Indian Ocean Current Affairs - 2019
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The Defence Minister of India formally inaugurated the Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) Indian at the Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) in Gurugram on 22nd December 2018. The IFC for Indian Ocean Region has the primary objective of jointly monitoring the vast Indian Ocean Region.
The Indian Ocean which is increasingly becoming the bone of contention between different countries, also suffers threats from natural disasters, piracy, terrorism and trafficking. IFC-IOR will provide a way to tackle these challenges through collaborative and cooperative efforts.
The Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) in Gurugram was sanctioned in March 2012 and became operational in November 2014. Nationally, the IFC-IOR at the IMAC obtains primary inputs from India’s coastal radar network. Internationally, India has White Shipping Agreements with 36 countries, and three multinational agencies which provides details of all commercial ships passing through the ports in their region. IMAC also gathers information inputs from long range identification and tracking mechanism under the International Maritime Organisation. Such diverse and complex data is fused together by a software to produce into a “common operating picture”. Currently, the software used for IMAC is procured internationally, but soon it will be replaced by a BEL-developed indigenous software called “Sangraha”.
Initially, virtual means like telephone calls, faxes, emails and video conferencing over internet will be used to exchange information at the IFC-IOR. Soon, the IFC-IOR would host Liaison Officers from partner countries for better coordination and interaction.
The fact that more than 75% of the world’s maritime trade and 50% of global oil consumption passes through the Indian Ocean Region proves the significance of guarding the IOR. Keeping in mind the scale of the challenges in the Indian Ocean Region, collaborative efforts between different countries is essential.
The Union government has decided to give USD 1.4 billion to the island nation of Maldives. This decision came after Maldivian president Ibrahim Mohamed Solih met Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his 3-days visit to India.
This is Solih’s first foreign trip after he was sworn in as the President of Maldives in a ceremony on 17th November 2018, which PM Modi had also attended.
Important Highlights of the Meeting:
- The two countries have agreed to work for the stability of the Indian Ocean region.
- Both the countries have reiterated their stands to not allow their respective territories to be used for any activity inimical to their interests.
- India and Maldives have agreed to coordinate patrolling and aerial surveillance, exchange of information and capacity building for enhancement of the maritime security in the Indian Ocean region.
- The four agreements signed between India and Maldives will enhance cooperation in areas of cultural, agri-business and information technology and will provide easy facilitation of visas.
- Solih has committed to work closely with India and reaffirmed his government’s ‘India-First Policy’.
- The Maldivian president supported India’s demand for a reformed UN Security Council and India’s candidature for permanent membership of an expanded council.
- Maldives has supported for India’s candidature for the non-permanent seat in the UN for 2020-21.
- India and Maldives have agreed to work together for creating institutional linkages and also to cooperate in the areas of health, mutual legal assistance on criminal matters, investment promotion and tourism.
- Both India and Maldives have agreed to increased cooperation in fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations in the Indian Ocean region and in the world.
- India and Maldives have agreed to increase bilateral cooperation in the common areas of concern such as piracy, terrorism, organised crime, drugs and human trafficking.
- Both the leaders also stressed on promoting the exchange of goods and services, information, ideas, culture and people between India and Maldives. The connectivity will be improved by the establishment of enabling infrastructure.
India has complimented Maldives’ decision to re-join the Commonwealth. Also, PM Modi welcomed Maldive’s decision to join the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) family.