India’s SAGAR inaugurated, to help fight maritime piracy and terrorism

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Updated: December 23, 2018 5:13:21 PM

Maritime piracy and maritime terrorism are the two major ways in which non-state actors threaten to jeopardise the security of the maritime domain, with a direct influence on land affairs.

The Indian Navy’s Information Fusion Centre (IFC) for the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) was inaugurated by the defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday. (Twitter Image)

Keeping in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision towards Security and Growth of all in the Region (SAGAR), the Indian Navy’s Information Fusion Centre (IFC) for the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) was inaugurated by the defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday.

Maritime piracy and maritime terrorism are the two major ways in which non-state actors threaten to jeopardise the security of the maritime domain, with a direct influence on land affairs.

As reported by FE Online earlier, the IFC – IOR shall be a collaborative construct that will work with partners; countries as well as international agencies; to enhance maritime security and safety. And the Indian navy will work closely with the multinational constructs and other information fusion centres.

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In his address today, the Indian Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba said, “Last year, on the landmark occasion of the maiden launch of a dedicated SAARC satellite, the Prime Minister remarked that “even sky is not the limit when it comes to regional cooperation”. The launch of IFC-IOR is yet another initiative in this direction, with potential to play the role of a vital hub of maritime security related information fusion and exchange.”

“The only way to optimally harness our individual strength is through collaborative and cooperative efforts, of which the IFC-IOR is a shining example.”

It will enable Indian Navy to interact with various multi-national constructs and international and national agencies for information on White Shipping.

As reported earlier, the collated data will comprehensively improve the situational awareness on merchant shipping in the IOR. “The aim is to facilitate dissemination of analysed maritime security and safety information to partner nations, constructs and agencies.”

The IOR accounts for 66 % of world’s oil, 33 percent of bulk cargo and 50 percent of container shipments with over 100,000 ships transiting through it annually. With over 75% of the world’s maritime trade and 50% of daily global oil consumption passing through the region; IOR is vital to world trade and the economic prosperity of many nations.

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The IOR is also a fragile environment, with threats such as maritime terrorism, piracy, human and contraband trafficking, illegal and unregulated fishing, arms running and poaching being prevalent. Hence, facilitating a conducive Environment to undertake legitimate maritime activities in this region is a necessity.

Most of the countries which have inked the white shipping information exchange agreements with India, around 21 are IFC partners. The Indian Navy is mandated to conclude White Shipping Information Exchange agreements with 36 countries and three multi-national constructs.

The member countries of the IFC will have an option of positioning liaison officers, for which there is a major requirement of building up the infrastructure.

As has been reported earlier by FE Online recently, ‘White Shipping’ information refers to the information on merchant shipping. This information is available primarily through the Automatic Identification System (AIS), which are equipment fitted on merchantmen with more than 300 Gross Registered Tonnage as mandated by the International Maritime Organisation.

The AIS information from ships comprises name, MMSI number, position, course, speed, last port visited, destination etc. This information can be picked up through various AIS sensors including coastal AIS chains, satellite based AIS receivers and V/ UHF AIS receivers. Merchant ships whose AIS transmissions are not available are colloquially called ‘Dark Shipping’.

Establishment of the IFR-IRO would ensure that the entire region is benefited by mutual collaboration and exchange of information and understanding the concerns and threats which are prevalent in the region.

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