Participation in the fourth Indian Ocean Conference

Delegates from the Max Planck Foundation attended the fourth Indian Ocean Conference held in the Maldives from 3 to 4 September 2019

The Indian Ocean Conference was organised by the India Foundation in association with S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Singapore, and the Foreign Institute Service of Maldives. The Conference supported engaging dialogue between its attendees, including Ministers from 25 States and delegates from over 40 States, including the Indian Ocean littoral States and major maritime users.

Entitled the “Securing the Indian Ocean Region: Traditional and Non-Traditional Challenges”, the Conference began with parallel pre-conference symposia on navigational security and terrorism. This was followed by inaugural and plenary sessions, where discussion centred on the need for a rules-based order and to strengthen freedom of navigation, especially in the context of heightened tensions in relation to global trade, terror attacks and environmental degradation in the region. The role of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea as the underlying legal order to maintain peace and prosperity in the region was highlighted throughout the Conference.

Key speakers at the conference included HE Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka (in photo: left); HE Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, President of the Maldives (in photo: right); HE Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Singapore; and S. Jaishankar, External Affairs Minister of India.

The discussions and outcomes of the fourth Indian Ocean Conference contribute to the German Federal Foreign Office funded project, “The Implementation of UNCLOS: Supporting Maritime Governance in the Indian Ocean (Part II)”, which aims to support Sri Lanka in its pursuit for good governance and cooperation in the Indian Ocean region in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and emanating legal framework.