Group photo with the National Security Advisor of India Ajit Doval
Admiral Prof. Colombage with Sri Lanka naval delegation
Towards fostering friendly relations with neighbouring maritime nations, the Indian Navy, through the Naval War College, Goa, hosted the first Goa Maritime Conclave in 2017. The second Goa Maritime Conclave was conducted recently aimed at consolidating the initiatives and gains made by Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and to deliberate on regional security mechanisms and cooperation frameworks in the context of present, as well as, future challenges.
Aimed at establishing academic excellence and sharing of ideas among India’s maritime neighbours, the conclave facilitated interaction between senior representatives of navies and maritime agencies in the IOR. With the region becoming focus of 21st century strategic landscape, the conclave played a constructive role in bringing together stakeholders that have a role in evolving strategies, policies, and implementation mechanisms in the maritime domain.
The theme for this year’s conclave was ‘Common Maritime Priorities in the Indian Ocean Region and the need for Regional Maritime Strategy’. In addition to discussing cooperative strategies for enhancing interoperability among maritime agencies, eminent speakers articulated their views on crucial issues, followed by discussions. Indian Naval chief Admiral Karambir Singh hosted this year’s conclave.
The Chief Guest at this event was National Security Advisor of India Ajit Doval. He is credited with formulating and building strong security and strategic structures in India. Doval said that India aims to forge stronger ties with nations of the IOR and stressed that seas will provide opportunities for economic prosperity, as well as challenges, which no nation could singlehandedly manage. He also stressed that “India is not a part to any alliance and its cooperation is not directed against any country”.
Pathfinder Foundation Director Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage participated in this conclave and delivered a paper titled ‘Forging Common Maritime Priorities for Indian Ocean Region’. He described the strategic competition prevailing in the IOR and how, many smaller countries are facing a strategic dilemma.
He further described this competition as ‘RMB’ – Resources, Markets and Bases. The Admiral highlighted that the need is for maintaining a free and open Indian Ocean for the sake of economic prosperity of Indian Ocean littorals and non-littoral major maritime operators. He further stressed the need to clear mistrust in the region and collaborative efforts to maintain maritime security, protection of marine environment and International rule-based order. The other prominent speakers at the conclave included UK’s Royal Navy former First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas, Prof. Varun Sahni, Ambassador Prabhat Shukla, Ambassador Arun K. Singh and Ambassador of Indonesia in India Sidharto R. Suryodipura.
Indian Navy former chiefs Admiral Arun Prakash, Admiral Sunil Lanba and Rear Admiral Sudarshan Shrikande moderated the three sessions. Sri Lanka Navy was represented by Director General of Operations Rear Admiral Niranjan Attygalle and Defence Attaché based in New Delhi Commodore Suresh Silva.