NEW DELHI: India’s initiative to form an international grouping to boost security and response with exchange of information related to the ships in the Indian Ocean has got a fillip as five nations with the biggest navies have agreed to post their liaison officers in India.
This navy officer will be the contact point between his country and India and initially facilitate the exchange of information about the merchant ships’ movement. This officer will be called as the International Liaison Officer and will be in addition to those posted in their respective embassies in India.
“The US, the UK, France, Japan and Australia have agreed to post their naval officers,” said a senior navy officer. Initially they will be attached to their respective embassies but later shift to the Information Fusion Centre-Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) campus in Gurugram, Haryana, added the officer.
The IFC-IOR was established keeping in mind the significance of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) to world trade and security. Nearly 75 per cent of the world’s maritime trade and 50 per cent of global oil pass through IOR.
However, the region faces challenges like maritime terrorism, piracy, human and contraband trafficking, illegal and unregulated fishing, arms running and poaching.
India aims to meet these challenges with enhanced situational awareness which will enable security agencies to function effectively. India aims to beef up dissemination of information to its security agencies and also to ally countries.
IFC-IOR was inaugurated in December 2018 and is tasked to collate, fuse and disseminate intelligence on ‘White Shipping’ in the Indian Ocean.
India has plans to base 40 international liaison officers but that can happen only after the commensurate infrastructure is ready.
Pact for info sharing
India has signed information exchange agreement with 22 countries and one multinational construct, which facilitates 30 nations to create a virtual network for exchange of information.