Madagascar Current Affairs - 2020

GoI launches “Mission Sagar”

On May 10, 2020, the Government of India has launched “Mission Sagar”, an outreach programme amidst COVID-19 pandemic. The mission aims at providing food items, Ayurvedic medicines related to COVID-19, HCQ tablets to Maldives, Madagascar, Seychelles and Comoros.

Highlights

The Indian Naval Ship Kesari has been deployed under the mission. The operation is being conducted under close cooperation of Ministry of Defence and Ministry of External Affairs. The mission has been deployed under close consonance with the India’s vision “SAGAR” in the Indian Ocean.

What is SAGAR Vision?

In 2015, India introduced its vision of Indian Ocean called “SAGAR”, Security and Growth for All in the Region. India aims to seek economic and security cooperation with its neighbours (especially maritime neighbours) under the vision. In order to achieve this India would cooperate on exchange of information, building of infrastructure, coastal surveillance and strengthening mutual capabilities.

Analysis

The mission can easily be related with India’s SAGAR vision. India has strong Naval presence in all the four countries included in the mission.

In 2019, India and Maldives agreed to complete the previously stalled Coastal Radar Surveillance System (CSRR) in Maldives. In 2018, India and Seychelles agreed to set up a naval base at Assumption Island. In October 2019, India and Comoros signed defence agreements. India extended a line of credit of 20 million USD to Comoros for the procurement of High-Speed Interceptor Boats. In 2007, India erected its first listening post on foreign soil at Madagascar.

India joins Indian Ocean Commission as the fifth Observer

On March 6, 2020, India joined the Indian Ocean Commission as the fifth observer. The other four observers in the grouping are Malta, China, European Union and OIF (International Organization of La Francophonie).

Highlights

It is important for India to join as an observer at the Commission because, it will help India in expanding its plans in Western Indian Ocean. The Western Indian Ocean strategically connects South Eastern Coast of Africa. However, this move is not connected with the Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean. This is purely to support India interests in the western flanks of the Indo-Pacific region.

The move will also support India in its SAGAR (Security and Growth for all in the Region) policy. In the last two years, India has made several high-level visits and signed significant defence agreements with the member countries of Indian Ocean Commission.

Indian Ocean Commission

The Indian Ocean Commission was created in 1982 at Port Louis, Mauritius. It comprises of 5 African Indian Ocean Nations namely Madagascar, Mauritius, Comoros, Reunion (France) and Seychelles.