Alok Bansal

Indian Ocean Conference in Dhaka: Forging Partnerships for a Resilient Future


by Our Diplomatic Affairs Editor

The Sixth edition of the Indian Ocean Conference commenced today in Dhaka with over 250 participants representing more than 40 countries, predominantly from the Asia-Pacific region. Since its inception in 2016, this regional conference has been held in various countries from Sri Lanka to Vietnam.

Organizing Secretary and Director of India Foundation, Capt. Alok Bansal, speaking to the Sri Lanka Guardian from Dhaka, stated that the conference aims to promote mutual growth, prosperity, and international community strengthening, and to bring together stakeholder nations to discuss and deliberate on the theme of “Peace, Prosperity and Partnership for a Resilient Future.”

As a vital member of the Indian Ocean, Dhaka’s hosting of the conference this year is a landmark event for future maritime engagement and expanding partnerships, and to strengthen peaceful engagement in the region. The Indian Ocean Region (IOR) has infinite potential, but its vast expanse can also lead to damages of unfathomable scale. Today, the region faces not only traditional security challenges but also non-traditional challenges of bio-hazards, cyber warfare, and maritime piracy, the after-effects of which are unimaginable.

Therefore, “maintaining peace in the region is of paramount importance to ensure the rise of a resilient future. The rise of a peaceful IOR based on the principles of a rules-based order will chart a new agenda for prosperity and greater partnership in the region and beyond,” added Capt. Bansal, a former Indian Navy veteran.

The Indian Ocean Region (IOR) has immense potential to become the most economically prosperous region of the century, given its scale, consumer market, and technical capabilities for sustainable development. India and Bangladesh, as two stakeholder nations in the region, prioritize responsible growth and development in harmony with nature. In light of the pandemic, collaborative partnerships in the IOR are vital for carbon planning, green financing, technological innovation, and public healthcare and education, particularly for managing the uninterrupted supply chain.

The IOR’s potential for economic prosperity and sustainable development, along with India and Bangladesh’s advocacy for responsible growth, make the region an ideal candidate for global leadership in the 21st century. Collaborative partnerships will be essential to address the pandemic-induced supply chain disruption and navigate emerging challenges in carbon planning, green financing, technological innovation, and public healthcare and education. By building reliable partnerships, the IOR can become a resilient and prosperous region that leads the world towards sustainable development.

“The IOR is no longer just an idea based on the arithmetic of contemporary power equations, but a natural construct based on principles of inclusivity, camaraderie, and multi-stakeholderism. As two responsible powers, India and Bangladesh, too, are committed to ensuring the rise of a free, open, inclusive, and rules-based IOR,” concluded Capt. Bansal. The conference will continue tomorrow.