- It is an inter-governmental organisation aimed at strengthening regional cooperation and sustainable development within the Indian Ocean region through its 22Member States bordering the Indian Ocean and 9Dialogue Partners.
- It was formed in 1997 and its secretariat is in Mauritius.
- The IORA is a regional forum, tripartite in nature, bringing together representatives of Government, Business and Academia, for promoting co-operation and closer interaction among them.
- It is based on the principles of Open Regionalism for strengthening Economic Cooperation particularly on Trade Facilitation and Investment, Promotion as well as Social Development of the region.
- The members include Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, Somalia, South-Africa, SriLanka, Tanzania, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Maldives and Yemen.
Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) has identified six priority areas, namely:
- Maritime security
- Trade and investment facilitation
- Fisheries management
- Disaster risk reduction
- Academic and scientific cooperation and
- Tourism promotion and cultural exchanges.
Indian Ocean Rim Association and Its Significance:
- Till now the emphasis was more on economic integration and cultural collaboration.
- The third largest ocean woven together by trade routes, 80% of India’s energy imports happen through Indian Ocean, 40% of the world’s global trade traverse through Indian Ocean.
- Home to nearly 2.7 billion people, Member States whose shores are washed by the ocean are rich in cultural diversity and richness in languages, religions, traditions, arts and cuisines.
- International cooperation for anti piracy has been one of the fine success stories. Earlier in Somalia and Gulf of Aden etc there was the issue of piracy which have now been contained.
- There has been an accord signed on the cooperation against terrorism. Sharing of information between members.
Security Issues in the region
- As of now Indian Ocean Region is very peaceful and there is no rivalry. The trade, transit and sea lanes are clear. Whereas in South China Sea because of China’s aggressiveness it has become the area of conflict and the Pacific Ocean which has always been the area of conflict.
- The IORA members must focus more on security issues in Indian Ocean Region and make sure that there is no entry of foreign Navy in a manner which can disturb the peace and tranquillity of the region.
- China’s presence in Indian Ocean
- China is developing a Blue Water Navy, they have an Aircraft carrier, and they have their presence in Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean. The members of IORA want the peaceful rise of China. China should not become assertive and aggressive and hinder the security aspects of the region.
- China’s Maritime Silk route project is the project through which china wants to dominate the sea route and trade route.
- China does not adhere to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).