2023 Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue: Day 2 Highlights

The Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue 2023 (IPRD-2023), the annual apex-level regional strategic dialogue of the Indian Navy, continued today in New Delhi. 

The three-day conference is being conducted from 15 November 2023 to 17 November 2023.

The theme of the two professional sessions on the second day was “Maritime Connectivity through Shipping and Trade”. 

The day’s proceedings commenced with a special address by Admiral Karambir Singh (Retd), Chairman of the National Maritime Foundation, and former Chief of the Naval Staff.

In his address, Admiral Singh offered a nuanced perspective of maritime connectivity and elaborated upon its six inter-related aspects. 

Further, he also prognosticated about the potential advancements in shipping and port-connectivity in his talk.

The special address was followed by the release of a report “India-Vietnam Dyadic Approached to Holistic Maritime Security in the Indo-Pacific” by Admiral  R Hari Kumar, Chief of Naval Staff.

In the course of discussions that ensued in the first session, eminent panellists from Bangladesh, Canada, India, the UK and the USA, lent their expertise in deliberations on specific issues which included the contemporary and future influence of China on maritime ports, shipping, and trade, specifically in respect of island states of the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific; the opportunities, challenges, and prognosis of the Chennai-Vladivostok corridor; a comparative analysis of ‘Flags of Convenience’ versus national ownership and flagging; and the challenges of ship-recycling in the Indian Ocean Region and solutions thereof. 

The session was enriched by the sagacity of the moderator, Professor Geoffrey Till.   

Special Address by the Hon’ble Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways

The Hon’ble Minister Shri Sarbananda Sonowal, acknowledged the sterling role of the Indian Navy and the National Maritime Foundation in furthering maritime thought in India, especially among the population, through initiatives such as the IPRD.

He stated the India’s vision to grow to an eight trillion US dollar economy by 2030, and to 30 trillion USD economy by 2047 would be facilitated in large measure through the growth in her maritime sector.

Besides, he brought out that the acronym SAGAR (Security and Growth for all in the Region) clearly encapsulated India’s maritime policy and elaborated upon various initiatives of the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways in its support. He stressed the need to build resilience of port infrastructure and the maritime sector not only against sea level rise, but also against climate change as a whole. 

He specifically alluded to the Harit Sagar (Green Ocean) initiative of the Government which envisages several new projects related to green hydrogen, green port guidelines, renewable energy and biodiversity protection.

The Hon’ble Minister also brought out the connectivity initiatives such as SAGARMALA, inland waterways, the recently announced India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC), International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) and the Eastern maritime (Chennai-Vladivostok) corridor.

The minister also spoke about the government’s vision to make India a premier ship cruise hub in the region.

In conclusion, the minister commended the efforts of the Indian Navy and the NMF in promoting and preserving India’s maritime interests.

On completion of his address, the Hon’ble Minister released a book entitled “Shipbuilding Trends and the Rise of Indo-Pacific”, published by the NMF. 

Professional Sessions

The second session of the day built upon the previous one, and explored in greater detail the trade and shipping facets of maritime connectivity in the Indian Ocean; the lessons emerging for maritime shipping and trade from the Russia-Ukraine conflict; India’s engagement with the Djibouti Code of Conduct – Jeddah Amendment (DCoC-JA) and the Contact Group on Illicit Maritime Affairs (CGIMA) for promotion of security of shipping and maritime trade in the IOR; the supply chain challenges in respect of Rare Earth Elements (REE), Rare Metals (RMs), and Energy Critical Elements (ECE) in the Indo-Pacific, and the potential of the SAGARMALA project from a Sri Lankan perspective.

This session, which was moderated by VAdm G Ashok Kumar (Retd), National Maritime Security Coordinator (NMSC), Government of India, and included participants from Australia, Germany, India and Sri Lanka. VAdm G Ashok Kumar (Retd) also released a book titled ‘Gwadar – A Chinese Gibraltar’, authored by Captain Alok Bansal (Retd), Indian Navy at the end of the second session.

The second day of the IPRD 2023 concluded with an enthralling cultural display of Indian dance forms by the School of Creative Hands (SOCH), at the resplendent Manekshaw Centre in New Delhi.

Source: https://indiannavy.nic.in/