At the 19th IORA (Indian Ocean Rim Association) meet in Abu Dhabi, Maritime Safety and Security, Trade Investment Facilitation and Tourism and Cultural Exchange are the focus areas and also Blue Economy and Women’s Economic Empowerment. ‘Promoting a Shared Destiny and Path to Prosperity in the Indian Ocean’ is the theme of this year.
Accompanied by a strong official delegation, Minister of State in the External Affairs Ministry V. Muraleedharan is representing India at the conference and has had discussions with the Indian Ocean littoral states seeking deeper relations in maritime and regional security.
India and IORA
From India’s point of view, the meeting in Abu Dhabi is very critical as to of its most important partners in the IORA – UAE and Bangladesh took over as the new chair and vice-chair for two years 2019-21. Through the strategic shipping lane between Strait of Hormuz, Persian/Arabian Gulf Region India’s own energy requirements come from.
According to Indian Navy officials, “almost 80 per cent of the country’s energy requirements are met from seawards. And out of this around 55 per cent in sourced from the Persian Gulf region.”
As part of IORA’s Blue Economy, India has been sharing skills to help IOR member states including Somalia, Oman and others in the commercial fisheries sector.
IORA has 22 member nations and nine dialogue partners, shared interest in promoting prosperity, peace and stability within the Indian Ocean region and economic and trade linkages keeps them together. The Maldives is the newest member which joined the IORA last year (2018).