- 11 May 2020
- 3 min read
Why in News
India has sent Indian Naval Ship (INS) Kesari, carrying food items and medical assistance teams, to countries in the southern Indian Ocean to deal with Covid-19 pandemic as part of a "Mission Sagar" initiative.
- The countries including Maldives, Mauritius, Madagascar, Comoros and Seychelles had requested India for assistance in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Mauritius, Madagascar, Comoros and Seychelles along with La Réunion are part of Indian Ocean Commission. India has recently become an observer to the Commission.
- This is the first time that a single assistance mission is covering all island countries of the western Indian Ocean in one go — except Sri Lanka, for which a second set of medicines have been airlifted.
- The assistance is in line with India’s role as the first responder in the Indian Ocean region.
- It highlights the importance accorded by India to relations with her neighbouring countries and further strengthens the existing bond.
- The deployment is also in consonance with the Prime Minister's vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR).
- Under the Mission, India will
- Deploy Medical Assistance Teams in Mauritius and Comoros, helping their Governments deal with Covid emergency and in case of Comoros, with dengue fever also.
- Deliver consignments of Covid related essential medicines to Mauritius, Madagascar, Comoros and Seychelles and about 600 tonnes of food items to Maldives.
- In addition, in case of Mauritius, a special consignment of Ayurvedic medicines is also being sent.
- The consignments also include Hydroxychloroquine tablets.
- Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) was launched in 2015. It is India’s strategic vision for the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
- Through SAGAR, India seeks to deepen economic and security cooperation with its maritime neighbours and assist in building their maritime security capabilities.
- Further, India seeks to safeguard its national interests and ensure Indian Ocean region to become inclusive, collaborative and respect international law.
- The key relevance of SAGAR emerges when seen in conjunction with India’s other policies impacting the maritime domain like Act East Policy, Project Sagarmala, Project Mausam, India as ‘net security provider’, focus on Blue Economy etc.