Delhi sees Indian Ocean as region of peace, works to keep seas, airways open

Published on Dec 15, 2021 07:15 PM IST
Minister of state for external affairs Rajkumar Ranjan Singh highlighted the need for greater collaboration among Indian Ocean Rim Association, or IORA member states for post-pandemic recovery.
Minister of state for external affairs Rajkumar Ranjan Singh said the post-pandemic world places a greater premium on trust, technology, transparency, resilience and reliability, and IORA has a critical role to play. (Twitter/@RanjanRajkuma11)
Minister of state for external affairs Rajkumar Ranjan Singh said the post-pandemic world places a greater premium on trust, technology, transparency, resilience and reliability, and IORA has a critical role to play. (Twitter/@RanjanRajkuma11)
ByHT Correspondent

NEW DELHI: India sees the Indian Ocean and the Indo-Pacific as a region of peace and prosperity and will work to keep the seas, space and airways free and open and secure from terrorism and piracy, minister of state for external affairs Rajkumar Ranjan Singh said on Wednesday.

The post-pandemic world places a greater premium on trust, technology, transparency, resilience and reliability, and the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) has a critical role to play in this regard, Singh said in his keynote address at the Indian Ocean Dialogue.

The dialogue is IORA’s track 1.5 forum for discussions among stakeholders such as experts, government policy-makers, think tanks and civil society groups on strategic issues of interest and concerns facing the region. The theme for this year’s event, which was hosted by India, was “Post-pandemic Indian Ocean: Leveraging digital technologies for health, education, development and trade in IORA member states”.

Singh said India’s “Security and Growth for All in the Region” or SAGAR doctrine envisions the Indian Ocean and greater Indo-Pacific as a region of peace and prosperity, based on trust and transparency, respect for international maritime rules, equal access as a right under international law, sensitivity to each other’s interests, peaceful resolution of disputes and enhanced maritime cooperation.

“India will always work towards keeping the seas, space and airways free and open; nations secure from terrorism and piracy; ensuring access to and responsible use of global commons, a global cyber-space free from disruption and fair, transparent and balanced trading systems; and enhancing connectivity for inclusive and sustainable national, regional and global economic growth,” he said.

Singh noted the Covid-19 pandemic has led to a new urgency to re-imagine international cooperation and accelerated socio-economic changes that the Indian Ocean Region had been witnessing. It has also disrupted supply chains, impacted manufacturing and affected trade, leading to a rethink of the approach to economic policies, he added.

India, he said, is trying to foster meaningful multi-stakeholder partnerships, sharing of advanced and frugal technologies, collaboration in vaccine and pharmaceutical production and transparency in health information.

“We recognise that a different world awaits us. It is one that puts a greater premium on trust, technology and transparency as well as resilience and reliability,” he said. “IORA...has a critical role to play in this regard. On its part, India remains committed to share her experience and resources in the spirit of solidarity.”

Singh also said countries need to speedily normalise travel through recognition of vaccine certificates so that livelihoods are restored. India has worked out solutions in this field with some 100 nations and wants to expand this in the Indian Ocean Region.

The Indian Ocean Rim region is crucial for global commerce, energy and geopolitical stability. Half of the world’s container ships and two-thirds of global oil shipments pass through the region, which is home to more than 2.7 billion people.

The Indian Ocean Dialogue focused on how IORA states used digital technologies and platforms to overcome Covid-19 disruptions in health, education, development and trade.

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