‘Indian Ocean Region holds Immense Opportunities for Future’

Happenings

In a first of its kind confluence of Indian Ocean Rim countries in India, the three days International Conference titled ‘India & the Indian Ocean: Renewing the Maritime Trade & Civilisational Linkages’, was held on March 20, 2015 in Bhubaneswar with a sea of delegates from India and 20 countries.

In a first of its kind confluence of Indian Ocean Rim countries in India, the three days International Conference titled ‘India & the Indian Ocean: Renewing the Maritime Trade & Civilisational Linkages’, was held on March 20, 2015 in Bhubaneswar with a sea of delegates from India and 20 countries.

The conference, organised by the Institute of Social and Cultural Studies (ISCS) jointly with Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS), was inaugurated by Sushma Swaraj, Hon’ble Minister of External Affairs with lamp lighting ceremony being initiated by Hon’ble Chief Minister of Odisha, Naveen Patnaik followed by Sushma Swaraj and Dharmendra Pradhan, Hon’ble Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas.

Alongside, an exhibition ‘Indian Ocean - The Seafaring Legacy’ was also organised that touched upon all the points of civilisation linkages and marks the celebration of 1000 years of coronation of Rajendra Chola I. The exhibition was inaugurated by Ashok Chandra Panda, Hon’ble Minister, Tourism and Culture, Government of Odisha and Arindam Mukherjee, Secretary, ISCS

Sushma Swaraj, Hon’ble Minister of External Affairs, said: “We look forward to building closer cooperation in the maritime domain, regularise bilateral maritime exercises and strengthen the dialogues between the Navies and the Coast Guards with all littoral countries in the Indian Ocean Region. India is part of various multilateral institutions, which are actively debating maritime security issues in the Asia Pacific region”.

“We value our trilateral maritime security cooperation with Sri Lanka and Maldives. We are exploring possibilities of expanding it to include others in the Indian Ocean Region, in particular Seychelles and Mauritius.”

She further added, “Today, the Indian Ocean carries one half of world’s container shipments, one-third of the bulk cargo traffic and two-thirds of the oil shipments, though three-fourths of this traffic goes to other regions of the world. 90 percent of our trade by volume and 90 percent of our oil imports take place through sea. We have a long coastline of 7500 km, 1200 islands and a 2.4 million square kilometres of Exclusive Economic Zone. The vast Indian Ocean region hosts over 40 states and nearly 40 percent of world population. It is vast and diverse, home to great culture and holds immense opportunities for the future”.

“We call this Indian Ocean outreach as ‘SAGAR’. As prime minister said in Mauritius last week, we seek a future for Indian Ocean that lives up to the name of SAGAR - Security and Growth for All in the Region”.

Hon’ble Chief Minister of Odisha, Naveen Patnaik, Said: “Historically, India is known for its knowledge, wealth and culture. It was a vibrant maritime trading nation doing business with Mesopotamia, Ancient Arab countries, China and especially East Asian countries through multiple sea routes all along the Indian Ocean. The Indian Ocean, the name itself signifies the importance of India in ancient maritime world”.

“Our prominent maritime past has been authenticated by numerous and diverse excavated materials ranging from Kushan coins, Roman pottery fragments, Chinese ceramic shards and even the depiction of African giraffe in the timeless sculptures of the Sun temple of Konark. The Buddhist & Jain texts, Greek writings, Huen Tsang’s accounts and Arab writers’ accounts refer to Odisha’s sea trade with outside world through a number of ports along the coast of Kalinga,” he said.

“According to Alfred Thayer Mahan, an American Geo-strategist and Navy admiral, ‘whosoever controls the Indian Ocean in 21st Century, will control the destiny of the world.’ Therefore, we must develop a comprehensive geo-strategic policy that promotes mutually beneficial engagements on an umbrella of issues relating to trade, culture, security and environment,” he added.

The collaborating partners of the conference include Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA); XP Division, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India; Department of International Relations & Co-operation, Republic of South Africa; Kenya National Chamber of Commerce & Industry; Odisha Institute of Maritime & South East Asian Studies and National Fisheries Development Board.

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Alankar Srivastava
Alankar Srivastava

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Diplomatist Magazine was launched in October of 1996 as the signature magazine of L.B. Associates (Pvt) Ltd, a contract publishing house based in Noida, a satellite town of New Delhi, India, the National Capital.

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