Deputy Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral Sanjay Mahindru on Thursday sought “collaborative approach” that focuses on “collective capacity building and combating maritime threats and challenges together” in the Indian Ocean Region (ICR), which as per him, is vital to prosperity of a large part of humanity.

More than half of the world’s container ships and over two-thirds of the world’s crude oil shipments pass through the IOR, Vice Admiral Mahindru told representatives of 26 countries assembled in Gurugram to attend Maritime Information Sharing Workshop 2023.

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He listed out threats such as terrorism, piracy, human and contraband trafficking, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, arms running and poaching which he stated posed clear challenges to maritime safety and security in our waters. “These challenges are unique both in their nature and complexity. Any response to these challenges requires enhanced situational awareness of the maritime domain so as to enable security agencies to function effectively,” the Deputy Chief of Naval Staff said.

He emphasised over the need for better coordination and information sharing to secure strategic and economic interests in the IOR that is seeing aggressive patrolling by Chinese vessels. The 26 representatives are from countries of the Djibouti Code of Conduct – Jeddah Amendment, an important regional construct, which India joined in 2020 as an observer for maiden MISW Workshop.

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Organising Maritime Information Sharing Workshops is an initiative of Information Fusion Centre - Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) to build bridges of friendship with our maritime friends and partners, Mahindru stressed. The aim of this workshop is to afford cohesive and collective responses, to the many maritime security challenges that the ICR faces and develop a robust functional level understanding amongst participants, he emphasised.

Some of the most experienced and seasoned speakers from Indian Navy both serving and veterans will cover various topics within the realm of maritime domain awareness during the workshop. It would also take you through a tabletop maritime security exercise where all the participants would be able to work together as a team to prepare plans in response to the various maritime contingencies, stated the Vice Admiral.