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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 22 April, 2020

  • 9 Min Read

SAGAR programme- Indian Ocean Rim association (IORA)

SAGAR programme- Indian Ocean

Part of: GS-II- SAGAR Doctorine and Indian Ocean (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)

India has for a long time had a “continental outlook,” with insufficient attention paid to maritime aspects of security. But this has begun to change over the last two decades, a reflection of India’s growing economy and the resultant need for secure trade routes and the growing security competition in the maritime space as a consequence of China’s naval expansion.

One aspect of this shift has been India’s efforts to build security partnerships in the Indian Ocean region. On this score, the record of India’s strategic shift is at best mixed. Indeed, while there are often headlines about India’s successes, with an example being India’s outreach to Indonesia with India gaining access to a strategically vital Sabang port earlier this month, in fact, India’s efforts to partner with other states have actually been less than successful, be it an agreement with Seychelles or the Maldives.

Significance of Indian Ocean

The geo-political significance of the Indian Ocean stems from the fact that it is a centre piece in the wider Indian Ocean Region (IOR). The combination of economic growth and slowdown, military expansion, increasing demand for natural resources, demographics combined with the geo-political situation, increased presence of nuclear capable actors and variances in regional structures of governance, highlights the geo-political significance of this area.

Major points that merit attention are: -

  • The Indian Ocean is third largest water body of the world that has vital sea lanes of communication crisscrossing it and which feeds Asia’s largest economies. Around 80 per cent of the world’s seaborne oil trade passes through the choke points of this ocean and therefore it literally connects the east to the west.
  • The varying system of governance in the area determines the outline of the regional security architecture. The relations between nations both intra and extra regional shapes the complex matrix that define the overall architecture. Changes in political thought processes and any alteration in relations could alter the security scenario of the region.
  • There has been a gradual to an accelerated expansion of maritime forces and their capabilities in the region. The growing presence of extra regional powers and nuclear capable nations has further altered the existing security framework. This is affecting the existing military balance and the impending imbalance could create a new architecture that could affect the prevailing security scenario.
  • The economic upsurge of some nations and stagnation/slowdown of others is throwing up challenges that could affect the regional and international markets. The lack of intra-regional trade as compared to the extra-regional trade has limited the relations between nations in the region. Added to it is the growing competition and race for exploiting available natural resources, which could bring in new challenges to the region in times to come.

SAGAR Programme (Security and Growth for All in the Region)

SAGAR Doctrine was unveiled by India in 2016 underlining the growing salience of the Indian Ocean and global maritime commons in India’s strategic calculus. It calls for intensifying cooperation among navies and maritime agencies of the world to engineer virtuous cycles of cooperation. It is a maritime initiative which gives priority to Indian Ocean region for ensuring peace, stability and prosperity of India in Indian Ocean region.

Importance:

  • SAGAR Doctrine approaches significant importance while India playing the role of a security provider for the entire Indian Region.
  • It calls for intensifying cooperation among navies and maritime agencies of the world to engineer virtuous cycles of cooperation.
  • The goal of it is to seek a climate of trust and transparency; respect for international maritime rules and norms by all countries; sensitivity to each other`s interests; peaceful resolution of maritime issues; and increase in maritime cooperation.

Key Points

  1. SAGAR is a term coined by PM Modi in 2015 during his Mauritius visit with a focus on blue economy.
  2. It is a maritime initiative which gives priority to Indian Ocean region for ensuring peace, stability and prosperity of India in Indian Ocean region.
  3. The goal is to seek a climate of trust and transparency; respect for international maritime rules and norms by all countries; sensitivity to each other`s interests; peaceful resolution of maritime issues; and increase in maritime cooperation.
  4. It is in line with the principles of Indian Ocean Rim Association.

Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA)?

  • The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) was previously named the Indian Ocean Rim Initiative.
  • It was also called the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation or the IOR-ARC for short.
  • It is a regional tripartite forum that gathers government representatives, academia and business leaders for encouraging cooperation and greater interaction between them.
  • The organisation is founded upon the values of open regionalism for boosting economic cooperation especially on the realms of trade facilitation, investment, the region’s social development and promotion.
  • Currently, it has 21 member states.
  • The IORA was formed in March 1997.
  • The idea for the IORA was formed by India and South Africa.

