Indian Ocean Region Current Affairs

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India, France sign pact on maritime information sharing in Indian Ocean Region

India and France have signed White Shipping agreement to enable information sharing on maritime traffic and maritime domain awareness in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

The agreement was signed in New Delhi after both countries held their second dialogue on maritime cooperation for the IOR.

Key Facts
  • The agreement will enable navies of India and France to coordinate their roles in stabilising Indo-Pacific region.
  • It will enhance Indo-French maritime security cooperation in the region. It will be implemented over the next few months.
Background

India and France firmed up cooperation on sharing of radars in the Indian Ocean during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Paris in 2015. India is setting up a grid of coastal surveillance radars in the IOR that will enable it to monitor increasing Chinese presence in the area, France has shown interest in sharing data from surveillance systems on its Indian Ocean territories in the region that includes Mayotte, besides military bases in UAE and Djibouti.  Both countries in the last couple of years are coordinating their naval movements and surveillance in the IOR. France retains interests and assets with territories like Reunion Islands in the IOR.

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Seychelles government allows India to build Naval Base on its Assumption Island

Seychelles government allowed India to build its first Naval Base on the Assumption Island in the Indian Ocean region (IOR) as a joint project between both countries.

In this regard, Seychelles government has allocated a plot of land on in its Assumption Island which will help to enhance mutual security along our western seaboard in IOR.

India’s first Naval Base project has acquired significance following China acquiring its first African naval base in Djibouti (near Horn of Africa) in November 2014.

Significance

  • On completion, the naval base would be used by the defence forces both countries. It would help India to exercise greater control over the strategic western region of IOR to the piracy-prone eastern African coastline that commands vital energy (oil) sea transport lines.
  • This naval base will be staging posts for a large maritime security network that India is setting up with the help of the various IOR partner countries.

Other developments

  • From March 2016, India is also set to acquire a fully operational coastal radar system (CRS) in Seychelles. It would further enhance India’s ability to gather intelligence and assist in surveillance operations in IOR especially vital energy lanes near Seychelles.
  • India is also steadily increasing its maritime and security cooperation with Seychelles. It is also providing new patrol vessels to Seychelles in mid-January 2016.
  • Security operation in the IOR also has helped Seychelles to secure itself in the Contact Group for Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS), which will hold its first meeting in Mumbai (Maharashtra) in January, 2016.

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