We have analysed a 6100-year record of benthic and planktonic foraminifera from inner neritic sediments from Core SK291/GC13, off the Goa coast, eastern Arabian Sea, to understand the response of benthic foraminifera to shallow-marine processes. The benthic foraminiferal assemblage is dominated by Nonion cf. asterizans, Ammonia beccarii, A. gaimardii and Virgulinella fragilis, which have been selected on the basis of a population of 10% or more in any three samples analysed. The planktonic foraminiferal population is sporadic and rare, with Globigerinoides ruber as the predominant species showing a variable trend. The foraminiferal proxies combined with total organic carbon (wt%) and δ13C and δ18O values of Ammonia gaimardii suggest distinct variations, indicating changes in productivity and salinity in the shallow eastern Arabian Sea. The coastal waters off Goa were relatively warmer and less saline between 6100 and 4600, or perhaps to 4200, calibrated years before the present (cal yr BP), corresponding to a stronger monsoon in South and East Asia. The shallow sea was cooler from ~4200 to 2600 cal yr BP in the study area, coinciding with a lower sea surface temperature in the northeastern Arabian Sea and an arid phase in the Indian subcontinent. From 2900 to 2600 cal yr BP the study core exhibits the impacts of short-term cold events, which have earlier been observed in the northeastern Arabian Sea, off Pakistan. During the Little Ice Age, the shallow sea off Goa was less productive.