De­fence Min­is­ter in­au­gu­rates Goa Mar­itime Con­clave


Inau­gu­rat­ing the Goa Mar­itime Con­clave (GMC), the Min­is­ter of De­fence, Nir­mala Sithara­man said that it aimed to bring to­gether like minded na­tions to evolve and for­mu­late col­lec­tive re­sponses to chal­lenges in the mar­itime do­main. It would also pro­vide an op­por­tu­nity to com­mu­ni­cate In­dia’s view­points and col­lec­tively shape a favourable mar­itime en­vi­ron­ment for coun­tries in the re­gion.

The Novem­ber 1 con­clave on ‘Re­gional Mar­itime Chal­lenges’ saw speak­ers such as Ad­mi­ral Arun Prakash (Retd), Ad­mi­ral Dr Jayanth Colom­bage (Retd) of Sri Lanka, Ad­mi­ral Md Khur­shed Alam of Bangladesh, Pro­fes­sor Ash­ley J. Tel­lis, Dr C. Raja Mo­han, Pro­fes­sor Harsh V. Pant and Dr Chris­tian Bueger.

The Min­is­ter said that the In­dian Ocean re­gion (IOR) has pro- gres­sively gained cen­tre-stage largely due to the po­lit­i­cal im­pact of its re­gional dy­nam­ics on in­ter­na­tional geo-pol­i­tics. The fu­ture of the world will be shaped, to a large ex­tent, by the po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic in­ter­ac­tions be­tween the stake hold­ers in the IOR.

She added “On land, the un­re­solved bor­ders and ri­par­ian dis­putes which are pre­dom­i­nantly a le­gacy of the colo­nial era are some of the key causes of con­flict. Fur­ther, this im­passe in in­ter­na­tional re­la­tion­ships, is a prod­uct of many causes such as ide­o­log­i­cal dif­fer­ences, po­lit­i­cal in­se­cu­ri­ties, eco­nomic de­pen­dency, tech­no­log­i­cal de­pen­den­cies, in­equitable ac­cess to re­sources, ge­o­graph­i­cal im­per­a­tives etc. The net im­pact of th­ese dif­fer­ences is that trust deficit and ten­sions be­tween na­tions con­tinue to per­sist, on ac­count of per­ceived chal­lenges to sovereignty, de­spite pos­i­tive eco­nomic in­ter­ac­tions be­tween them. As in­ter­na­tional be­hav­iour in the mar­itime medium is in­flu­enced con­sid­er­ably by land based im­per­a­tives, cor­dially or la­tent hos­til­ity preva­lent amongst coun­tries on land tends to be re­flected in the seas.”

She said the GMC should eval­u­ate the im­pact of emerg­ing mar­itime se­cu­rity ar­chi­tec­tures on over­com­ing mar­itime se­cu­rity chal­lenges; sort out dif­fer­ences; cap­i­talise on com­mon­al­i­ties; tap in­tel­lec­tual cap­i­tal and evolve cus­tomised so­lu­tions rather than im­ported so­lu­tions.

Ad­mi­ral Su­nil Lanba, Chief of the Naval Staff said that there is a per­cep­ti­ble lack of for­mal ar­range­ments with re­spect to en­gage­ment be­tween lit­toral navies of the south and south eastern IOR and the GMC aimed at bridg­ing this gap. There was need for cre­ation of com­pre­hen­sive in­fra­struc­ture, equip­ping the force with tech­nol­ogy and in­vest­ing in qual­ity train­ing while ex­er­cis­ing fi­nan­cial pru­dence. Mak­ing large and long term fi­nan­cial com­mit­ments to counter spe­cific threats from per­ceived ad­ver­saries may not nec­es­sar­ily yield the de­sired re­sults in the fu­ture, hence it would be wiser to ad­here to long term plan which is un­der­pinned by a clear as­sess­ment of de­sired ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

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