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IOR: India outlines need for new cooperative architecture for security and free trade

  • 8th November, 2021 08:32:03 PM
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IOR: India outlines need for new cooperative architecture for security and free trade

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Maintaining that the Indian Ocean Region will face an increasingly complicated, rapidly evolving, and more demanding security situation, Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Monday said countries in the Indian Ocean region need a new cooperative architecture for their common maritime space to ensure both security and free trade.

He said the Covid-19 pandemic and new threats have highlighted the need to work together and come up with common solutions, and India stands ready to do its share in tackling news threats and challenges.

Speaking at the Goa Maritime Conclave on the theme “Maritime security and emerging non-traditional threats: A case for proactive role for IOR navies,” Shringla noted that the prosperity and well-being of people of countries in the region are built on a foundation of law-and-order and security.

In the conclave, among top Naval officers of the 8 countries around Indian Ocean Assistant Chief of Naval Staff Operations of Bangladesh, Rear Admiral M Ashraful Haq attended the event. Chief of the Naval Staff of the Indian Navy, Admiral Karambir Singh and Defence Secretary of India, Dr. Ajay Kumar were present on the occasion

He said opportunities tend to have expiry dates. “We must, as fellow travelers in a voyage, work swiftly to ride these momentarily favorable tides and currents. If we are able to do so, we in the Indian Ocean Region, through common effort, may be able to set ourselves on a trajectory to improved futures,” said the Indian Foreign Secretary.

The Indian Foreign Secretary said they cannot anticipate each and every problem that will arise. “We can however work on strengthening the structures, the understandings, the procedures, and the resources, that are deployed. This will enable us to better manage known problems. It will also enable us to create a "surge” capacity to deal with the unknown.”

In this context, he said India stands ready and willing to do its share – and more – in tackling these problems.

The Indian Ocean region’s countries can work on strengthening structures, understandings, procedures and resources so that they better manage problems. “It will also enable us to create a surge capacity to deal with the unknown,” he said.

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a rebalancing that has resulted in a dispersal of capacities, including for Indian Ocean nations. “Every one of us present here have a growing ability to come up with common solutions to common problems. That means we are able to do more together,” he added.

Referring to the changes brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, Harsh Shringla said countries were in the process of devising new solutions.

“We are in the process of devising a new set of measures and arrangements that reflect this understanding of security. They are based less on the traditional concept of a military alliance and more on a cooperative approach, on prevention, on sharing of information, and, on promoting inter-operability across state borders,” he said.

Explaining the concept of new architecture Shringla said, "a number of specific areas of cooperation have shown encouraging results.

In this context, he offered in upgrading maritime hard ware and software. He said," we have supplied equipment, vessels, and aircrafts to Vietnam, Bangladesh, Mozambique, Maldives, Mauritus, Seychells, Comoros and Myanmar.

Detailing the nature of maritime architecture, Shringla proposed to improve the security situation in the Indian Ocean region from 'some threats' domain awareness is central to any preventive security strategy.

In this regard he mention recently concluded MOU between India and Bangladesh on coastal radar surveillance systems has improved the domain awareness. India has done similar agreements with other countries like Sri Lanka, Mauritus, Maldives and Seychelles. India has also signed agreements on information fusion centers and multilateral maritime coordination centers in India, Abu Dhabi.

Foreign Secretary has also proposed to work with all partners on improving EEZ surveillance as anti piracy patrols with Bangladesh, Myanmar Thailand and Indonesia improved the security and understanding.

He argued as most the participant countries are member of BIMSTEC and Indian Ocean Rim association therefore all of them are a part of greater Indo-pacific space.