Why Indian Ocean is at the centre of global attention
Indian Ocean is critical to the future of the world. Today, the world speaks of 21st century driven by the dynamism and the energy of Asia and the Pacific. But, its course will be determined by the tides of the Indian Ocean. This is why Indian Ocean is at the centre of global attention more than ever before.We also see growing global stakes and presence in the Ocean. Even in this changing world, the oceans hold the key to its fortunes. And, we will all prosper when the seas are safe, secure and free for all.To ensure this will be our greatest collective responsibility. We have seen the tragedy of tsumanis and cyclones.Terror has visited us from sea. We all feel the rising impact of climate change on our coasts and islands.The seas forged links of commerce, culture, and religion with our extended neighbourhood across several millenniums.India is becoming more integrated globally. We will be more dependent than before on the ocean and the surrounding regions.We must also assume our responsibility to shape its future.So, Indian Ocean Region is at the top of our policy priorities.
Our vision for Indian Ocean Region
Our vision for Indian Ocean Region is rooted in advancing cooperation in our region; and, to use our capabilities for the benefit of all in our common maritime home.We will do everything to safeguard our mainland and islands and defend our interests.Equally we will work to ensure a safe, secure and stable Indian Ocean Region that delivers us all to the shores of prosperity.And, our capabilities will be there for those struck by the ocean’s fury. Or, caught in distress on the seas. We will deepen our economic and security cooperation with our friends in the region especially our maritime neighbours and island states.We will also continue to build their maritime security capacities and their economic strength. Collective action and cooperation will best advance peace and security in our maritime region. It will also prepare us better to respond to emergencies.
Maritime cooperation is a pre-requisite for blue revolution
Our goal is to deepen our mutual understanding on maritime challenges; and, strengthen our collective ability to address them.We also support efforts to strengthen our regional mechanisms for maritime cooperation – from dealing with piracy terrorism and other crimes; to marine safety and natural disasters. We also seek a more integrated and cooperative future in the region that enhances the prospects for sustainable development for all.We must promote greater collaboration in trade, tourism and investment; infrastructure development; marine science and technology; sustainable fisheries; protection of marine environment; and, overall development of Ocean or Blue Economy.To me the blue chakra or wheel in India’s national flag represents the potential of Blue Revolution or the Ocean Economy. That is how central the Ocean Economy is to us.
Ensuring peace, stability and prosperity is India’s responsibility
Those who live in this region have the primary responsibility for peace, stability and prosperity in the Indian Ocean.We recognize that there are other nations around the world, with strong interests and stakes in the region.India is deeply engaged with them. We do this through dialogue, visits, exercises, capacity building and economic partnership.Our goal is to seek a climate of trust and transparency; respect for international maritime rules and norms by all countries; sensitivity to each other`s interests; peaceful resolution of maritime issues; and increase in maritime cooperation.We seek a future for Indian Ocean that lives up to the name of SAGAR – Security and Growth for All in the Region.We should be inspired by Monsoon, which nurtures and connects us all in region.We will strive to unite our region in partnership, as we were once in geography.An Ocean that connects our world should become the pathway of peace and prosperity for all.