that Indonesia has not yet seen the Indian Ocean as its potential huge economic resources.
"India has already obtained a license to develop minerals in the Indian Ocean and China has already obtain a concession to explore minerals in the undersea mountains in the Indian Ocean, which have huge fish potentials such as tuna. When will we be ready to exploit it " he said.
Hasjim said Indonesias perception towards the sea has not yet developed causing and so exploitation of marine potentials has been low.
Citing an example of factors behind it he referred to a traditional belief of the people on Java island that the ocean was the throne of "Nyi Loro Kidul" goddess and so exploiting it could disrupt Nyi Loro Kiduls authority.
"The wrong perception could affect exploitation of sea resources including in the Indian Ocean," he said.
Hasjim viewed Indonesias position in ASEAN as a center and leader in the region.
He said Indonesia must monitor closely the development in the region. He said Indonesia would play as an equilibrium between right and left as well as east and west axis.
(Reporting by Imam Budilaksono/T.I028/Uu.H-YH/KR-BSR/A014)