Gathering in Perth: 7th Indian Ocean Conference
- The 7th Indian Ocean Conference recently convened in Perth, Australia, drawing together leaders, ministers, and officials from Indian Ocean rim countries.
- Organized by India Foundation in collaboration with the Ministry of External Affairs and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the conference aimed to address diverse issues under the theme “Towards a Stable and Sustainable Indian Ocean.“
Indian Ocean Conference (IOC)
- An annual assembly hosting over 300 delegates from 22 countries, including ministers, political leaders, diplomats, strategic thinkers, academics, and media representatives.
- Over the years, it has evolved into the premier consultative platform for countries in the region.
- The IOC aims to foster Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) by uniting critical states and principal maritime partners in dialogue and cooperation.
Indian Ocean Region
- Spanning from the Strait of Malacca and western coast of Australia to the Mozambique Channel, the Indian Ocean is a vital expanse encompassing critical subregions.
- Its strategic significance extends to South Asia, the Middle East, eastern Africa, and surrounding islands.
- Maritime security challenges, including piracy and terrorism, coexist with non-traditional threats such as climate change and illicit activities.
- Financial and strategic ambiguities, compounded by structural challenges of globalization, pose additional hurdles to stability and development.
- Enhanced consultation and cooperation among states are imperative, utilizing existing mechanisms like the Indian Ocean Rim Association and Indo-Pacific initiatives.
- Heightened awareness and understanding of trans-national threats, including climate change and dual-purpose agendas, are vital.
- Strengthening regional forums like BIMSTEC, the Quad, and initiatives such as the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative is essential for collective security.
- Prioritizing sustainable development, addressing maritime safety, piracy, and Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, and reinforcing regional organizations like Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) are critical steps toward achieving a stable and sustainable Indian Ocean.
- The 7th Indian Ocean Conference underscores the importance of collective action in addressing the region’s challenges.
- By emphasizing cooperation, awareness, and sustainable development, the conference offers a promising outlook for fostering stability and growth in the Indian Ocean region.