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Indo-Pacific Maritime Domain Awareness (IPMDA) initiative

  • Category
    International Relations
  • Published
    9th Nov, 2023

Context:

Recently, the Chief of Naval Staff addresses the fourth edition of the Goa Maritime Conclave and highlighted importance of Indo-Pacific Maritime Domain Awareness (IPMDA) initiative for ensuring the security and stability of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

About Indo-Pacific Maritime Domain Awareness (IPMDA) initiative:

  • IPMDA is a technology and training initiative to enhance maritime domain awareness in the Indo-Pacific region and to bring increased transparency to its critical waterways.
  • Proposed by: At the 2022 Quad Leaders’ Summit in Tokyo, Quad Leaders announced the Indo-Pacific Partnership for Maritime Domain Awareness (IPMDA) to enhance existing maritime domain awareness capabilities.
    • The QUAD is committed to contributing to maritime domain awareness in the Indo-Pacific region, which is fundamental for stability and prosperity.
  • Purpose:
    • IPMDA is a technology and training initiative to enhance maritime domain awareness in the Indo-Pacific region and to bring increased transparency to its critical waterways.
    • IPMDA harnesses innovative technology, such as commercial satellite radio frequency data collection, to provide partners across Southeast Asia, the Indian Ocean region and the Pacific with near real-time information on activities occurring in their maritime zones.

    Under the initiative:

    The Quad has launched a series of regional pilots delivering radio frequency data to maritime agencies in Southeast Asia, the Indian Ocean region and the Pacific.

    India’s approach: IPMDA extends the "Security and Growth for All in the Region" (SAGAR) initiative initiated in 2015 by the Indian government.

    Objectives of the initiative:

    • Tracking of Dark Shipping:
      • The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) requires all ships displacing over 300 tons and engaged in international voyages (and all cargo ships of over 500 tons displacement even if not engaged in international voyages) to be fitted with an Automatic Identification System (AIS).
      • The system essentially enables identification and tracking of vessels (including by satellites). Designed initially for collision avoidance, AIS also enables monitoring of national merchant and fishing fleets, cargo tracking, infrastructure protection, search and rescue and EEZ security.
    • IUU Fishing:
      • China is by far the largest exploiter of the world’s oceans for fish. In June 2020, its distant water fishing fleet was estimated as comprising 16,996 vessels, more than 5-8 times previous estimates
      • Another report identified the area around Seychelles and Mauritius as the most vulnerable to IUU fishing, but this area is not covered by the IPMDA.
      • Within the Indian Ocean part of the IPMDA, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Indonesia and Thailand all maintain reasonable surveillance and response capabilities within their maritime zones.
      • The benefit provided by IPMDA will be welcome but incremental.
      • It is the smaller island nations in the Central and Western Indian Ocean that need the IPMDA most. India will have to work out how to extend its benefits to them.

    Verifying, please be patient.

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