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Indian Delegation Attends the 23rd North Indian Ocean Hydrographic Commission Meeting in Thailand

Indian Delegation Attends the 23rd North Indian Ocean Hydrographic Commission Meeting in Thailand

One of the focal points of the discussions was the integration of new survey technologies, such as autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) and satellite-derived bathymetry, which offer significant enhancements in data collection and analysis.

A high-level delegation led by Vice Admiral LS Pathania, the Chief Hydrographer to the Government of India, participated in the 23rd North Indian Ocean Hydrographic Commission (NIOHC) meeting held in Chiang Mai, Thailand from May 21-23, 2024.

The event, chaired by Thailand, saw the convergence of hydrographic experts and representatives from member states to discuss and advance maritime safety and charting initiatives in the North Indian Ocean region.

The NIOHC meeting is a pivotal forum for member states to collaborate on hydrographic surveying and nautical charting to ensure safe navigation and maritime safety in the region.

This year’s meeting brought together delegates from India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, the Maldives, Oman, Sri Lanka, and Thailand, among others, reflecting a strong commitment to regional cooperation in hydrography.

Vice Admiral LS Pathania’s delegation included senior officials and hydrographic experts from the Indian Navy, who engaged in discussions aimed at enhancing hydrographic services, sharing technological advancements, and improving maritime safety standards.

The Indian delegation’s active participation underscored India’s leadership and its pivotal role in fostering regional maritime cooperation.

Throughout the three-day meeting, several key issues were addressed, including the harmonization of hydrographic standards, capacity building, and the adoption of new technologies in hydrography.

The delegates discussed strategies to improve the accuracy and timeliness of nautical charts, which are crucial for safe navigation and the protection of marine environments.

One of the focal points of the discussions was the integration of new survey technologies, such as autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) and satellite-derived bathymetry, which offer significant enhancements in data collection and analysis.

These technologies promise to revolutionize the field of hydrography, providing more detailed and accurate charts that can aid in disaster response, marine resource management, and environmental protection.

Capacity building was another major theme of the meeting. Member states emphasized the importance of training and skill development for hydrographic professionals to keep pace with the rapidly evolving technological landscape. Initiatives for joint training programs, workshops, and exchanges of best practices were proposed to enhance the capabilities of hydrographic offices across the region.

India, with its advanced hydrographic infrastructure and expertise, offered to lead several training sessions and workshops aimed at building regional capacity. Vice Admiral LS Pathania highlighted India’s commitment to sharing knowledge and resources with neighboring countries to collectively enhance maritime safety and security.

Environmental sustainability and the protection of marine ecosystems were also prominent topics at the NIOHC meeting. Delegates discussed the impact of climate change on maritime navigation and coastal communities, emphasizing the need for sustainable hydrographic practices.

Strategies to mitigate the effects of rising sea levels and increasing ocean temperatures on nautical charting and marine navigation were explored.

India proposed several initiatives to promote sustainable hydrographic practices, including the use of eco-friendly survey methods and the integration of environmental data into nautical charts. These initiatives aim to balance the need for accurate hydrographic data with the imperative to protect marine environments.

The meeting concluded with a reaffirmation of the commitment to international cooperation and the strengthening of the NIOHC as a vital platform for regional hydrographic collaboration. The delegates agreed on several resolutions to enhance data sharing, improve regional survey coverage, and support capacity-building initiatives.

Vice Admiral LS Pathania expressed his satisfaction with the outcomes of the meeting, stating, “The 23rd NIOHC meeting has been instrumental in advancing our collective goals of safe navigation, maritime safety, and environmental protection in the North Indian Ocean.

India’s active participation and leadership in these discussions underscore our commitment to regional cooperation and the development of cutting-edge hydrographic practices.”

As the member states return to their respective countries, the resolutions and initiatives discussed at the meeting will guide their efforts to enhance hydrographic services and strengthen regional maritime cooperation. The spirit of unity and shared purpose that characterized the meeting will undoubtedly contribute to a safer and more sustainable maritime future for the region.

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