Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman, the Raksha Mantri, launched the Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR), last evening, at Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) Gurugram. Apart from representation by officials from the MoD, MEA, MHA, Ministry of Shipping and the NSCS, Ambassadors and Resident Defence Attaches of partner countries also participated in the event.
The Indian Ocean Region is vital to world trade and economic prosperity of many nations as more than 75% of the world’s maritime trade and 50% of global oil consumption passes through the IOR. However, maritime terrorism, piracy, human and contraband trafficking, illegal and unregulated fishing, arms running and poaching pose myriad challenges to maritime safety and security in the region. Response to these challenges requires enhanced situational awareness of the maritime activities in the region so as to enable security agencies function effectively.
However, the scale, scope and the multi-national nature of maritime activities, make it difficult for countries to address these challenges individually. Hence, collaborative efforts between maritime nations in the IOR, is essential. Towards this, the IFC-IOR aims to engage with partner nations and multi-national maritime constructs to develop comprehensive maritime domain awareness and share information on vessels of interest. The intention of this collaborative endeavour shall be to secure the global commons for a peaceful, stable and prosperous region towards the well-being of all.
During her address the Raksha Mantri said that the objective of having an IFC-IOR is more for partners, equals to work towards keeping the global commons safe and democratically available for all of us. She further added that, in addition to utilising our collective wisdom and resources towards addressing the myriad challenges in our region, the IFC-IOR will help us interface and integrate, wherein, we would benefit from each other’s best practices and expertise.
More significantly, she said that the IFC-IOR will help foster bonds of trust, camaraderie and partnership; ingredients that are vital for relationships between nations to transcend from being merely transactional to ones that are transformational.