Safe, secure Indian Ocean our priority: Sushma Swaraj
Colombo [Sri Lanka], Aug 31 : External Affair Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj on Thursday said that it is paramount for New Delhi to ensure safety and security of the Indian Ocean.Addressing the Indian Ocean Conference, Swaraj said the vision of highlighting security needs in the waters of Indian Ocean was propelled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi through the concept of SAGAR (Security and Growth for all in the Region)
"Our vision for the Indian Ocean region is to preserve its organic unity, while advancing cooperation. We envisage Indian Ocean as an engine for growth and prosperity in our region and beyond. It is of utmost importance that these waters remain safe and secure. This vision was initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in March 2015 when we put forward the concept of SAGAR (Security and Growth for all in the Region). This is a clear high level articulation of India's vision for the Indian Ocean," said Swaraj.
Further elaborating on Prime Minister Modi's vision of SAGAR, Swaraj elucidated its extensive nitty-gritty.
"SAGAR has distinct but inter-related agreement and underscores India's engagement in the Indian Ocean these are, 1) Enhancing capacities to safeguard land and maritime territories. 2) Deepening economic and security cooperation. 3) Promoting collective action to deal with natural disaster and maritime threats like piracy, terrorism and emergent non-state actors. 4) Working towards sustainable regional development," she said.
"The principles enshrined in SAGAR provide us with a coherent framework to address some of the challenges relating to economic revival, connectivity, security, culture and identity. The challenge before us is to ensure intra-ocean trade and investment and the sustainable harnessing of the wealth of the seas including food, medicines and clean energy," she added.
Asserting that today Indian Ocean is one of the busiest and critical maritime transportation mean in the world. And that the economies of the many of the literal countries depend heavily on it Swaraj said, "The Indian Ocean is of vital importance for India. And, 90 percent of our trade by volume almost all of our oil imports come through the sea."
Swaraj yesterday landed in Sri Lanka to attend two-day the Indian Ocean Conference.
India Foundation, a Delhi-based think tank, is hosting the Indian Ocean Conference 2017 (IOC) in collaboration with Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Singapore, and National Institute of Fundamental Studies (NIFS), Colombo -- both research and study centres -- and the theme of the conference is peace, progress and prosperity.
Around 35 nations are participating in the Conference.