IFC-IOR Current Affairs - 2019

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India starts sharing maritime data

At the Goa Maritime Conclave, 2019, the National Security Advisor offered countries in the IOR use of facility to track the movement of vessels on high seas. India has a specialized center operating for the purpose called the IFC – IOR (Information Fusion Center – Indian Ocean Region). The center acts as an information sharing hub.

About IFC – IOR

The center was inaugurated in 2018. It links all the coastal radars to create a seamless real – time picture to cover the entire stretch of 7,500 km. It was established at the Navy IMAC, Gurgram. IMAC is Information Management and Analysis Center.

The center exchanges data about white shipping or commercial shipping with countries in the IOR. Currently, the center has linkages with more than 18 countries. The centers that exchange maritime security information includes Maritime Security center – Horn of Africa, Virtual Regional Maritime Traffic Center, Regional Cooperation Agreement on combating piracy and armed robbery, Information fusion center – Singapore, International Maritime Bureau – Piracy reporting center.

Indian Navy launches Operation Sankalp in Persian Gulf

Indian Navy launched ‘Operation Sankalp’ in Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman to reassure safe passage of Indian flagged vessels transiting through area. This deployment is in the wake of following recent maritime incidents in region.

Key Highlights

Indian Naval Ships, INS Chennai (Kolkata-class stealth guided missile destroyers) and INS Sunayna (Saryu-class patrol vessel) have been deployed in region to undertake maritime security operations. In addition to this aerial surveillance is also being done in area by IN aircraft.

The Information Fusion Centre-Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) of Indian Navy is also keeping a close watch on movement of ships in Gulf region. IFC-IOR, launched in December 2018, engages with partner nations to develop comprehensive maritime domain awareness and also share information on vessels of interest.

Need: Operation Sankalp has been launched in wake of escalating tension in Gulf of Oman, where two oil tankers, one Norwegian-owned and other Japanese-owned were attacked on 13 June 2019. This incident has led to heightened tensions between Iran and United States (US). Although, it remains unclear that who was responsible for attacks but US has put the blame on Iran, which, in turn, has denied all allegations.

Importance of Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman

World’s major oil exporters and importers have a joint interest in security of Gulf of Oman this is because Gulf of Oman offers the only entrance from Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean into Persian Gulf.

Persian Gulf is an arm of Arabian Sea, lies between Arabian Peninsula and Iran, extending from Shatt al Arab delta to Strait of Hormuz. Approximately 50% of world’s total oil reserves are estimated to be found here.