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India to deploy naval liaisons at Madagascar, Abu Dhabi for information exchange

  • Category
    International Organisation
  • Published
    25th Jun, 2020

After joining the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) as ‘Observer’, India is looking to post Navy Liaison Officers at the Regional Maritime Information Fusion Centre (RMIFC) in Madagascar and also at the European maritime surveillance initiative in the Strait of Hormuz for improved Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA).

Context

After joining the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) as ‘Observer’, India is looking to post Navy Liaison Officers at the Regional Maritime Information Fusion Centre (RMIFC) in Madagascar and also at the European maritime surveillance initiative in the Strait of Hormuz for improved Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA).

About

  • The Indian Ocean Commission is a regional forum in the southwest Indian Ocean.
  • The IOC is particularly unique and is the only African regional organisation composed entirely of islands: Comoros, France/Reunion, Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles.
  • These islands are of special interest from sustainable development and environmental point of view.
  • They are particularly vulnerable to natural disasters (cyclones, tsunamis, drought and floods). They are at the frontline of climate change and are threatened by a rapid loss of marine and terrestrial biodiversity.’ 
  • China and the European Union (EU) have been Observers in the IOC since 2016 and 2017, respectively.
  • India became an Observer in March 2020 along with Japan and the United Nations.

Regional Maritime Information Fusion Centre (RMIFC)

  • The RMFIC functions under the aegis of the IOC.
  • It is based in Madagascar. It is designed to deepen maritime domain awarenessby monitoring maritime activities and promoting information sharing and exchange.

European maritime surveillance initiative in the Strait of Hormuz

  • The EMASOH headquarters is composed of Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and French officers and based at the French naval base in Abu Dhabi.
  • The aim is “to monitor maritime activity and guarantee freedom of navigation in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.”
  • EMASOH deploy air and naval units in the Strait of Hormuz and adjacent areas for peaceful surveillance of naval activity.

Why LO?

  • The Navy LO is expected to be posted at EMASOH by July and at the RMIFC by September or October.
  • India has an LO at the IFC in Singapore for over four years now.
  • This will be in the overall realm of improving linkages of the Navy’s Information Fusion Centre for Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) in Gurugram with other IFCs and become the repository for all maritime data in the IOR.
    • The Navy set up the IFC-IOR in December 2018 within the premises of the Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) in Gurugram to track maritime movements in the region.
    • France became the first country to deploy a Liaison Officer at the IFC-IOR followed by the U.S. and several other countries including Australia, Japan and the United Kingdom have announced their intention to post LOs.
    • Currently, infrastructure is being built to house the foreign officers. Pre-fabricated structures are being built and are expected to be ready by the end of the year, 
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