International Diplomacy in Indian Ocean Rim Countries

International Diplomacy in Indian Ocean Rim Countries

Question - India must develop the seas around the Indian Ocean so that all the surrounding nations benefit in a sustainable way. Discuss the emerging dynamics of international diplomacy in Indian Ocean Rim countries and also focus on India.

IORA initially focused on the following issues:

• Maritime security
• Trade
• Cultural promotion
• Tourism and fisheries
• New Dynamics
• Blue economy development and sectoral integration form the crux of international diplomacy involving the IORA member states
• At a recent IORA conference, the Bhubhaneshwar Declaration was adopted
• It laid down the following conditions:
• Establishment of a sub committee for dealing with non-tariff barriers for trade and investment
• Support for green investment
• Setting up of an IORA Chamber of Commerce and Industry
• Prioritisation of work on the blue economy
• Joint committee on Intellectual Property Rights
• Enhanced marine resource management including benefit sharing

Role of India

• Countries with better technical capacities such as India can better harvest and reap rich economic dividends from marine resources

• Currently 10 countries globally account for 90% of patents pertaining to marine genetic resources

• Global Commons approach for using marine resources in ABNJ/areas belong national jurisdiction require development of appropriate governance framework by IORA member states

• UN Convention on Law of the Seas/UNCLOS will focus on issues of marine genetic resource governance including access to genetic resources and benefit sharing

• IORA countries must safeguard both governance and benefit sharing in this region and India has a central role to play in this

• Indian Ocean region is rich in marine resources and it is important to use these resources wisely

• Economic potential as well as realising benefits from coastal and marine resources is the focus of the blue economy

• Consortium of UN agencies outlined priorities under the title ‘A Green Economy in Blue World’.

• This report highlighted the critical role played by the blue economy in providing food and livelihood to the international population and transportation for 80% of global trade

• Seabed provides 32% of global hydrocarbon supply and new technologies are opening up blue energy production and use of marine resources in a sustainable fashion

• The transformation of the region could be initiated by India focusing on SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region)

Role of IORA member states

• An expert committee would be set up of legal and policy experts from member nations to provide inputs for multilateral agreements that are legally binding

• Quick review of governance regimes in the IORA region should be carried out considering issue of resource access in areas within and beyond national jurisdiction

• Options can also be identified for designating areas as specially ecologically and biologically sensitive areas for ensuring additional protection and sustainable management

• IORA needs to chalk out special region cooperation programme on the blue economy while focusing on sustainable development

• Regional and sub regional climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies also need to be encouraged by IORA member nations for capacity building and resilience in protecting livelihoods

Facts and Stats

About IORA

• Indian Ocean Rim Association was established in March 1997

• Its mandate was the promotion of sustainable growth and balanced development in this region

• IORA has 20 member states and 6 observer states

• It is a regional platform for protecting the interests of member states

• Seychelles took the lead to create a Department of Blue Economy, with a minister to oversee its role.
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