Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region Inaugurated

Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR), a collaborative construct that will work with partners, countries as well as international agencies; to enhance maritime security and safety, by building a common coherent maritime situation picture and acting as a maritime information hub for the region, was launched by Nirmala Sitharaman, Raksha Mantri, on Saturday 22 December 2018 at Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) in Gurugram.

IMAC is the single point centre linking all the coastal radar chains to generate a seamless real-time picture of the nearly 7500-km coastline.

“The need for IFC-IOR stems from importance of the IOR for world trade and security. All stakeholders are equal in this maritime security and safety milestone,” Raksha Mantri said at the inauguration and added that the objective of having an IFC-IOR is more for partners, equals to work towards keeping the global commons safe and democratically available for all of us. She further added that, in addition to utilising our collective wisdom and resources towards addressing the myriad challenges in our region, the IFC-IOR will help us interface and integrate, wherein, we would benefit from each other’s best practices and expertise. More significantly, the IFC-IOR will help foster bonds of trust, camaraderie and partnership; ingredients that are vital for relationships between nations to transcend from being merely transactional to ones that are transformational”.

IFC-IOR would aim to work closely with the multi-national constructs and other information fusion centres. It would work towards capability building in the region, coordination of incident response and disaster relief, and in time, also share submarine safety information, according to Admiral Sunil Lanba, Chief of Naval Staff.

Indian Ocean Region is vital to world trade and economic prosperity of many nations as more than 75% of the world’s maritime trade and 50% of global oil consumption passes through the IOR.

  • Maritime terrorism, piracy, human and contraband trafficking, illegal and unregulated fishing, arms running and poaching pose myriad challenges to maritime safety and security in the region.
  • Response to these challenges requires enhanced situational awareness of the maritime activities in the region so as to enable security agencies function effectively.
  • The scale, scope and multi-national nature of maritime activities, make it difficult for countries to address these challenges individually.
  • Hence, collaborative efforts between maritime nations in IOR, is essential.

IFC-IOR aims to engage with partner nations and multi-national maritime constructs to develop comprehensive maritime domain awareness and share information on vessels of interest. The intention of this collaborative endeavour shall be to secure the global commons for a peaceful, stable and prosperous region towards the well-being of all. IFC-IOR will:

  • Ensure that the entire region is benefited by mutual collaboration and exchange of information and understanding the concerns and threats which are prevalent in the region.
  • Help in addressing issues related to Piracy by mutual coordination with other countries.
  • Help in tackling the growing influence of China in the region.
  • Provide information on white shipping, or commercial shipping, which will be exchanged with countries in the region to improve maritime domain awareness in the Indian Ocean. White-shipping refers to commercial shipping information about movement of cargo ships. All countries that have signed white shipping information exchange agreements with India, about 21 of them, are IFC partners.

Information exchange at the IFC-IOR would be initially undertaken by virtual means, using telephone calls, faxes, emails and video conferencing over internet. Subsequently, to enable better interaction, quicker analysis of information and provide timely inputs, the IFC-IOR would host Liaison Officers from partner countries. Additionally, towards enhancing capability building, the IFC-IOR would undertake conduct of exercises and training capsules in maritime information collation and sharing.

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