Here, the Focus is Not So Much on Sustainability as Security
The Indian Ocean island states are themselves taking a more coordinated view of the ocean resources under the “blue economy” concept that has been spearheaded by Seychelles prime minister James Michel. Seychelles has emerged as the leading voice of the small island developing states (SIDS) for the blue economy’s concept of developing oceanic resources in a sustainable manner for economic growth and development of the region. The blue economy proposes cooperation in ocean resource management that includes areas like fisheries, climate change, hydrocarbons, maritime lanes and other ocean resources. The concept has been adopted by the African union while Seychelles and Mauritius have moved ahead to sign an agreement to jointly manage an extended continental shelf in the Mascareignes plateau region.
India has the capacity to work with these countries in these fields of ocean development with its expertise in earth sciences, conducting hydrographic surveys and deep sea and seabed activities. India has conducted hydrographic surveys in Mauritius and has signed a similar agreement with Seychelles as well. Both Seychelles and Mauritius are part of India’s pan African e-network for health and education. Capacity building is an important element in bilateral cooperation as about 1 per cent of Seychelles population has trained under India’s ITEC programme.
India has differing levels of security cooperation with Mauritius and Seychelles but hopes to include them on a regular basis in its trilateral naval cooperation with Sri Lanka and the Maldives. India has assisted Seychelles in combating piracy in 2009 when pirates from Somalia moved their operations close to Seychelles. It has gifted two naval ships to Seychelles in 2006 and 2014 and a maritime reconnaissance aircraft for patrolling its EEZ of 1.3 million square miles. It is in the processing of building a coastal radar surveillance system (CRSS) for Seychelleshttp://www.mydigitalfc.com/views/bdiplomatic-enclaveb-sea-lanes-matter-799
Modi, in his recent visit to Seychelles, Mauritius and Sri Lanka, urged for cooperation in blue economy, which is a multi-disciplinary approach for the exploitation of hydrocarbons and other marine resources; deep-sea fishing, preservation of marine ecology, mitigating climate change by addressing environmental issues and disaster management.
With its advancement in science and technology, India is in a position to lend expertise in deep sea bed activities, hydrographic surveys and weather predictions. India has a long record of hydrographic surveys of Seychelles and Mauritius.
The agenda for combating climate change and the stress on renewable sources of energy are likely to gain support from many small island economies and littoral states.
The Indian Ocean region is strategically important as a vital sea lane of communication passes through it — from the Hormuz Strait to the Suez Canal, Red Sea, Persian Gulf and Malacca Strait and South China Sea.
These critical trade routes support almost two-thirds of the global energy trade, half of the world’s containerized cargo and a third of global bulk cargo.
Security is, therefore, an important aspect. Maritime piracy, threats of terrorist attacks, possible attacks by private mercenaries and money laundering are the issues that need to be dealt within cooperation.http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/03/31/modi-s-new-ocean-politics-gluing-security-and-blue-economy.html#sthash.P2GWS6C7.dpuf
Launching of the coastal surveillance radar project, assurances for providing another Dornier aircraft, agreements on hydrographic survey and development of infrastructure on Assumption Island and other development assistance are the recent initiation of hydro-politics with Seychelles.
Modi, in his recent visit to Mauritius, gave similar gestures through the joint commissioning of an offshore patrol vessel (a Barracuda built with Indian assistance) an agreement to develop Agalega Island and a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on ocean economy, along with other development assistance. He invited both Seychelles and Mauritius to join the India-Maldives-Sri Lanka trilateral naval exercise.
Addressing the media after his visit to State House in the Seychelles capital of Victoria, located on the main island of Mahé, Modi announced that a joint working group would be established between the two countries to expand their cooperation on the blue economy.
“This cooperation will increase our understanding of marine ecology and resources. We will improve our ability to harness new possibilities of the ocean in a sustainable and balanced manner,” said the Prime Minister, who hailed the agreement as a “major step” in advancing scientific and economic cooperation between India and Seychelles.
Commenting on the announcement, the Seychelles President, James Michel, said the willingness of the government and people of India to work with Seychelles in the development of the blue economy concept was very encouraging.
"This is an area that holds great promise for our nations," he said. "The blue economy is all about ownership by regional states of the resources in our oceans around our islands and our coasts."http://www.seychellesnewsagency.com/articles/2542/Defense,+visas+and+the+blue+economy++no+stone+left+unturned+as+Modi+wraps+up+visit+to+Seychelles#sthash.gKAr5iBI.dpuf