Murray, who had not played at Indian Wells in four years, won in one hour and 24 minutes with a disciplined display, winning 82 per cent of first serve points.
The Briton, who only faced one break point for the match, will next take on Spanish 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz, who enjoyed a fine run to the US Open quarter-finals in September.
"I think Alcaraz is really, really good," Murray said after the win. "I think he’s got a good chance at it."
On his own performance, Murray added: "I thought my mentality was good tonight. I sort of focused just on every single point.
"It's been a tough road to get back and it was so nice that so many people managed to come out and support today. I really enjoyed it."
Emerging American Jenson Brooksby triumphed over Cem Ilkel 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 to book his spot in the second round where he will face third seed Alexander Zverev.
The 20-year-old world No.79, who was the runner-up at the Hall of Fame Open in July, prevailed in his Indian Wells debut in one hour and 44 minutes.
Brooksby dropped only four points on his serve, with Ilkel unable to generate a break point throughout the match.
The California native has been a break-out star in the latter half of 2021, reaching the fourth round at the US Open, entering the top 100 after starting the year ranked No/307.
Former top 10 player Jack Sock was bundled out by Australian John Millman 7-5 4-6 6-3 in an epic first-round clash which lasted two and a half hours.
Sock, who has battled injuries in recent times and was handed a wild card for Indian Wells, pushed Millman all the way, with the Australian breaking to lead 5-3 in the third set before serving out for victory.
World No.61 Pedro Martinez made light work of Italian qualifier Roberto Marcora 6-4 6-0 to set up a second-round meeting with No.2 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas. The 24-year-old Spaniard triumphed in one hour and 15 minutes.
Former Wimbledon and US Open finalist Kevin Anderson sent down 10 aces in a 7-5 6-2 win over Jordan Thompson.