87Sr/86Sr ratios and εNd values of detrital particles at International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Site U1456 in the Laxmi Basin of the Arabian Sea were measured to trace changes in sediment provenance over glacial–interglacial cycles. Based on the correlation of planktonic foraminiferal (Globigerinoides ruber) δ18O fluctuations with the LR04 stack of benthic foraminifera δ18O values, combined with shipboard biostratigraphic and palaeomagnetic data, the studied interval spans ∼1.2 Ma. Over the past 800 ka, 87Sr/86Sr values ranged from 0.711 to 0.726 while εNd values ranged between −12.5 and −7.3 in the detrital particles. By comparing 87Sr/86Sr ratios and εNd values of the possible sources of river sediments with our data, we found that sediments in the Laxmi Basin were influenced to various degrees by proportions of at least three sediment sources (i.e. Tapi River, Narmada River and Indus River). The Indus River might be a more important contributor to glacial sediments. Although 87Sr/86Sr ratios and εNd values varied quasi-cyclically, this pattern did not correspond precisely to the glacial–interglacial cycles. In particular, low-magnetic-susceptibility (low-MS) intervals coinciding with pelagic carbonates were characterized by low 87Sr/86Sr ratios and high εNd values, whereas high-MS intervals matching turbidite deposits showed high 87Sr/86Sr ratios and low εNd values. Thus, this study reveals that differences in the depositional processes between glacial and interglacial periods, governed by changes in sea level and monsoon activity, are an important factor in deciding 87Sr/86Sr ratios and εNd values of the detrital fraction in the Indus Fan of the Arabian Sea.