A three-day Colombo Security Conclave Maritime Law Workshop, attended by high-level delegates from six countries – India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Mauritius and Seychelles,
was concluded at Gandhinagar-based Rashtriya Raksha University (RRU) on Saturday.
The workshop was organized by the Secretariat of the National Security Council under the aegis of the Office of the Prime Minister (PMO) in association with RRU, and saw delegates from the Navy, Coastal Security and other agencies from Law Enforcement of the Six Nations reflect on various unique coastal and maritime security threats and challenges in the Indian Ocean, legislative and executive initiatives and judicial decisions as well as maritime security gap analysis.
“Over 95% of India’s trade and 80% of world trade goes by sea. Despite the new modes of transportation available, sea lanes remain the most prosperous and economical mode of transportation,” said Vice Admiral G Ashok Kumar, National Maritime Security Coordinator.
“Humanity’s prosperity will only be determined by safe and secure seas. With such high stakes, there must be common rules that must be followed by all, but we see that there are non-traditional threats such as piracy, firearms and drug smuggling, human trafficking, environmental degradation, illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) activities, fishing among others that pose a challenge to operators at sea and enforcement agencies ashore,” he added.
Kumar, works in the National Security Council Secretariat in New Delhi, which is headed by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.
According to Kumar, the three-day workshop focused on maritime challenges faced in the Indian Ocean.
“Wherever prosperity is at stake, threats naturally arise. It is of utmost importance that countries have full knowledge of maritime laws so that there are no loopholes for apprehended smugglers or pirates to take advantage of when tried in their respective jurisdiction,” Kumar said. .
“Our neighboring countries have a large patrol area, but when they do not have the resources to patrol it, it poses a risk to the security of the whole region. Our Indian Navy, under the Sagar mission, has provided assistance … We cannot have prosperity without security and we cannot have security without the effort of all,” Kumar added.