The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions. The world's earliest civilisations in Mesopotamia, ancient Egypt, the Indian subcontinent, Persia and later in Southeast Asia, all developed around the Indian Ocean. Today, its littorals and hinterland comprise more than fifty nation-states and two-thirds of the world's known reserves of strategic raw materials while an estimated 40 per cent of the world's offshore oil production comes from it. The Indian Ocean is appropriately called Ratnakara in ancient Sanskrit literature, which means, the creator of jewellery.
The contemporary maritime scenario is tempered, on the one hand, by regional geo-strategic interaction and imperatives and, on the other, by the now omnipresent forces of globalisation. It is within these extra-oceanic environmental parameters that the maritime security forces of the region have to operate.
All maritime forces have to deal with some very distinct and localised challenges. These inter alia include transnational maritime threats as also the management of large maritime zones with limited security resources.
To overcome these challenges there is clearly a need to synergise security efforts by adopting cooperative security strategies on a region-wide basis. Yet, in the Indian Ocean, a regional security architecture is lacking.
The seminar has attempted to examine all the said issues a priori and recommend suitable options for the region. The compilation of articles, and the recommendations flowing from the discussions, should provide sufficient basis for future dialogue and charting the way ahead!
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