The prediction of sea surface temperature (SST) on the basis of artificial neural networks (ANNs) can be viewed as complementary to numerical SST predictions, and it has fairly sustained in the recent past. However, one of its limitations is that such ANNs are site specific and do not provide simultaneous spatial information similar to the numerical schemes. In this work we have addressed this issue by presenting basin-scale SST predictions based on the operation of a very large number of individual ANNs simultaneously. The study area belongs to the basin of the tropical Indian Ocean (TIO) having coordinates of 30 degrees N-30 degrees S, 30 degrees-120 degrees E. The network training and testing are done on the basis of HadISST data of the past 140 yr. Monthly SST anomalies are predicted at 3813 nodes in the basin and over nine time steps into the future with more than 20 million ANN models. The network testing indicated that the prediction skill of ANNs is attractive up to certain lead times depending on the subbasin. The ANN models performed well over both the western Indian Ocean (WIO) and eastern Indian Ocean (EIO) regions up to 5 and 4 months lead time, respectively, as judged by the error statistics of the correlation coefficient and the normalized root-mean-square error. The prediction skill of the ANN models for the TIO region is found to be better than the physics-based coupled atmosphere-ocean models. It is also observed that the ANNs are capable of providing an advanced warning of the Indian Ocean dipole as well as abnormal basin warming.