India mulls defence equipment exports to engage with IOR nations
The Dollar Business Bureau In a move to overcome the supposed trade-related challenges in the Indian Ocean, India sought a common naval platform in Indian Ocean Region (IOR), with a stronger cooperation from the Indian Ocean countries. The Union Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar, stressed on need for a ‘common naval platform’ for India and IOR countries, while speaking at the closing ceremony of an international conference on 'India & the Indian Ocean: Renewing the Maritime Trade & Civilizational Linkages'. The Minister called upon the Institute of Social and Cultural Studies (ISCS) and Research & Information System for Developing Countries (RIS), joint organizers of the conference, to make a note of ‘creating a common navy platform for Indian Ocean countries,’ which would also stand as a common grid for information sharing among the countries in the region. The Minister laid stress upon a greater cooperation in IOR, in view of the concerns over Somali pirates shifting their activities and locations towards India, after being neutralized by navies of various countries. In this regard, there is a need for India to safeguard the IOR, as it is a key commercial shipping route and also stands as a base for more than two-thirds of oil trade, the Minister added. While informing about the ongoing joint defence exercises between India and some IOR countries, the Minister said India is keen on exporting its defence equipment to these countries. Informing that already 38 countries are sending their defence personnel for training in India, the Minister stated that his Ministry was mulling to supply defence material to these countries for holding their dependence on Indian Defence sector. The Minister also informed that ‘India will be hosting an international fleet review in Visakhapatnam in February 2016.’ This move of India for a stronger Indian defence cooperation come as a follow-up to the maritime agreements made between India and IOR countries during the recent visit of the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi to the IOR countries. This is also a move that demonstrates the willingness of India to expand its presence in IOR, for which already China is already in competition.
This article was published on March 23, 2015.