Union Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre on Saturday said India was committed to use its capabilities and central location to ensure a safe, secure and stable Indian Ocean Region (IOR). He also lamented that a siloed approach and fragmented functioning of various stakeholders had long impeded a seamless exchange of information and resources among various units and establishments of the government and private stakeholders.
Bhamre was speaking at the inauguration ceremony of a daylong seminar, Underwater Domain Awareness (UDA) Framework for Effective Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR), jointly organised by Maritime Research Centre, Pune, and Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) Saturday.
The inauguration was attended by SPPU Vice Chancellor Nitin Karmalkar, Maritime Research Centre Director Arnab Das, MRC Advisor Praful Talera and President of Indian Maritime Foundation Commodore (Rtd) Rajan Vir.
“The government on its part has initiated multiple projects to build the maritime infrastructure to fast-track the growth. The physical infrastructure to support an efficient logistical network is being put in place. The aggressive infrastructure build-up has to be supported by the management network to ensure steady flow of business for optimum utilisation and long-term sustainability,” said Bhamre.
He underlined the importance of Indian Ocean Region on global level.
“Indian Ocean is crucial to the future of the world. It’s waters touch the shores of over 40 countries and nearly 40 per cent of the world population. Two thirds of the world’s oil shipments and one-third of the bulk cargo cross the Indian Ocean. Our future cannot be a zero-sum game. India is committed to use her capabilities and central location in the region to ensure a safe, secure and stable Indian Ocean Region that takes us all to the shore of prosperity,” said Bhamre.
He called for a better co-ordination between various stakeholders such as government agencies, armed forces, business interests and institutions doing research and academic work in the field of oceans.
“The Underwater Domain Awareness indeed is aligned to the SAGAR vision of the Prime Minister and I would be keen to see it mature in the near future,” he said.
Prof Karmalkar, in his speech, said SPPU had spoken to the Union ministry about the possibility of starting an UDA centre in the university.
However, he said the government was of the opinion that other universities, which are located closer to the coastline, would be better suited for having such a centre.
“We have now proposed a consortium of three universities — SSPU, Mumbai University and Goa University — under which the centre will be established in Goa,” said Karmalkar.
Das, who organised the event, said the UDA is a framework that addresses the aspects of safe, secure and sustainable growth in the maritime region, particularly for the Indian Ocean Region.
“The UDA is aligned to PM Modi’s vision, SAGAR. The effective UDA framework being a new initiative will require efforts in all the dimensions, namely Policy Support, Infrastructure Creation, Know-How Build up and Human Resource Development. Pooling of resources and synergy of efforts are the only way forward, thus, stakeholders, namely national security apparatus, blue economic entities, environmental regulators and disaster management authorities, along with science and technology providers have to come together to evolve a nuances strategic vision,” said Das.