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6th Indian Ocean Conference

Context:

Recently, The sixth edition of the International Indian Ocean Conference took place in Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh.

Relevance:

GS II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About 6th Indian Ocean Conference:
  2. Major highlights
  3. About Indian Ocean Conference

About 6th Indian Ocean Conference:

  • The 6th Indian Ocean Conference, which took place in Dhaka, Bangladesh, highlighted the significance of prioritizing and strengthening connectivity within the Indian Ocean region.
  • The conference, centered around the theme “Peace Prosperity and Partnership for a Resilient Future,” convened delegates from more than 25 countries.
  • The objective was to engage in discussions and explore strategies that foster economic development while upholding peace and stability in the region.

Major highlights

Connectivity Challenges and Goals:

  • India faces challenges in achieving enhanced connectivity in the Indian Ocean region.
  • Establishing a land connection with Southeast Asia poses unique difficulties.
  • There is a call for collective efforts to overcome obstacles and improve connectivity.
  • India aims to establish effective connectivity with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and develop multi-modal connectivity to the Gulf and Central Asia.

Cooperation and Long-Term Perspective:

  • Cooperation among countries in the Indian Ocean region is crucial for tackling connectivity challenges and promoting regional development.
  • Examples like the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) demonstrate the significance of deeper cooperation and shared efforts.
  • Upholding legal obligations and agreements is vital for building trust and confidence among member nations.
  • Adherence to international law, norms, and rules is essential for a stable international order.

Sustainable Projects and Debt Concerns:

  • Unsustainable debt generated by unviable projects is a concern for countries in the region (e.g., Sri Lanka).
  • Encouraging transparent lending practices and considering market realities is necessary to avoid future complications.
  • Shared Responsibility and Focus:
  • The stability and prosperity of the Indian Ocean region require shared responsibility and focused efforts.
  • Ensuring maritime security is a collective responsibility that should not be compromised for individual dominance.
  • Practical action is needed to complement diplomatic positions.
  • The importance of climate action and counter-terrorism initiatives was highlighted.
  • Addressing threats posed by extremism and fundamentalism is crucial for safeguarding social fabrics.

About Indian Ocean Conference

The Indian Ocean Conference (IOC) is an annual event that has been held since 2016, serving as a crucial platform for regional countries to engage in discussions on matters pertaining to the region. Here are the key points about the IOC:

Focus and Objectives:
  • The IOC concentrates on fostering regional cooperation under the framework of Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR).
  • It brings together key states and maritime partners in the Indian Ocean region to address pertinent issues.
Participants:
  • While the primary focus is on coastal countries of the Indian Ocean, the conference has expanded its scope to cover important global issues.
  • Dignitaries attending the conference include the President of Mauritius, Vice President of Maldives, and India’s External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar.
  • Foreign Ministers from Bhutan, Nepal, Bahrain, and Singapore, along with ministerial representatives from Seychelles, Sri Lanka, and Madagascar, are also expected to participate.
  • Around 150 foreign guests, including representatives from D8, SAARC, and BIMSTEC, are anticipated to attend.
Significance of the IOC:
  • The IOC holds significant importance in terms of strengthening partnerships with Indian Ocean countries, promoting regional political engagement, and facilitating decision-making during crisis situations.
  • It provides a platform for participating countries to discuss global events and make informed decisions regarding future actions.

-Source: The Hindu


February 2024
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