7th Indian Ocean Conference
The 7th IOC was held in Perth, Australia on February 9-10, 2024. The theme was “Towards a Stable and Sustainable Indian Ocean.” It was organized by the India Foundation, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (Singapore) and Perth-US Asia Centre (Australia).
Indian Ocean Region
The Indian Ocean Region (IOR) is a geographical region encompassing the Indian Ocean and surrounding areas. It spans from the African coast in the west to the Australian coast in the east. The northern boundary includes the Arabian Peninsula and Persian Gulf. The southern boundary extends to the coasts of Sri Lanka and Australia. The Indian Ocean is the world’s third largest ocean, covering approximately 70.6 million square kilometers.
Significance of the IOR
The IOR holds great geopolitical, economic, security and environmental significance. Its location makes it a major global trade transit route, including for oil and gas shipments. It contains strategically important chokepoints like the Strait of Malacca and Bab-el-Mandeb strait. The region shares 64% of global population and 60% of global GDP. It faces security threats like terrorism, piracy and maritime challenges. The IOR also contains vital marine ecosystems like coral reefs and mangrove forests.
Indian Ocean Conference (IOC)
The Indian Ocean Conference (IOC) is an annual international event focused on the Indian Ocean region. It convenes policymakers, scholars, business leaders and civil society to discuss security, trade and cooperation in the region. The first IOC was held in Singapore in 2016. The sixth edition took place in Dhaka, Bangladesh in 2023. It is organized by the India Foundation and partners.
Key Highlights of EAM Jaishankar’s Speech
External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar highlighted the following in his speech:
- Threats to maritime traffic, piracy and terrorism in the region. Concerns over freedom of navigation, sovereignty and independence.
- Disruptive events occurring more frequently due to climate change and natural disasters. Fuel, food and fertilizer crises affecting IOR countries.
- Challenges from unsustainable debt, opaque lending, unviable projects and injudicious choices.
- Over-concentration of manufacturing and technology due to globalization. Need to build reliable, resilient supply chains.
- The digital era and AI have increased the premium on trust and transparency.
- Sustainable future lies in digitalization, electric mobility, green hydrogen, green shipping and more.
The 7th IOC highlighted the IOR’s geopolitical significance. It covered traditional and non-traditional security threats in the region. The conference emphasized the need for greater cooperation to build a stable, sustainable Indian Ocean.
Category: International / World Current Affairs