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Indian Naval LOs at Madagascar and Abu Dhabi

  • 15 Jun 2020
  • 6 min read

Why in News

India is planning to post Naval Liaison Officers (LOs) at the Regional Maritime Information Fusion Centre (RMIFC) in Madagascar and the European Maritime Awareness in the Strait of Hormuz (EMASOH) in Abu Dhabi for improved Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA).

Key Points

  • The move aims to improve linkages of the Navy’s Information Fusion Centre for Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) in Gurugram with other IFCs and become the repository for all maritime data in the IOR.
  • India is working closely with France, who is a pre-eminent member of IOC, to post a Naval LO at the RMIFC in Madagascar.
    • The RMFIC functions under the aegis of the IOC and is designed to deepen maritime domain awareness by monitoring maritime activities and promoting information sharing and exchange.
  • The Navy LO is expected to be posted at EMASOH by July and at the RMIFC by September or October 2020.
    • India has a LO at the IFC in Singapore for over four years now.
  • Indian Ocean Commission
    • It is an intergovernmental body and regional forum created in 1984 to protect the interests of the western Indian Ocean islands.
    • It consists of Madagascar, Comoros, La Réunion (French overseas territory), Mauritius and Seychelles.
    • IOC has five observers which are China, European Union (EU), Malta and International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF), India, Japan and the UN.
      • OIF is a 54 french speaking nations collective.
  • European Maritime Awareness in the Strait of Hormuz
    • France started EMASOH with the aim to monitor maritime activity and guarantee freedom of navigation in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.
    • It is based at the French naval base in Abu Dhabi (UAE).
    • It was declared operational by the French Ministry of Armed Forces in February 2020.
  • India’s Other Initiatives:
    • To strengthen the naval forces and surveillance, India has signed a series of white shipping agreements, Logistics Support Agreements (LSA) and maritime cooperation agreements with several countries, recently.
      • For example, India Australia Virtual Summit announced a joint declaration on a shared vision for maritime cooperation in the Indo-Pacific in which they agreed to deepen navy-to-navy cooperation and strengthen MDA in the Indo-Pacific region through enhanced exchange of information.
    • In 2015, India unveiled it's strategic vision for the Indian Ocean i.e. Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR). It is an increasing recognition of the increasing importance of maritime security, maritime commons and cooperation.
      • Through SAGAR, India seeks to deepen economic and security cooperation with its maritime neighbours and assist in building their maritime security capabilities.

Information Fusion Centre for Indian Ocean Region

  • The Indian Navy set up the IFC-IOR in December 2018 within the premises of the Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) in Gurugram to track maritime movements in the region.
    • IMAC is located in Gurugram and is the main centre of the Indian Navy for coastal surveillance and monitoring.
    • IMAC is a joint initiative of Indian Navy, Coast Guard and Bharat Electronics Ltd and functions under the National Security Adviser (NSA).
  • IFC is the single point centre linking all the coastal radar chains to generate a seamless real-time picture of the nearly 7,500 km coastline.
  • France became the first country to deploy a LO at the IFC-IOR followed by the USA and several other countries including Australia, Japan and the UK have announced their intention to post LOs.
  • It coordinates with similar centres across the globe which include:

Way Forward

  • India’s engagement with the Western Indian Ocean will facilitate collective engagement with the islands there, which are becoming strategically significant.
  • Given China’s growing presence in the region, India will be able to increase its naval presence and gain support for its maritime projects across the Indo-Pacific.
  • India’s consultative, democratic and equitable leadership can help achieve the security and sustainable growth to all in the region.

Source: TH

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