NO: DELENG / 2017 / 70663
official media partner of national maritime foundation
Admiral R K Dhowan: Welcome Address at Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue 2019
By Sea and Coast | 29/06/2019

Chairman Chiefs of Staffs Committee and Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba, Admiral Arun Prakash, Former Chief of the Naval Staff, Excellencies, Senior Officers from the armed forces, both serving and Retired, distinguished guests, eminent participants, members of the media, Ladies and gentlemen.

It is indeed a distinct honour for me to accord a very warm welcome. To all our distinguished guests, this morning , for the inaugural session of the Indo-Pacific Regional Dialouge 2019. The Indo-Pacific, which is essentially a confluence of two oceans, is a region with Pre-dominance of the maritime domain and a neutral outflow towards seas, and waters of the Indo-Pacific region have emerged as global economic highways for transit of seaborne trade.

India sits astride busy sea lines of communication over which nearly One billion tonnes of oil transits every year. These oil arteries and trade Routes lead further East to the ASEAN, and countries like Japan, South Korea and China. But the seas are no longer benign medium and Globalisation has resulted in vulnerability of oceans. Safety, Security and Stability across the waters of the Indo-Pacific are of paramount importance. As the maritime interests of India and countries of there region are Intrinsically linked to unfettered flow of oil and trade across the region.

In recent years under the leadership of our Honourable Prime Minister, there have been a series of initiatives for sustainable development in the Maritime domain along with the quest to harness the Blue Economy and transition from Look to Act East Policy.

As far as India’s perspective of the Indo-Pacific is concerned, Honourable Prime Minister has spelt out these bounds as extending from the shores of Africa to that of the  Americas and defining the contours of India’s grand strategy within this region, he addes the India’s engagement. In the Indo-Pacific Region will be inclusive.

During his address at the Shangri La Dialouge in June 2018. The Hon’ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi make three important Statements and I will try and capture the list of these statements which related to a rules based international order.

First, India believes that there is a need to evolve a common rules based order for the region, which should apply equally to individual nations, as well as the global commons. Such as order must believe in, Sovereignty, territorial integrity and equality of all nations. These rules and norms should be based on consent of all and not just the power of a few. He also mentioned when nations make international commitments they must uphold them.

Second, we all should have equal access and rights under International law and freedom  of navigation to the use of common spaces. Both at sea and in the air. We should resort to peaceful settlement of disputers in accordance with international law. When we all agree to live by that code than our sea lanes will be pathways to prosperity and corridors of peace.

Third, India will promote a democratic rules based international order, In which all nations big and small thrive as equals. To achieve this, India will engage the world in peace, with respect, through dialogue and absolute Commitment to international law.

The oceans are common heritage of mankind and countries of the region need to work together to evolve a common rules based international order.

The current conference is the second edition of the Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue , and it is a privilege for the national Maritime Foundation to partner with the Indian Navy for its apex level seminar, which Reviews India’s opportunities and challenges in the Indo-Pacific Region.This year the deliberations at the conference will span over five themes.

The first theme is achieving Cohesion of the Indo-Pacific through Maritime Connectivity. In additional to the belt and road Initiative, the options for connectivity in the Indo-Pacific region Include the international North South Transport corridor, the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor, Project ‘Mausam’ which is an initiative for connectivity between cultures and people and SAGAR, which stands for security and growth for all in the Region and is the vision of the Hon’ble Prime Minister  of India. These connectivity  options will be examined to promote trade and maritime cooperation as Partnership for prosperity  in the maritime domain.

The second session will focus on Attaining and Maintaining a Free and Open Indo – Pacific: Way-ahead measures. The instabilities and turbulence in some parts of the Indo-Pacific region have the Potential to spill over into the maritime domain. India has advocated adherence to 0 International law and maintenance and promotion of peace and stability. Maritime safety and security, freedom of navigation and over flight in the region.

The challenging question of analysing the operative words free and open for whom ? and whose rules we need to abide by ? will be discussed during this session, with a view to chart the way ahead for shaping a favourable maritime environment across the Indo-Pacific.

A Regional Approach to the Blue Economy will be the third session of the conference.  With depletion of resources on land human kind has turned towards the seas for resources. However, indiscriminate pollution of the sea and contamination of the marine habitat have resulted in a detrimental impact of climate change on the oceans. Harnessing the Blue Economy envisages economic development of our maritime interests by optimal utilisation of resources with minimum impact on the environment to ensure sustainable development of the oceans. This session will examine avenues for maritime cooperation between countries of the region for harnessing  the Blue Economy.

Maritime-Industry 4.0: Skill-Development and Employment-generation Opportunities  is the theme of the 4th session of the conference. The advent of industry 4.0 causing major changes by Artificial Intelligence driven robotics, block chains, Big data analytics and internet of things in the  maritime domain . This requires specialised skill development to create suitable employment opportunities for the maritime industrial workforce to thrive in industry 4.0 environment. Countries of the Indo-Pacific region need to absorb and imbibe the best practices from countries which are globally acknowledged leaders in transition to industry 4.0 is.

The final theme of the conference will focus on integrating SAGARMALA and SAGAR Concept.  SAGARMALA is an ambitious port led development initiative launched by the Government based on four pillars of port modernisation, connectivity, port led industrialisation and coastal community development. The aim is to develop Green field port infrastructure and transhipment hubs which connectivity and development of inland waterways.

SAGAR on the other hand is the Hon’ble Prime Minister's vision for Security and Growth for all in the region . During this session we will examine the options for integrating the SAGARMALA project with the concepts of SAGAR by extending the development of ports to our littoral neighbours in the  region to provide an eco-system of connectivity and trade across the Indo-Pacific Region.

The seas around us are gaining new found importance as each day goes by and I have no doubt that the current century of the seas.

The recent initiatives taken by India for sustainable development in the maritime domain are pointers to indicate that India has once again turned towards the seas and is destined to emerge as a resurgent maritime nation.

In conclusion I would like to highlight five focus issues which could emerge as major take aways from this conference.

The oceans are common heritage of mankind and countries of region need to work together to evolve a common rules based international order for the Indo-Pacific Region.

The Indo-Pacific has emerged as a contiguous maritime space with common opportunities and challenges. We need to examine various connectivity options and existing maritime structures to provide synergy for greater maritime cooperation across the Indo-Pacific Region.

The United Nation’s document transforming our world 2030 Agenda and sustainable Development Goal, SDG 14, provide a template for conservation of oceans, seas and resources. We need to examine a  regional approach towards harnessing the Blue Economy to ensure sustainable development of the oceans.In  order to promote partnership for prosperity in the maritime domain we need to examine integration of the SAGARMALA project with the concept of SAGAR in our littoral neighbourhood to provide an eco-system of connectivity and sea borne trade across the Indo-Pacific Region.

80% of all pollution in the oceans emanate form land. Countries of the Indo-Pacific Region need to join hands together to draw up an action plan to ensure clean and healthy oceans for our future generations.

Finally, I would like to welcome all our distinguished guests and eminet participants once again to the Indo-Pacific Region Dialogue 2019. I am sure the enriching deliberations at the conference would provide some path breaking and paradigm shifting ideas on promotion of maritime cooperation and enhancing safety, security, stability and prosperity across the Indo-Pacific Region.