General Assembly General Assembly

Ad Hoc Committee on the Indian Ocean  - 2021 session

(July 6 2021)




Mr. A. Amarnath



Thank you Chairperson for giving me the floor. I congratulate you and the other members of Bureau on their unanimous election.


2. Oceans have been a source of prosperity when governed by the philosophy of cooperation; but they have become zones of confrontation, when domination and conflict attains primacy. History is replete with instances when the oceans have witnessed both conflict and cooperation. It is of utmost importance that we learn from the lessons of the past and ensure that the oceans, the Indian ocean in particular, remain a zone of peace and cooperation.


3. The vast Indian Ocean region hosts over 40 states and nearly 40% of world population. It is diverse, home to great cultures and holds immense opportunities for the future. Today, the Indian Ocean carries more than half of world’s container shipments, one-third of the bulk cargo traffic and two-thirds of the oil shipments, though three-fourths of this traffic goes to other regions of the world. Thus, apart from the strategic imperative, which is the main reason for the creation of this Ad Hoc Committee, there is a compelling economic & commercial narrative as well to ensure that Indian Ocean remains a zone of peace. Therefore, we look forward to your further consultations on the mandate of the Committee and an update to the Committee on the same.




4. India and the Indian Ocean are inseparable. It is not just a statement of a fact of geography; but of deeper civilizational, historical, cultural, economic and political linkages that have been forged over centuries between India and the Ocean that bears its name. Throughout history, India’s wellbeing and prosperity has been linked to its access to the Indian Ocean region. This remains even more relevant today and hence we have a vital stake in the security of the Indian Ocean.


4. Our vision for the Indian Ocean is built on fostering increasing cooperation in the region, use of our capabilities for the benefit of all in our common maritime home and assisting our maritime neighbours and island states in building their maritime security capabilities. We believe that we will prosper when the Indian ocean is safe, secure and freely accessible for all. We also strongly believe that the countries that straddle mother Indian Ocean have the primary responsibility for its peace, stability and prosperity. We therefore have advocated collective action and cooperation in the Indian Ocean region. We call this outreach as ‘SAGAR’ - Security and Growth for All in the Region.


5. What we are seeking is a more cooperative and integrated future for the Indian Ocean region through overall development of the ocean or blue economy. A post-COVID world necessitates the acceleration of such coooperation. This would help promote increased trade, tourism and investment, infrastructure development, marine research, technology sharing, sustainable fisheries and protection of marine environment. India is already undertaking such efforts bilaterally with our friends from the region and through the multilateral fora like the IORA.




6. Let me conclude be reaffirming India’s full support for the Committee’s work and the draft report that has been tabled. I look forward to its consensus adoption.


I thank you.