The flow field off the southwest coast of India at 8N was investigated during RV Sonne cruise 89 in August 1993 by direct velocity observations from shipboard- and lowered-ADCP and geostrophic computations from CTD stations. The upper ocean between 75E and 76°52′E near the South Indian shelf was governed by a northward flow with a subsurface velocity maximum of 25 cm s−1 at about 100 m depth. This flow, organized as a poleward undercurrent hugging the continental slope, is typical for the southwest monsoon season. The northward transport in August 1993 was 4.7 Sv (1 Sverdrup = 106 m3 s−1) for the upper 300 m from the shipboard ADCP. Earlier geostrophic observations showed southward surface flow above the poleward undercurrent, but in August 1993 the northward flow reached to the surface and in the geostrophy calculations, i.e. without the southward Ekman flow near the surface, there was even no clear subsurface core. The T-S characteristics show that Bay of Bengal Water (BBW) was carried with this flow, and low wind conditions seemed to be connected to the flow of BBW from the southern tip of Sri Lanka toward the southwest coast of India. Further offshore, two meridional current bands were identified in the upper 300 m of the ocean. West of the coastal undercurrent a band of southward flow existed with velocities up to 35 cm s−1 above and to the east of the Chagos-Laccadive Ridge, from 72°10′E to 75E. The associated geostrophic transport in the upper 500 m was 5.2 Sv. As the T-S relation was different from that of the northward flow, this current band was not a local recirculation of the poleward undercurrent. Further west, the flow was weak, but intensified toward the central Arabian Sea, between 66E and 69°20′E, where another southward current band was found with velocities of up to 20 cm s−1 and a total geostrophic transport for the upper 300 m of −7.2 Sv.