IORA Concludes First-Ever Leaders’ Summit in Jakarta

The Vice-President of India led the Indian delegation to the first Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Leaders’ Summit held on 7 March 2017 in Jakarta to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the Association. The Summit was preceded by meetings of the Council of Ministers and the Committee of Senior Officials. The Minister of State for External Affairs Gen (Dr) VK Singh (Retd) participated in the Council of Ministers while Secretary (ER) in MEA Shri Amar Sinha led the talks at the Committee of Senior Officials. Three documents were adopted during the Summit. The first was the IORA Concord that was signed by the Leaders and lays out the vision of IORA for the future, focussing in particular on cooperation among the 21 IORA member states on maritime safety and security. The two other documents adopted were the “Declaration on Preventing Violent Extremism and Countering Terrorism” and the “Action Plan of IORA for the next 5 years”. the Vice- President offered to set up an IORA Centre of Excellence (ICE) in one of the coastal cities in India. The Centre is proposed to be set up with the objective of pooling of resources available with all the member states so that these can be accessed online by each member including their academics and researchers. A network of IORA think tanks to synergise the efforts of all member states was also suggested. On the maritime front, India offered the institution of an Information Fusion Centre to coordinate Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) and also offered to extend to all member states cooperation in the fields of Hydrography. India is one of the leading players driving the IORA process. The association was revitalised under India’s Chair during 2011-13, when based on an Indian proposal, six priority areas were identified. More recently, India announced 12 major initiatives across a range of cross-cutting issues during the previous COM at Bali in October 2016. Four of these initiatives have already been implemented and rest are expected to be completed during the course of this year.On the sidelines of Summit, Vice President held bilateral meetings with H.E. Mr. Joko Widodo, President of Indonesia; H.E. Mr. Maithripala Sirisena, President of Sri Lanka; H.E. Mr. Abdrahbu Mansour Hadi, President of Yemen; H.E. Mr. Jusuf Kalla, Vice President of Indonesia; and H.E. Mr. Mohammad Javad Zarif, Foreign Minister of Iran.

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