Indian Ocean Power Competition

Five-point Framework for Maritime Security


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Need for maritime cooperation


A week into India’s United Nations Security Council (UNSC) presidency, PM Modi has outlined a five-point framework for maritime security debate at UNSC.

Maritime Security

  • Maritime security is one of the latest buzzwords of international relations.
  • Major actors in maritime policy, ocean governance and international security have in the past decade started to include maritime security in their mandate or reframed their work in such terms.
  • Core dimensions of maritime security involves the concept of blue economy, food security and the resilience of coastal populations.
  • A secure maritime environment provides the precondition for managing marine resources.

Threats to maritime security

Need for an agenda

  • In today’s economy, the oceans have an increased importance, allowing all countries to participate in the global marketplace.
  • More than 80 percent of the world’s trade travels by water and forges a global maritime link.
  • About half the world’s trade by value, and 90 percent of the general cargo, are transported in containers.
  • Many countries have invested significant resources in maritime infrastructure, trade, energy supply chains, cargo movements and processes.
  • China, undeniably a continental country, claims sovereignty over all of the South China Sea islands and their adjacent waters.

5-point agenda for enhancing maritime cooperation

[1] Removal of barriers to legitimate maritime trade:

  • Global prosperity depends on the active flow of maritime trade. Any hindrance in maritime trade can threaten the global economy, PM said.
  • Maritime trade has always been part of the civilizational ethos of India.
  • PM termed this principle as ‘SAGAR’ Security and Growth for All in the Region.

[2] Resolution of maritime disputes peacefully in accordance with international law:

[3] Fight threats from natural disasters, non-state actors:

  • PM said the Indian Navy has been patrolling to counter piracy in the Indian Ocean since 2008.
  • It is enhancing the common maritime domain awareness of the region through our White Shipping Information Fusion Centre.
  • India has provided support for hydrographic surveying and training of maritime security personnel to several countries.

[4] Conservation of marine resources:

  • Our oceans directly impact our climate. Hence, it is very important that we keep our maritime environment free of pollutants like plastic waste and oil spills.
  • We also need to take joint steps against over-fishing and marine poaching, PM said.
  • He also emphasized the need for increased mutual cooperation in Ocean Science research.

[5] Promoting responsible maritime connectivity:

  • PM said it is well understood that the creation of infrastructure is necessary to boost maritime trade.
  • He advocated for appropriate global norms and standards to ensure that such infrastructure projects are carried out as per the fiscal sustainability and absorption capacity of the host countries.

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