Member Countries of the Indian Ocean Rim Association

Australia

Madagascar

Seychelles

Bangladesh

Malaysia

Singapore

Comoros

Maldives

South Africa

India

Mauritius

Sri Lanka

Indonesia

Somalia

Tanzania

Iran

Mozambique

Thailand

Kenya

Oman

Yemen

United Arab Emirates

Dialogue Partners of the Indian Ocean Rim Association

China

Germany

United States

Egypt

Japan

Turkey

France

United Kingdom

South Korea

Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Objectives

  • Promoting balanced development and sustainable growth in the regions of the Member States.
  • Considering areas that provide maximum opportunities for development through economic cooperation.
  • Other objectives to help member countries achieve an enhanced flow of goods, services, investment, and technology include:
    • Promoting liberalisation
    • Removing impediments
    • Lowering barriers

Indian Ocean Dialogue (IOD)

The Indian Ocean Dialogue (IOD) is a flagship initiative of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), with its origins in the 13th Council of Ministers meeting, held in November 2013 in Perth, Australia.

The IORA Sustainable Development Program (ISDP)

The ISDP is a project-based program intended to meet the needs of the Member States of the IORA. Project proposals are formulated by the Member countries in collaboration with IORA Secretariat. As an instrument of sustainable development, the ISDP Program is expected to strengthen regional cooperation and forge new partnerships within the IORA Member States and with Dialogue Partners.

ISDP Objectives:

  • Encouraging lesser developed member countries to participate in IORA.
  • Encouraging capacity building, peer-to-peer learning and sharing of information to IORA member countries.
  • Enhancing and strengthening bonds amongst member countries.
  • Extending opportunities to lesser developed member countries to share their experience and expertise in specific areas that would benefit their economies.
  • Encouraging less developed member countries to host various IORA events.

IORA Council of Members Meeting 2019

  • Held in Abu Dhabi under the theme ‘Promoting a Shared Destiny and Path to Prosperity in the Indian Ocean’.
  • The UAE was declared Chair and Bangladesh was declared Vice-Chair for the period 2019-2021.
  • India published guidelines for Disaster Risk Management. India also encouraged partners to join the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure that was launched in the United Nations in 2019.
  • The Indian navy launched the Information Fusion Centre in Gurugram to assist member countries of the Indian Ocean Region with real-time crisis information. With this, India is aiming at becoming a net provider of information. Countries that are part of this information support structure of India are:
    • Maldives
    • Mauritius
    • Seychelles
    • Sri Lanka
    • Bangladesh

Key Points

  • It is the only ministerial-level organization that focuses purely on the Indian Ocean region, bound together by growing economic and trade linkages and a shared interest in promoting prosperity, peace and stability.
  • In 2014, India hosted the first Indian Ocean Dialogue in Kochi, Kerala bringing together officials, academics and other strategic thinkers to discuss six broad themes – the geo-political contour of the Indian Ocean Region, maritime security challenges, strengthening regional institutions, information sharing, cooperation in disaster relief and management, and economic cooperation. The Kochi Consensus was adopted as its outcome document.
    • The Indian Ocean Dialogue (IOD) is a flagship initiative of IORA, with its origins in the 13th Council of Ministers meeting, held in November 2013 in Perth, Australia.
    • The sixth edition of IOD will be held on 13 December 2019 in New Delhi, India.

SAGAR MAITRI

  • Oceanographic research vessel of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), INS Sagardhwani, embarked on a two-month-long SAGAR MAITRI Mission-2.
  • SAGAR MAITRI is a unique initiative of DRDO with the broad objective of “Safety And Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR)” to promote closer co-operation in socio-economic aspects as well as greater scientific interaction especially in ocean research among Indian Ocean Rim (IOR) countries.
  • “MAITRI (Marine & Allied Interdisciplinary Training and Research Initiative)” is the specific scientific component of DRDO.

Objectives of SAGAR MAITRI

  • The prime objectives of the SAGAR MAITRI Mission are data collection from the entire North Indian Ocean, focussing on the Andaman Sea and adjoining seas and establishing a long-term collaboration with eight IOR countries in the field of ocean research and development.
  • The programme also aims at establishing long term scientific collaboration with these countries in the field of ‘Ocean Research & Development’ and data collection with a focus on the Andaman Sea.

The IOR countries, include Oman, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Myanmar.

Source: TH/WEB


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