New Delhi: With focus on promoting mutual interaction among countries of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) at the second edition of the three-day Goa Maritime Conclave, the discussions focused on various aspects of the emerging maritime threats in the Region.
Participants which comprised mostly of top officials from the navies of the region focused on promoting mutual interaction among countries through diplomatic initiative in the maritime domain with the theme for the Conference being “Common Maritime Priorities in Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and need for Regional Maritime Strategy”.
Officials of the participating countries will also discuss capacity building of navies of littoral countries in the Indian Ocean and strategies to improve interoperability of different navies.
The Seminar, which concludes on October 5, has representatives from South East Asian countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand as also Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka and the island nations of Seychelles, Mauritius and Maldives.
Speaking at the Conclave, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on October 4 said that in times to come seas, space and cyber are going to be the three areas offering biggest opportunities and also challenges for nations.
Maintaining that India has several geographical advantages, he called upon nations in its near and distant neighbourhood to work together for maritime security.
“In the times to come, seas, space and cyber are going to be the three areas which are going to offer biggest opportunities and also going to present most serious threats,” Doval said.
He pointed out that the challenges before the nations are how to maximise the opportunities and minimise threats.
“That is the spirit that brings us together. It is the spirit how do we identify and consolidate our strengths, Doval added.
Referring to the participating nations, Doval said, “We are aspirational states, we are the states which are interested to see peace in the region and development and growth of countries.”
The National Security Advisor pointed out that none of the participating nations are engaged in strategic conflict with each other.
“We don’t have any area of strategic conflict. We consider that anything is good for one is going to contribute for the wellness of all,” Doval said.
The NSA said it is desirable for “us (participating nations) to identify what we can contribute for each other not only on security front but also in terms of economic opportunities”.
He said New Delhi wants to be useful for countries in its neighbourhood.
“But still India lacks in many areas where we would like to develop and grow. But we would like to develop and grow in a way we maximise our national benefit but also become useful to the countries in our neighbourhood,” Doval added.
Addressing the Conclave, Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh said the Indian Navy is keen on building cooperative partnerships with friendly nations of the Indian Ocean region to develop solutions to meet rising maritime challenges.
“Challenges you have seen are mainly issues of piracy, the drug trafficking, human trafficking and even disasters that are taking place because of climate change,” Singh said.
The naval chief said that there was a need for Indian ocean region nations to develop “regional solutions for regional challenges” and offered “mutual respect” for all nations.