Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on 1 November said the future of the world will be shaped to a large extent by the political and economic interaction between stakeholders in the Indian Ocean Region.
"Goa Maritime Conclave aims to bring together like-minded nations to evolve and formulate collective responses to emerging challenges in the maritime domain. The future of the world will be shaped to large extent by the political and economic interaction between stakeholders in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR)," Sitharaman said during an address at the First Goa Maritime Conclave (GMC) held at the Naval War College in Goa.
She said it is good that the compulsion of globalisation has enabled economies to shape transactional relationships between nations and opaqueness in strategic intent and incoherent behaviour of some nations.
Sitharaman said the impasse in international relationships is a product of many costs such as ideological differences, political insecurity, economic and technological dependency, inequitable access to resources, besides other factors.
"The net impact of these differences is that trust deficits and tensions between nations continue to persist on account of perceived challenges," she added.
Commenting on increasing militarisation in the region, Sitharaman said this phenomena has manifested itself through several interconnected forms in the region. "The first is incremental yet steady increase in the number of warships operating in the region, the second is the emergence of non-state actors, and the third is, increased vulnerability to coastal pollution and natural disasters," she said.
"India follows a defence policy that acknowledges and respects sovereignty. Our cooperation initiatives, directing and enhancing maritime security are undertaken in consensus with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of the Sagar Mala project," she added.
Sitharaman said the Indian defence system is committed to safeguarding its maritime territories and interests but also make its capacities available to other countries.
The defence minister said India is focusing on strengthening the marine oriented research, creating economically-friendly marine industrial technology, encouraging sustainable fishing practices and ensuring protection of the marine environment.
"We are also focused towards enhancing connectivity through sea routes at ports of different states of the Indian Ocean and beyond," she said.
The conclave was attended by naval chiefs and maritime security agency of ten countries.