- Speaking at the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) Plus Defence Ministers’ Conclave, Defence Minister Shri Rajnath Singh stated that India is prepared to provide missiles and weapon systems to friendly countries in the region.
- He stated that India seeks the IOR countries’ cooperation in combating terrorism, narcotics, and unregulated fishing in the Indian Ocean.
GS Paper 2: India and its neighborhood- relations
As a rising China projects economic and military power into the Indian Ocean, any Indian government strategy for regional balance must include economic and military development of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Examine. (250 words)
The IOR+ Conclave:
- In February 2021, Bengaluru hosted the first Indian Ocean Region (IOR) Defence Ministers’ Conclave.
- At the Conclave, India’s Defence Minister, Shri Rajnath Singh, emphasised that as the largest country in the IOR with a 7500-kilometer-long coastline, India has an active role to play in ensuring the peaceful and prosperous coexistence of all countries.
- Building on the success of the first conclave, the Defence Minister recently hosted a 2022 IOR+ Defence Ministers’ Conclave in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
- The overall theme was ‘Indian Ocean Challenges, Opportunities, and Collaborations.’
- Forty countries from the Indian Ocean region attended the conclave.
- It facilitated dialogue with strategic and commercial partnerships within the IOR in order to foster a stable and peaceful Indian Ocean.
The Indian Ocean Region faces the following challenges:
- IOR countries face similar challenges, such as –
- Terrorism spreading via sea routes
- Unreported, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing
- Piracy and extortion
- Food security on a regional and global scale.
The Importance of the IOR+ Conclave:
- The conclave is an initiative to promote dialogue in an institutional and cooperative environment, with the goal of fostering peace, stability, and prosperity in the IOR.
- The forum is called IOR+ because the concept of this conclave is shared responsibility and prosperity.
- At the IOR+ conclave, Shri Rajnath Singh stated that India was prepared to supply weapons to friendly countries in the IOR to assist in countering the challenges.
- Through the IOR+ Conclave, India demonstrated three key aspects of its commitment to regional peace and prosperity:
- The first is its willingness to convert its display of indigenously produced military hardware into a willingness to supply it to strategic partners in the Indian Ocean region.
- Second, the government is making a concerted effort to increase exports of Indian defence manufacturing institutions.
- Finally, India’s defence manufacturing facilities now have clear political support for exports.
IORA (Indian Ocean Rim Association):
- The Indian Ocean Rim Association is an intergovernmental organisation dedicated to promoting regional cooperation and long-term development in the Indian Ocean region.
- It was founded in 1997 as a result of an initiative by India and South Africa.
- The IORA has been active for over 25 years, with 23 members and nine dialogue partners.
- France was the last country to be admitted on the basis of its Indian Ocean territory of Reunion Island.
Why do we need an IOR Conclave when we already have an IORA?
- The Government of India has cleverly organised a conclave of Indian Ocean Defence Ministers without making it an IORA event
- India seeks to promote SAGAR objectives through the IOR Conclave.
- SAGAR – Security and Growth for All in the Region is the theme of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s 2015 Indian Ocean Policy.
- Through SAGAR, India aims to strengthen economic and security cooperation with its maritime neighbours while also assisting in the development of their maritime security capabilities.
- The dynamic five ‘S’ vision highlighted India’s approach and vision for addressing global challenges –
- Samman (Respect); Samvaad (Dialogue); Sahyog (Collaboration); Shanti (Peace); and Samriddhi (Independence) (Prosperity).
- India’s willingness to export defence equipment is motivated primarily by the need to contain and counter non-traditional threats such as coastal security, disasters, terrorism, piracy, pollution, and illegal actions.
- This improves maritime security cooperation and is wisely pursued by initiatives such as the IOR Conclave.
Summary of Recent Events:
- Defense Minister Shri Rajnath Singh recently addressed the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) Plus Defence Ministers’ Conclave in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
- He stated that India seeks IOR countries’ collaboration to combat terrorism, narcotics, and unregulated fishing in the Indian Ocean.
- He stated that India is prepared to supply weapons to friendly countries in the IOR to assist in countering the challenges.
- He also drew parallels with the Russia-Ukraine conflict to emphasise the importance of IOR stability.
- He also urged the IOR countries to collaborate on disaster management on a “broader and deeper” scale