Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to address conclave today

New Delhi: Naval heads from 10 of India's maritime neighbours meet in Goa as India continues to build on its attempt to emerge as a net security provider in the Indian Ocean region.

Navy chiefs or the heads of maritime agencies of India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Maldives, Malaysia, Mauritius, Myanmar, Seychelles, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand congregate in the coastal state to discuss issues of mutual interest.

The conclave will focus on emerging maritime threats, force structuring, maritime domain awareness, maritime security architecture and challenges in the Indian Ocean region, said a Navy officer. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will address the conclave on Wednesday.

The gathering comes at a time when India and China are vying for supremacy in the strategically important Indian Ocean region. The Indian Navy has not only expanded its footprint, but has also decided to keep an eye on important sea lanes, including the Malacca Strait, throughout the year.

With the US support, the blue water force seeks to emerge as the net security provider in the Indian Ocean region.

The Goa conclave comes days after the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting (ADMM Plus) in the Philippines, where several defence ministers from the region had their first interaction with US defence secretary Jim Mattis.

Before the ASEAN meeting, Mattis met Nirmala in Delhi to discuss issues related to regional stability, among others.

Nirmala too was present at ASEAN, where India's role in resolving the Doklam crisis through diplomacy was well appreciated.

"As the Indian Ocean region becomes the focus of the 21st century strategic landscape, it is natural for the Indian Navy to play a constructive role in bringing together uniformed and non-uniformed personnel from neighbouring maritime countries, who have a stake in the formulation of policies, strategies and implementation of operational concepts in the maritime domain," said the officer.

On the second day of the conclave, bilateral interaction between the Navy Chiefs is planned.

DH News Service

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