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Third edition of the Goa Maritime Conclave (GMC)


The 3rd edition of Goa Maritime Conclave (GMC) – 2021 is being held in November 2021 under the aegis of Naval War College, Goa.


GS-III: Internal Security Challenges

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the Goa Maritime Conclave (GMC)
  2. About the Indian Ocean
  3. About the Indian Ocean Region (IOR)
  4. Challenges in Indian Ocean Region
  5. Significance of Indian Ocean for India

About the Goa Maritime Conclave (GMC)

  • The Goa Maritime Conclave (GMC) is the Indian Navy’s Outreach Initiative providing a multinational platform to harness the collective wisdom of practitioners of maritime security and the academia towards garnering outcome oriented maritime thought.
  • With IOR becoming the focus of the 21st century strategic landscape, the GMC aims to bring together regional stakeholders and deliberate on the collaborative implementation strategies in dealing with contemporary maritime security challenges.

About GMC-2021

  • At the GMC-21, Chief of the Naval Staff of Indian Navy would be hosting Chiefs of Navies/ Heads of Maritime Forces from 12 Indian Ocean littorals, including Bangladesh, Comoros, Indonesia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Myanmar, Seychelles, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand
  • The theme for 2021 edition of GMC is “Maritime Security and Emerging Non-Traditional Threats: A Case for Proactive Role for IOR Navies”.
  • As part of the Conclave, visitors would also be afforded an opportunity to witness India’s indigenous shipbuilding industry at the ‘Make in India Exhibition’ and the capabilities of Deep Submergence Rescue Vessel (DSRV) for Submarines at Goa.

About the Indian Ocean

  • India is a peninsular country which is surrounded by Indian Ocean on three sides. The geographical location of India makes Indian Ocean integral part of its foreign policy, security decision, trade etc.
  • The Indian Ocean is the third largest ocean in the world, covering around 20% of the Earth’s water surface.
  • At present, Indian Ocean carries about half of world’s container shipment, one-third of bulk cargo traffic and two-third of oil shipments. Its littoral states are densely populated with over 40% of global population which makes it an attractive market.
  • It also carries 90% of India’s trade by volume and 90% of oil imports.
  • With the changing geopolitical equations of the world powers such as USA and China, importance of Indian Ocean has increased.

About the Indian Ocean Region (IOR)

  • The Indian Ocean Region (IOR) comprises of the Indian Ocean and the countries bordering it– Australia, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Madagascar, Somalia, Tanzania, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.
  • The Indian Ocean has 51 coastal and landlocked states- 26 Indian Ocean Rim (IOR) states, 5 Red Sea states, 4 Persian Gulf states, Saudi Arabia, France, Britain and 13 landlocked states.
  • The IOR is home to around 2.5 billion people or one-third of the population of our planet.
  • Around 55% of the oil reserves and 40% of the gas reserves are in this region.
  • The IOR is plentiful in energy resources and minerals including gold, tin, uranium, cobalt, nickel, aluminium and cadmium. The region furthermore contains abundant fishing resources.
  • The IOR has four important waterways:
    1. Suez Canal (Egypt),
    2. Bab el Mandeb (Djibouti-Yemen),
    3. Strait of Hormuz (Iran-Oman), and
    4. Strait of Malacca (Indonesia-Malaysia).
  • The main seaports of IOR are:
    1. Chennai (Madras, India);
    2. Colombo (Sri Lanka);
    3. Durban (South Africa);
    4. Jakarta (Indonesia);
    5. Kolkata(Calcutta, India);
    6. Melbourne (Australia);
    7. Mumbai (Bombay, India);
    8. Richards Bay (South Africa).

Important International Organizations and Groupings of the IOR

  1. The Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC)
  2. The Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS)
  3. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)
  4. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)
  5. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
  6. The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF)
  7. Southern African Development Community (SADC)
  8. East African Community (EAC)
  9. Indian Ocean Commission (COI)
  10. The Arab League, or League of Arab States
  11. The Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC)
  12. The Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA)

Challenges in Indian Ocean Region

  • Despite a decline in piracy off the coast of Somalia, the Indian Ocean has been witnessing a sudden rise in non-traditional challenges.
  • Maritime crime has been increasing, with a record number of drug hauls in the Asian littoral in the recent years.
  • Migration and human trafficking in South and Southeast Asia too has registered a surge in numbers. A rise in refugee movement from Bangladesh and Myanmar resulted in a humanitarian crisis of unprecedented proportions.

Significance of Indian Ocean for India

  • Geostrategic location –Indian Ocean gives India access to the South-Asia, South East Asia, Africa, West Asia and Oceania which are important from the point of view of energy, economic trade and security.
    • Choke points i.e., Strait of Hormuz, Bab-el-Mandeb, Strait of Malacca, Sunda strait and Lombok are important for not only India but also global trade.
    • It’s also important for India to counter the increasing Chinese dominance over Indian Ocean. China at present is developing several ports in Indian Ocean such as Hambantota, in Mauritius, Gwadar in Pakistan etc.
  • Economic Integration – India is an Emerging Market Economy which will benefit through its trade links with South East Asia, South Asia, Africa, West Asia and Oceania.
    • Africa currently holds enormous potential for energy exploration, mineral resources and employment opportunities for Indian diaspora.
    • Australia which is the biggest nation in the Indian Ocean is already a world leader and its partnership with India would benefit Indian economy in more than one way i.e. access to nuclear energy, new economic market for Indian goods, people to people contact etc.
    • South East and West Asia is important to India for its abundant oil reserves and other mineral resources.
  • Security – Due to possibility of terrorist attacks and increasing presence of China in Indian Ocean such as inauguration of first overseas military base in Djibouti, Indian Ocean has become an integral part of India’s maritime policy. China also inaugurated its first overseas military base in Djibouti.
    • The new Maritime Security Policy of 2015 highlights the need to develop seamless and holistic approach for greater coordination between various maritime agencies.
    • It also validates the use of Indian Navy as an instrument to secure the blurring traditional and non-traditional sea lines of communication for the purpose of economic integration.
    • The Indian Navy played a pivotal role in containing piracy on the high seas and is positioning itself as the “net security provider” in the broader Indian Ocean region with capacity building, joint exercises and increased multilateral exchanges.
  • Energy Security: India is world’s third largest oil importer with maximum import from West and South-east Asian countries. For this purpose, Indian Ocean is a very important medium for India’s energy security.
  • Ocean Resources: India is highly dependent upon ocean resources such as fishing and aquaculture. India is also involved in deep sea mineral exploration in Central Indian Ocean with ship Samudra Ratnakar from South Korea.
  • Emerging Geopolitics: While India has been increasing its outreach in Indian Ocean under SAGAR — Security and Growth for All in the Region strategy, now it is also trying to increase its centrality in the wider Indo-Pacific, a concept which situates India at the very heart of the changing geopolitical transitions in the region.
  • Multilateral Cooperation:  Indian Ocean RIM Association; India is planning to expand and further invigorate IORA’s activities, from renewable energy and the blue economy to maritime safety and security, water science and greater institutional and think-tank networking.
    • Earlier 21-member states of IORA had issued a strategic vision document, known as the Jakarta Concord, that “sets out a vision for a revitalized and sustainable regional architecture’’.
    • Besides maximizing the potential of trade, investment and economic cooperation in the region, the Jakarta Concord also aims to address non-traditional issues, such as illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, human trafficking, drug trafficking, illegal migration and piracy.
    • A Declaration on Preventing and Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism was also adopted last year.

-Source: The Hindu

December 2023