By Riyaz ul Khaliq
ANKARA (AA) - An Information Fusion Centre (IFC) started working in India, to work as a single point center, linking all the coastal radar chains of the countries bordering the Indian Ocean, local media reported on Monday.
Quoting India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, local daily The Hindu stated that New Delhi has offered member states of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) to use the facility to track the movement of vessels on the high seas.
Some 21 countries are members of the IORA, including Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, UAE, and Yemen.
Inaugurated last year in December within the premises of Indian Navy’s Navy’s Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) in Gurugram in the outskirts of capital New Delhi, the IFC will be the single point linking all the coastal radar chains to generate a seamless real-time picture of the nearly 7,500-kilometer coastline.
The countries bordering the Indian Ocean are home to 2.5 billion people, which is one-third of the world’s population. Further 80% of world oil trade flows through the region the Indian Ocean.
The report said that the IFC will be hub of maritime data and will minimize the incident responses to maritime security situations through a "collaborative approach".
The center will enhance "maritime domain awareness" and coordinating activities, through "information sharing, cooperation and expertise development; along with partner nations and agencies,” according to information about the center on Indian Navy website.
“To advance Maritime Safety and Security in the Indian Ocean Region; by enhancing maritime domain awareness and coordinating activities, through information sharing, cooperation and expertise development; along with partner nations and agencies,” the center said on the website.
While all 21 IORA countries are expected to join the IFC, India has so far initiated talks with 18 countries and 15 multinational/maritime security centers to join the initiative.
The newspaper added that Maldives, Mauritius, Sri Lanka and Seychelles have already joined the India’s coastal radar chain network while Bangladesh is set to join soon and talks are progressing with Thailand.
Security analysts believe piracy, unregulated migration, and the continued presence of extremist groups in some countries are posing threat to the IORA countries.
At the Shangri La Dialogue in Singapore, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in 2018 that the Indian Ocean region was home to a vast array of global opportunities and challenges.
Since assuming office five years ago, Modi has travelled up and down the east coast of Africa to almost all the IOR countries to promote cooperation, enhance connectivity and strengthen trade and investment ties.