The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) needs to bring in business while stakeholders should be more forceful and efficacious in activities and programmes, V Muraleedharan, Minister of State for External Affairs, had said.

"India attaches great preference to the IORA," the Minister of State said while was addressing the 19th IORA Council Of Ministers Meeting at Abu Dhabi.

"IORA is the most innovative, unique and broad-based platform for inter-regional partnership, connecting through the seas the world’s most dynamic regions of South, South-East and West Asia, Oceania and Africa."

Foreign Ministers from 22 member countries and nine dialogue partners are attending the IORA Counicl of Ministers meeting to discuss key areas to achieve larger economic cooperation, sustained development and growth of the region.

The Indian trade and industry sectors can potentially contribute and improve intra-IORA trade and tourism through trade facilitation and promotional activities.

"In this context, we will host a workshop on beach and cruise tourism in the spring of 2020 in partnership with our business chambers," Muraleedharan said. India will also host a course in film making at the National Film and Television Institute in February, he added.

India is the largest contributor to the IORA Special Fund. Last week, it made a fresh contribution of $1 million to the fund. India has also taken steps to support strengthening the IORA secretariat by sharing expertise.

As coordinator to the priority area on disaster risk management, it has published guidelines for IORA. It has also urged partners to join the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure launched at the UN in September.

Asserting the value of greater intra-IORA work on the blue economy and science and technology, the minister said exhorted scientists and oceanographers to raise understanding of the challenges ahead and formulating best solutions.

In 2015, India had hosted the first Indian Ocean Dialogue in Kochi bringing together officials, academics, and other strategic thinkers to discuss six broad themes – the geo-political contour of the Indian Ocean Region, maritime security challenges, strengthening regional institutions, information sharing, cooperation in disaster relief and management, and economic cooperation. The Kochi Consensus was adopted as its outcome document.

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