Amb. Vijay Thakur Singh, DG, ICWA,
H.E. Mr. Salman Al Farisi, Secretary General of IORA , Amb. Ina Krisnamurthi, Ambassador of Indonesia to India
Excellencies and Distinguished Guests, Namaskaar !
A very good afternoon
2. It gives me immense pleasure to join you all for the 39th Sapru House Lecture commemorating 25 years of IORA under the theme of “Working towards a prosperous, sustainable and peaceful Indian Ocean Region”. Let me at the outset thank the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in New Delhi and the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) for organizing this
3. I cannot help but recall the vision of Madiba Nelson Mandela, where he called for an organization in the region to fulfill the ‘natural urge of the facts of history and geography’ upon which were laid the foundations of
4. As we stand at the cross-roads of Silver Jubilee year of IORA, we not only look at the past with a sense of accomplishment but also at the future with lots of hope and a sense of duty for the work to be What began in 1997 with 14 Member States has today grown in strength and ambition to become the largest and pre-eminent organization in the Indian Ocean Region with 23 Member States and 10 Dialogue Partners, 6 priority areas and 2 cross-cutting themes.
5. The Indian Ocean stretching from Africa’s East coast to West Asia, South Asia and South East Asia reaching all the way to Australia is the 3rd largest ocean, woven together by millennia long history, shared experience and geo-economic linkages carrying half of the world’s container ships, 1/3rd of the world’s bulk cargo traffic and 2/3rd of the world’s oil shipments. The Indian Ocean that is home to more than 2.7 billion rich and diverse people, remains an important lifeline not only for the Rim States but also for the international community, with important supply chains and sea lanes of communication traversing this
6. It is also a region of focus for India’s foreign India’s approach to the region has been aptly captured by the SAGAR doctrine announced by Prime Minister Modi in 2015. SAGAR means Ocean in Indian language and is an acronym for Security and Growth for All in the Region. India seeks to enhance mutual cooperation in the region, with a view to offer our capabilities and share best practices for the development and prosperity of all in the Indian Ocean Region. IORA provides an effective platform to facilitate realization of untapped potential for collaboration to enhance peace, prosperity and development in the region.
7. With growing recognition of the inter-connectedness of India Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, IORA also has an important role to play in ensuring an Indo-Pacific that is free, open, inclusive, and rules-based, embracing all in a common pursuit of progress and prosperity. Given the need for shared responses to shared challenges in the region, greater cooperation and coordination across the region and its regional mechanisms becomes a pre-requisite. This has been the vision behind the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative articulated by the Prime Minister in IPOI shares synergy with IORA's own priorities in the region and provides an effective platform to enhance cooperation among regional partners.
8. Being a founding Member of IORA, India is strongly committed to the strengthening of IORA as a pre-eminent organization in the region through measures focused on structural and institutional strengthening, capacity building, and leading the discussions on topics of common India, as the lead country on the IORA priority areas of Disaster Risk Management (DRM) and Academic, Science and Technology cooperation, is actively involved in enhancing disaster resilience & relief capabilities and encouraging research and innovation in the Indian Ocean Region. India is also one of the largest voluntary contributors to IORA funds. We wish to continue our efforts towards growth of IORA into a vibrant and influential forum in the region and beyond.
9. With an aim to develop into an effective and efficient regional organization, IORA is rightfully engaging itself with all the contemporary issues of regional and global importance including its Outlook towards the Indo-Pacific, environmental concerns and climate action, sustainable development and Blue Economy, pandemic and global health, Maritime Safety and security and the digital revolution to name a few. The focus of Chair Bangladesh on development initiative is also a welcome step especially when the region is focusing on strong and resilient growth after the India wishes to play its part in taking forward these agenda of IORA as it looks towards strengthening its role on regional and global arena in the coming decades.
10. Let me conclude by congratulating all IORA Member States, Dialogue Partners and the Secretariat led by the Secretary General on the successful completion of 25 years of IORA and wish the organization growth from strength to strength in the days to come developing into a vibrant forum ensuring security and growth for all in the region.