SAGAR Current Affairs - 2019
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The 10th anniversary celebration of Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) was held in Kochi, Kerela. The two-day seminar aims to discuss maritime issues pertaining to cooperative capacity-building to deal with common security concerns in the region. The theme for this year’s seminar was “IONS as Catalyst for SAGAR’. SAGAR stands for ‘Security and Growth for All in the Region’. It is in consonance with India’s ‘Act East’ policy and nation’s diplomatic, economic and military outreach in the region.
Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS)
It is voluntary regional forum that seeks to increase maritime co-operation among navies of littoral states of the Indian Ocean Region by providing open and inclusive forum for discussion of regionally relevant maritime issues. It endeavours to generate flow of information between naval professionals that would lead to common understanding and possibly cooperative solutions on way ahead.
Under charter of business adopted in 2014, it has working groups on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR), Information Security and Interoperability (IS&I) and anti-piracy now renamed as maritime security. It was launched in 2008 by India Navy, since then biennial meetings among the littoral states are held.
It has total 35 member nations grouped into four sub-regions.
- South Asian Littorals: India, Bangladesh, Maldives, Pakistan, Seychelles and Sri Lanka
- West Asian Littorals: Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Yemen
- East African Littorals: Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Eriteria, France, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan and Tanzania
- South East Asian and Australian Littorals: Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Timor Leste.
- Observer Countries: China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Madagascar, Malaysia, Netherlands, Russia and Spain.
The first edition of this year’s bi-annual Naval Commanders’ Conference was held in New Delhi from 8 to 11 May 2018. It discussed aspects concerning country’s maritime security, analyse mission-based deployments and larger issues of geo-strategic Indian Ocean Region (IOR), a region witnessing increasing Chinese presence.
During the conference, top echelons of Indian Navy reviewed its new Mission-Based Deployments philosophy aimed at ensuring peace and stability in the region. The new deployment philosophy is in furtherance of Prime Minister’s vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR). It aims at sustained, peaceful and yet responsive presence of Indian Naval ships in critical areas and choke points.
It also examined various measures taken to improve combat efficiency, including new transition cycle for ships for transition from maintenance periods through training phase and thereon to full scale operations will be examined at conference. Indian Navy’s focus over past year has been on combat efficiency and materiel readiness, and upkeep of its large fleet of 131 ships and submarines.
It also reviewed measures to ensure safety, continued training, and checks and balances on crew proficiency on-board its frontline warships. It also undertook review of overhaul of training standards of units by revamping ‘Ship Operating Standards (SHOPS)’. The new SHOPS will be unveiled shortly and it focuses on Role-based training in realistic scenarios and sets standards to be met by units as also targets individual crew proficiency levels.
It also deliberated upon steps to improve Teeth-to-Tail ratio and explore niche fields such as Artificial Intelligence and Big Data Analytics. Moreover, it also focused on harnessing cutting-edge technology, specifically those ‘Made-in-India’, to improve organisational effectiveness and efficiency.
Indian Ocean is considered the backyard of Indian Navy. It is critical to India’s strategic interests. Over the years, the region has witnessed increasing Chinese presence. China increased its presence in IOR by constructing deep-sea Gwadar Port in southern Pakistan and naval base in Djibouti in Horn of Africa. The region also has seen increase in deployment of Chinese ships for anti-piracy operations.