Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Oceans are Maritime Highways: Admiral Nirmal Verma


Oceans are Maritime Highways:
Admiral Nirmal Verma
Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Nirmal Verma has stressed the Navy's commitment to ensuring a stable and secure regional environment for the "economic development and social uplift of the masses" in India's neighbourhood. "We carry out coordinated patrols with some of our neighbours. We have also been undertaking EEZ [exclusive economic zone] surveillance on request from some governments."
"Oceans today are not expanses of water that divide continents, but maritime highways that link nations," Admiral Verma on Friday told delegates from 14 countries who are participating in Milan-2012, the eighth edition of a biennial initiative of the Navy to forge working-level jointmanship and interoperability among the Navies of the region. The aim is to ensure faster humanitarian assistance and disaster relief response, better counter piracy and anti-poaching measures and prevention of contraband smuggling and human trafficking.
Referring to the Indian Ocean Region as a 'critical economic highway' for a predominant chunk of its oil, cargo and container traffic, Admiral Mehta cautioned that any challenge to this energy and trade seaway could lead to major conflict. That would hit regional and global economies. "Ensuring energy security is, therefore, a major maritime issue of common concern," he said in his keynote address at a seminar on 'Capacity-building through Maritime Cooperation.'
The pervasive enemy today was not 'some belligerent nation-state,' but malevolent non-state actors. "There is more to fighting piracy than military action," he added, calling for a collective initiative to combat the menace, which was a "spill-over of governance deficit, myriad socio-economic issues and lawlessness."
Lieutenant-General (retd.) Bhopinder Singh, Lieutenant-Governor of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, said in his address that current economic challenges demanded maritime interdependencies. "Our combined efforts can postulate joint doctrines… to prevent, deter, limit and localise conflicts and disruptions to the global system that we all rely upon."
During the proceedings of the seminar, five professional papers were presented. The seminar was conducted in two sessions, focusing on issues pertaining to Cooperation framework for capacity building for undertaking regional Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) Operations in the first session and Marine             Co-operation for ensuring unfettered use of the seas in the second session. Vice Admiral (Retd) Pradeep Kaushiva, UYSM, VSM and Ambassador HK Singh presented papers during the first session, while Lt Gen (Retd) Prakash Menon, PVSM, AVSM, VSM, Ph.D, Dr.Euan Graham, Senior Fellow, RSIS, Singapore and Admiral (Retd) Arun Prakash, AVSM, VrC, VSM presented papers during the second session. The Seminar culminated with a brainstorming open house session wherein all participants and speakers discussed to evolve newer and effective concepts in the field of Maritime Cooperation & HADR operations. The seminar concluded with closing address by Lt Gen NC Marwah, PVSM, AVSM, Commander-in-Chief, Andaman and Nicobar Command. In his address he thanked the delegates for their contribution towards success of the seminar.
This edition of Milan is the largest since its inception in 1995, with representatives from Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Maldives, Mauritius and Seychelles participating in it. Of these, Maldives, Mauritius and Seychelles are first-timers at the event.

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