New Delhi: Binding Bharat – a think tank founded by Kanupriya Jaju an international relations, diplomacy expert and a human rights & youth activist organized a webinar on the topic “Securing the Indian Ocean Region”. Dignitaries and stakeholders from both India and Mauritius addressed the event. The chief guest in the webinar were Sir /Right Honorable Anerood Jagannathan, an ex- President and Prime Minister of Mauritius who has years of experience in international diplomacy under his belt and Mr. Harish Dwivedi, a member of Parliament from India.
The event focused on the strategic and security cooperation between the two nations amidst imminent threats arising in the Indian ocean region. Traditionally the countries have shared a close historical, social, economic and cultural relations between them but all the speakers at the event agreed that for the two nations need to augment their socio-economic ties further, a secure and safe environment is an essential precondition.
Sir /Right Honorable Anerood Jagannathan honored with numerous accolades such as the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman and India’s second highest civilian award in the field of public affairsthe Padma Vibhushan once again reiterated his unwavering support for Indian causes and efforts for strengthening India’s relationship with Mauritius. While addressing the event, he asserted the symbiotic nature of relationship between the two countries.
He expressed his gratitude to India’s father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi for infusing the educational and schooling culture amongst the then migrant workers who today form a majority of the chunk of modern-day literate and developed Mauritius. He thanked India for various financial projects and investments that have helped in the modern-day infrastructure of Mauritius. Last but not least he remarked that India to Mauritius is “mother India” and the relationship between the two countries is actually a blood relationship, which would be everlasting.
Mr. Harish Dwivedi spoke about the deep routed Indian culture and values that inherent in modern day Mauritius owing to the historical links established by Indian forefathers who set foot upon Mauritius as indentured laborers. He also remarked that the prosperity and economic progress seen in Mauritius today assimilates the struggles and perseverance of our Indian ancestors. First female Secretary General of Indian Ocean Region Association Ambassador Dr. Nomvuyo Nokwe also addressed the event and focused mainly on the mandate of the Indian Ocean Rim Association. She spoke of the 2017 IORA declaration on terrorism. She remarked that India and Mauritius complement each-other needs in the Indian Ocean Region.
The event also featured panelists who are pertinent stakeholders in maritime affairs and policy of the respective countries. The list of panelists included Mr. Deepak Shetty an ex-secretary govt. of India and director of shipping, Ms. Valerie Uppiah a senior lecturer, department of law, University of Mauritius, Captain Sarabjeet Singh Parmar, executive director, national maritime foundation, Mr. Raj Mohabeer, director Indian Ocean Commission and Mr. Akhilesh Gunputh Director Valens. The Panel discussion focussed on a range of maritime security issues such as safe and secure passage, Freedom of Navigation(FON),securing the exclusive economic zones (EEZ) of Island nations, equal access to the global commons in the high seas, a need to tackle security threats in the Indian Ocean Region through coordinated efforts and information sharing between the stakeholders. Other issues pertaining to blue economy like environmental challenges such as IUU(Illegal, unreported and unregulated) fishing in the Indian Ocean Region were also discussed. The panel discussion was followed by a round of Q&A session, which saw participation from scholars and senior journalists of countries.
This was the second event organised by the think tank in a series of upcoming events focusing on India’s bilateral relations with countries. The initiative is a collective youth network founded to identify & meet the challenges that nation states face. In future, the initiative aims to organise more such conferences with different countries, in association with academicians & stakeholders from all walks of life, from India & the concerned country.
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