2023 EDITION OF THE INDO-PACIFIC REGIONAL DIALOGUE (IPRD-2023)
The “Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue 2023” (IPRD-2023), the three-day annual apex-level regional strategic dialogue of the Indian Navy, commenced in New Delhi on 15 Nov 23. Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar, the Hon’ble Vice President of India was the Chief Guest for the ‘Commemorative Session’, Smt Nirmala Sitharaman, the Hon’ble Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs delivered the Special Address.
Keynote Address by the Vice President
The Hon’ble Vice President began his Keynote Address by acknowledging that the seas were emerging as the new frontier for global contestation due to their vast economic potential. He stressed the need for a regulatory regime and its effective enforcement to contain the possibility of contesting claims of the seas and its assets. He said that it was not possible to aspire for peace from a position of weakness, and therefore there was a need for one to be strong in all fundamentals. Highlighting India’s philosophical approach of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (The World is One Family), the Vice President said that collaborative security and innovative partnerships were the way forward in ensuring a peaceful and prosperous region.
Special Address by the Minister of Finance
In her address, the Hon’ble Minister of Finance stated that the IPRD had gained considerable traction establishing itself as maritime version of the Raisina Dialogue. She stressed the importance of maritime connectivity in India’s economic development and also highlighted the key aspects of the India – Middle-East – Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) that was announced at the G20 Summit in New Delhi this year.
Invitational Address by the CDS
General Anil Chauhan, Chief of the Defence Staff delivered the invitational address during the professional session themed “Maritime Connectivity Initiatives Across the Indo-Pacific” and highlighted the historical as well as contemporary salience of the Indo-Pacific, drawing upon India’s vision and perspective for the region. The significance of oceans in connecting India globally and the holistic approach to security through SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region) and Swachh Sagar Surakshit Sagar were also deliberated.
Commemorative Address by CNS
Adm R Hari Kumar, Chief of the Naval Staff emphasised India’s growing prowess as a maritime power in his Commemorative Address. The CNS also emphasized the relevance of maritime corridors and its huge impacts on security, the economy and the geopolitical environment, through the example of the Suez Canal obstruction by MV Evergiven in Mar 21, which led to an estimated loss of $ 54 billion in global trade. At the same time he emphasized the need to counter non-traditional security threats that impacted maritime security in the region. Citing the example of the recently concluded Goa Maritime Conclave, the CNS explained the Indian Navy’s collaborative and cooperative initiatives in the Indo-Pacific.
Release of Publications
The Hon’ble Vice President released a book entitled “Building Partnerships – India and International Cooperation for Maritime Security” and the Hon’ble Finance Minister released an edited volume entitled “Maritime Perspectives: Maritime Security Dynamics in the Indo-Pacific: Strategies and Trends”. Both the books have bee published by the National Maritime Foundation.
Two professional sessions held during the day focussed on the themes – “Nodes of Maritime Connectivity” and “Maritime Connectivity Initiatives Across the Indo-Pacific”. In the first session – moderated by Shri TK Ramachandran, Secretary, Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways – deliberations centred upon port-led development, with globally renowned participants from Japan, the UK, Australia and India. The second session included the invitational address by the CDS, followed by a panel discussion with eminent experts from Japan, Kenya, Nepal, the Philippines, Australia and Germany.
The day’s proceedings concluded with two MoUs of cooperation that were signed between the National Maritime Foundation (NMF) and the Nepal Institute for International Cooperation and Engagement (NIICE), Nepal, and the NMF and The Global Centre for Policy and Strategy (GLOCEPS), Kenya.
The IPRD-2023 is being organised by the Indian Navy in association with the National Maritime Foundation as its knowledge partner. Established in 2005, the NMF is one of India’s foremost maritime think-tank that concentrates its research upon issues relevant to India’s maritime interests, and has gained significant international traction for conduct of independent, original, and policy-relevant research on all ‘matters maritime’. The opening day of the Dialogue witnessed participation by over 1000 participants, including delegates from friendly foreign countries and international organisations.