New Delhi: The three-day long Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue 2023 (IPRD-2023) concluded today in New Delhi. This annual apex-level regional strategic dialogue of the Indian Navy, conducted from November 15-17, 2023, engaged globally renowned experts from India and abroad, senior officers from the Indian Armed Forces and the Government of India, scholars and the public-at-large in intensive deliberations in several sub-topics under the overarching theme of “Geopolitical Impacts upon Indo-Pacific Maritime Trade and Connectivity”.
The final day of the conference comprised of two professional sessions. The first session centred upon the theme “Private Industry in the Safety and Security of Indo-Pacific Maritime Trade and Shipping” and brought forth the perspectives of Indian industry in the specific areas of shipping, defence industry and space-based surveillance in the maritime domain. This session, moderated by Adm Sunil Lanba (Retd), Former Chief of the Naval Staff, also included a presentation on ‘Energy Potential and Maritime-Security Implications of new Offshore Gas Finds in and around the Mozambique Channel’.
The second professional session of the day on the theme “Maintaining a Rules-based, Safe, and Secure Indo-Pacific” included a Special Address by Smt Meenakashi Lekhi, Minister of State, Ministry of External Affairs and Minister of State for Culture. In her speech, the Minister spoke about the historical importance of the region and stressed India’s inextricable linkage with the seas as an ancient civilisation with a rich maritime heritage. She emphasised the need to revive the maritime competence of Indians, which due to various reasons had been diminished in the last few centuries. Exhorting all present to ideate about the means and avenues of cooperation, the minister gave the example of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS 1982) when nations came together to frame rules for themselves.
She said that it was important that nations abide by rules that are framed through consensus. The minister also alluded to India’s focus on promoting North-South cooperation, and its advocacy for the Global South, as exemplified by the Voice of the Global South Summit that was held under the aegis of India’s G20 presidency in January this year. On completion of her speech, the Hon’ble Minister released a book entitled ‘Maritime Perspectives 2023: Approaches to a Sustainable Marine Environment: Challenges and Solutions’, published by the National Maritime Foundation.