New Delhi: The fourth edition of the Goa Maritime Conclave (GMC), hosted by the Indian Navy from October 29 -31, 2023, under the Naval War College’s oversight in Goa, concluded on a high note. It witnessed significant gathering of dignitaries and experts from twelve Indian Ocean Region (IOR) countries. The conclave’s discussions delved into four sub-themes, including identifying regulatory and legal framework gaps, formulating a common maritime strategy, establishing collaborative training programs, and leveraging existing multilateral organisations for collective maritime competencies.
Mirroring the essential mission of harmonising and aligning the capacities and capabilities of IOR nations to realise Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region), the conclave’s central theme was “Maritime Security in the Indian Ocean Region: Converting Common Maritime Priorities into Collaborative Mitigating Frameworks”.
The event brought together high-ranking officials, including Ministers, Chiefs of Navies, and Heads of Maritime Forces from the participating IOR nations, namely Bangladesh, Comoros, Indonesia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Myanmar, Seychelles, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.
The three days of the conclave witnessed distinguished speeches, with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh delivering the Keynote Address and Minister of State for External Affairs and Culture Meenakshi Lekhi providing a Special Address. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh underscored the responsibility of IOR countries to collaborate and combat threats emerging from the sea, emphasising mutual trust as a prerequisite for cooperation. Meanwhile, Minister of State for External Affairs and Culture, Meenakshi Lekhi highlighted India’s rich maritime history and the significance of cooperation and capacity building for the region’s resilience and prosperity.
Emphasising the evolution of GMC into a functional framework addressing transnational challenges in the IOR, Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral R Hari Kumar, noted that addressing these challenges cooperatively is essential and that the conclave aims to formulate “Collaborative Mitigation Frameworks” building upon the “Common Minimum Priorities” established in the previous edition of GMC in 2021.
Expressing gratitude for the participants’ joint efforts toward a secure and inclusive IOR, Vice Admiral MA Hampiholi, the FOC-in-C Southern Naval Command, reiterated the Indian Navy’s unwavering commitment to this goal.
Highlighting the value of collaboration in ensuring open and secure global maritime commons, Admiral Arun Prakash (retd), former Chief of the Naval Staff, also mentioned India’s initiatives for constructive engagement with partner nations and the need to strengthen existing cooperation mechanisms progressively.
On the sidelines of the conclave, bilateral interactions occurred with Indian Navy leadership engaging with their counterparts from other countries. The concluding day saw participants sharing their perspectives on opportunities and threats in the IOR, echoing the unanimous understanding of the need for cooperation and collaboration to ensure security and growth for all in the region.
A “Make in India Exhibition” in line with India’s “Atmanirbharta” initiative, showcased the potential of India’s indigenous shipbuilding industry. Dignitaries had the opportunity to visit indigenous warships and witness the capabilities of the Deep Submergence Rescue Vessel (DSRV).