Citing a set of maritime challenges including increased militarization and terrorist activities, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said that the Indian Ocean Region will face an increasingly complicated, rapidly evolving, and more demanding security situation, with an ever-increasing battery of threats and uncertainties.
In his remarks at the Goa Maritime Conclave, Shringla said non-traditional threats and new technologies have combined to form a whole new spectrum of sub-conventional security threats and problems.
He said that terrorists, which are supported and encouraged by the resources of governments, threaten offshore and coastal assets using oceans to move and infiltrate.
"Such terrorists tend to combine with transnational criminals. These alliances escalate instability and violence levels exponentially," the foreign secretary said, according to a statement by the Ministry of External Affairs.
The Conclave was attended by Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar and Naval Chiefs and other representatives from Bangladesh, Comoros, Indonesia, Madagascar, Maldives, Malaysia, Mauritius, Myanmar, Seychelles, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
Another set of challenges arises from geopolitical volatilities, the foreign secretary highlighted.
"A lack of commitment to settled international law has led to increased militarization of the region. Militarization always adds to complexities," Shringla said.
"The Indian Ocean Region, it is quite obvious, will face an increasingly complicated, rapidly evolving, and more demanding security situation, with an ever increasing battery of threats and uncertainties," he added, and highlighted that India stands ready and willing to do its share in tackling these problems.
Shringla noted that India's Indo Pacific vision is premised upon the principle of 'ASEAN-Centrality', adding that India's concept of the Indo Pacific is inclusive in nature and supports an approach that respects the right to freedom of navigation and overflight for all in the international seas.
"India's approach is based on cooperation and collaboration, given the need for shared responses to shared challenges in the region," he said.
Shringla suggested that the international community can work on strengthening the structures, the understandings, the procedures, and the resources, that are deployed.
"We cannot anticipate each and every problem that will arise. We can however work on strengthening the structures, the understandings, the procedures, and the resources, that are deployed. This will enable us to better manage known problems. It will also enable us to create a 'surge' capacity to deal with the unknown," he said.
Highlighting the importance of institutional dialogues between maritime security agencies in partner countries, Shringla said that these dialogues can contribute to improvement of security related outcomes.
"Dialogues and other mechanisms help in the generation of SOPs and promotion of interoperability. The maritime security conclave involving India, Sri Lanka, Maldives and other regional partners is one such example," he said.
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