Global maritime meet soon, says Modi

Asserting that Indian Ocean region is one of the government’s foremost policy priorities, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said a global maritime conference would be held within two months to establish linkages with other maritime powers with the aim of improving economic prosperity through the oceans.

“To build on the gains from the international fleet review, India would host the first ever Global Maritime Summit in April, 2016,” Modi said here after watching an operational demonstration of Navy’s capabilities, an impressive fly past and an international city parade by the participating nations as well as Indian agencies.

The upcoming summit’s priority, he explained, would be to scale up and strengthen the vibrant trade, investment, technology and commercial linkages between India and other maritime nations as 90 per cent of India's trade import by volume and 90 per cent Indian oil import happened through the seas.

With 7,500 km coastline, 1,200 island territories and 2.4 million square km exclusive economic zone, a large part of India’s quest for economic prosperity is through oceans.

“An essential part of this pursuit is the development of India's coastal and island territories; but, not just for tourism. We want to build new pillars of economic activity in the coastal areas and in linked hinterlands through sustainable tapping of oceanic resources,” he said.

Strengthening marine research, development of eco-friendly marine industrial and technology base and fisheries are other elements in the strategy. The water of Indian Ocean touches the shores of over 40 countries, many of whom similar goals to improve their economies. To achieve that objective, navies and maritime agencies from around the world need to work together to secure the international sea lanes of the communication.

“A peaceful and stable maritime environment is critical for the regional and global security. It is also a must to harvest the riches of the oceanic ecosystems. Given the scale and complexity of the challenges, the international maritime stability cannot be the preserve of a single nation. It has to be a shared goal and responsibility of all the seafaring countries,” Modi said.

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