Indian Ocean Region 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.

Goa Maritime Conclave, 2019

The Goa Maritime Conclave was inaugurated by the National Security Advisor of India Sri. Ajith Kumar.

Theme of the conclave: Common Maritime Priorities in IOR and need for Regional Maritime Strategy

The Conclave was held under three sessions. It focused on capacity building of IOR (Indian Ocean Region) Navies to encounter emerging maritime threats

Why is IOR important?

The Indian Ocean Region is rich in tin, gold, uranium, cobalt, aluminum, nickel and cadmium. 80% of world’s sea borne trade transits through India Ocean Region. The waters are home to continually evolving strategic development that include India and China, Islamist terrorism, increase in incidence of piracy, potential nuclear confrontation between India and Pakistan, etc.

US has deployed many of its Combined Task Forces to safeguard oil flow in the region. France makes its significance presence with its naval bases at Abi Dhabi and Djibouti.

Why is IOR important to India?

India imports about 70% of oil through this region. India has its listening posts in Seychelles, Mauritius and Madagascar. Maldives is co – opted as part of India’s southern Naval command.

With China’s String of Pearl strategy to surround India, it is essential for India to strengthen its presence in the IOR.

Maritime Threats

  • Maritime Terrorism – Explosives are smuggled through the region. The Mumbai serial blasts in 1993 and infiltration of 10 Pakistani terrorists were executed by using sea routes. The 2008 Mumbai attack also proved how vulnerable the coasts are
  • Piracy – Somalia and Gulf of Aden are predominantly attacked by pirates. The attacks were in their peaks between 2005 and 2012.
  • Smuggling and human Trafficking
  • Illegal Migration, Infiltration and Refugee Influx

Choke points of IOR

Straits of Hormuz, Bab – el Mandeb and Malacca are considered as choke points of the Indian Ocean Region.