We present a tectonic interpretation of the breakup and early seafloor spreading between India and Antarctica based on improved coverage of potential field and seismic data off the east Antarctic margin between the Gunnerus Ridge and the Bruce Rise. We have identified a series of ENE trending Mesozoic magnetic anomalies from chron M9o (~130.2 Ma) to M2o (~124.1 Ma) in the Enderby Basin, and M9o to M4o (~126.7 Ma) in the Princess Elizabeth Trough and Davis Sea Basin, indicating that India-Antarctica and India-Australia breakups were roughly contemporaneous. We present evidence for an abandoned spreading centre south of the Elan Bank microcontinent; the estimated timing of its extinction corresponds to the early surface expression of the Kerguelen Plume at the Southern Kerguelen Plateau around 120 Ma. We observe an increase in spreading rate from west to east, between chron M9 and M4 (38-54 mm yr-1), along the Antarctic margin and suggest the tectono-magmatic segmentation of oceanic crust has been influenced by inherited crustal structure, the kinematics of Gondwanaland breakup and the proximity to the Kerguelen hotspot. A high-amplitude, E-W oriented magnetic lineation named the Mac Robertson Coast Anomaly (MCA), coinciding with a landwards step-down in basement observed in seismic reflection data, is tentatively interpreted as the boundary between continental/transitional zone and oceanic crust. The exposure of lower crustal rocks along the coast suggests that this margin formed in a metamorphic core complex extension mode with a high strength ratio between upper and lower crust, which typically occurs above anomalously hot mantle. Together with the existence of the MCA zone this observation suggests that a mantle temperature anomaly predated the early surface outpouring/steady state magmatic production of the Kerguelen LIP. An alternative model suggests that the northward ridge jump was limited to the Elan Bank region, whereas seafloor spreading continued in the West Enderby Basin and its Sri Lankan conjugate margin. In this case, the MCA magnetic anomaly could be interpreted as the southern arm of a ridge propagator that stopped around 120 Ma.