Maritime Security Current Affairs - 2019

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India, Somali sign agreement on transfer of sentenced persons

India and Somalia have signed an agreement for transfer of sentenced prisoners in each other’s country. The agreement was signed in New Delhi during the ongoing visit of the Somalia’s Foreign Minister to India.

During the visit, both countries discussed entire gamut of bilateral relations, including the issue of piracy and maritime security. They also discussed regional issues pertaining to developments in the Gulf region and India’s neighbourhood.

The agreement opens a new front for collaboration in anti-piracy operation in Eastern Africa as the incidents of piracy originating from Somalia have affected Indian interests in the Indian Ocean region near the Horn of Africa.

Background

Somalia is situated near the Horn of Africa with the Gulf of Aden to its north. It is among the partner countries of India’s Pan African e-Network project. India-Somalia bilateral trade stood at $391.05 million in 2014-15, a more than 51% increase over the figure of $257.27 million in 2013-14.

Diplomatic contacts between India and Somalia have been infrequent, however, Somalia had participated in the 2015 India-Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi. Somalia plays important role in containing China’s presence in Indian Ocean region. China opened its first overseas military base in Djibouti. Somalia shares border with Djibouti on the west.

India also offers Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) training scholarships and Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) scholarships to Somalia. In recent years, India also has extended development assistance which included mini buses to the war-battered country.

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.