Government officials, experts, think tanks, and civil society from 18 Member States of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and 6 Dialogue Partners States gathered at Mercure Hotel, Padang, Indonesia, on 13-14 April 2016 for the third Indian Ocean Dialogue (IOD.III) under the theme “Addressing Maritime Security Challenges in the Indian Ocean through Enhanced Regionalism”.
The IOD.III was jointly organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia and the Habibie Center with the support of the IORA Secretariat. It was held in conjunction with the 2nd Multilateral Naval Exercise Komodo (2nd MNEK), the 16th Western Pacific Naval Symposium and the 2nd International Fleet Review hosted by the Indonesian Navy which was inaugurated by the President of the Republic of Indonesia.
During the opening session, Ms. Listyowati, Acting Director General for Asia-Pacific and African Affairs and Interim, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, stated that the Indian Ocean Dialogue is earning itself a unique place in the IORA, one that is aimed to gather stakeholders of track 1.5 to discuss key strategic issues in the Indian Ocean. Ms. Rahimah Abdulrahim, Executive Director of the Habibie Center underlined the importance of promoting connectivity in the Indian Ocean to facilitate business movement and to enhance trade and investment within the region. Mr. Firdaus Dahlan, the Director of IORA Secretariat, representing the Secretary General pointed out that the Dialogue would contribute in strengthening regional linkages and addressing Maritime Security Challenges in the Indian Ocean through multilateral cooperation which will serve as a role model in international and regional cooperation.
The IOD.III was officially inaugurated by H.E. Mr. Salman Alfarisi, the Head of the Policy Analysis and Development Agency ad Interim of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, who mentioned that the discussions and outcome of this Dialogue would deepen the understanding of challenges confronting all the IORA Member States and generate constructive ideas for enhancing cooperation in the region.
The two-day Dialogue included five sessions on different aspects of maritime security challenges such as (i) strengthening rules-based regionalism in the Indian Ocean; (ii) piracy and armed robbery, illicit trafficking and maritime terrorism; (iii) regional cooperation in combating IUU fishing; (iv) the role of naval powers in enhancing security in the Indian Ocean; and (v) energy security in the Indian Ocean. Each session was followed by interactive Question and Answer from the floor.
The deliberations of the above topics drawn a number of interventions from experts and professionals and proposed recommendations to be considered in the Dialogue, among others: the need to define regionalism based on IORA interests, to bridge the gap in capacity among coastal states in the Indian Ocean to tackle non-traditional security threats, to develop the Blue Economy approach which will be beneficial for all IORA Member States, particularly for the development of aquaculture in enhancing food security in the Indian Ocean, the importance of confidencebuilding measures as a way of cultivating trust among regional navies so they could work more effectively together to maintain maritime security in the region and IORA to formulate common approaches to secure and conserve energy resources for future generations.
The two-day deliberation on the above topic resulted Padang Consensus which contain some recommendations to be considered by relevant IORA meeting.
In her closing remarks, Ms. Rahima Abdulrahim thanked the IORA Member States for their participation and for sharing their ideas and experience with the other member countries, the IORA Secretariat for their support and the Habibie team in the organisation of the Dialogue.
On behalf of the IORA Secretariat, Mr. Firdaus Dahlan extended gratitude to the Government of Indonesia for the hospitality extended to all Member States and Habibie Center for making this Dialogue a success. He pointed out that the workshop was fruitful with the assistance from experts in Maritime domain.IORA Secretariat 14 April 2016