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Competition for ocean resources pushes maritime security to fore

With the rapid depletion of land resources shifting state of play to oceans and seas, the role of maritime security along with land and air safety has come to fore, said, M.J. Akbar, Honourable Minister of State for External Affairs, Government of India, on 12th Oct at Goa.Emerging security challenges from sea, sky, and space faced by the world needs to be addressed by a doctrine to explore a solution, he said. Speaking at the inaugural session of the 3-day Sagar Discourse 1.0 with participants from 22 countries, organized by Forum for Integrated National Security – a non-governmental think tank, Minister Akbar said, “Sea, Sky, space and security do not have boundaries. Hence, to create harmony rather than conflict, we need a doctrine.”

Sharing his thoughts on the modern era conflict, he pointed out that the solution lies in addressing the economic aspiration of the masses and those countries who will not address it will be in terrible state As land gets exhausted and green becomes brown, the only option left for us is blue referring to the sea and its resources, he said. Referring to the geographical map of India, Minister Akbar said, “We are trapped in the landmass map of India. But Indian land map is more secured and strategically, we must look at the sea map of India, which is much bigger and extends it reach from the Gulf to Straits of Malacca.

Wishing the conclave all success, Manohar Parrikar, Honourable Chief Minister of Goa in his address referred to 60% of the world trade passing through the Indian Ocean and the need for ocean security beyond military and from an economic perspective. He sought good solutions from Sagar manthan (churn) and derive amrit (Nector) from the 3-day Sagar Discourse.

In his welcome address, Lt. General, Dr. D.B. Shekatkar (Retd.), President of Forum for Integrated National Security pointed out that in the world map there are 8 choke points – 3 in Europe and 5 in Mediterranean and Straits of Malacca.  Unlike in the 19th and 20th century, he who rules the sea rules the world, but now it is now the one who can influence the sea can influence the world, he said.

“Some countries are generating an element of insecurity and for fear of economic sanctions 60% of the world is being governed by few nations. Land mass from the Mediterranean Sea to Pacific Ocean is facing situations and emerging trends are not conducive to global peace, stability, progress and prosperity. Temptations and desires for expansion of self-proclaimed and self-defined national interest by selected few countries also need respected limits and boundaries. In the Mediterranean Sea, if we do not anticipate and predict, we will have ourselves to blame,” Dr Shekatkar said.

In his key note address, Dr Prabhakaran Paleri, convenor of Sagar Discourse and Vice President – Strategic Research, Forum for Integrated National Security called for landlocked nations to participate in shipping and shipping infrastructure.

“This could be done either by entering in the commercial shipping trade with the help of friendly partners and also encourage citizens to take up shipping employment through indigenous maritime education and training. Most of the landlocked nations are members of International Maritime Organisation and adhere to maritime law and treaty obligations,”Dr Palleri said. 

Dr Paleri also called for corporate ocean responsibility on the lines of corporate social responsibility and cautioned that humans are already late in appreciating the health of the ocean.


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