With an aim to strengthen maritime security in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), Indian Navy has launched its Information Fusion Centre (IFC) that will share information on vessels of interest with other friendly nations. IFC will function as a platform where multiple friendly nations can freely exchange non-sensitive information from maritime domain.
IFC is based at the Indian Navy’s Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) at Gurugram in the National Capital Region. IMAC is the single point centre on Indian Navy, linking all the coastal radar chains to generate a seamless real-time picture of the nearly 7,500km coastline.
The IFC-IOR is being established with the vision of strengthening maritime security in the region and beyond, by building a common coherent maritime situation picture and acting as a maritime information hub for the region.
The IFC has been established at the Navy’s Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) in Gurugram, which is the single point centre linking all the coastal radar chains to generate a seamless real-time picture of the nearly 7,500-km coastline.
Through this Centre, information on “white shipping”, or commercial shipping, will be exchanged with countries in the region to improve maritime domain awareness in the Indian Ocean.
The IOR has a diverse set of littorals and island nations, each with their unique needs, aspirations, interest and values. The rise in maritime piracy in the region has had its impact worldwide, which shows how important these waters are to the nations and economies the world over.
Although concerted efforts by the navies and maritime security agencies over the last few years have significantly reduced this threat, other challenges persist.
Establishment of the IFR-IRO would 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.
The Indian Ocean is important for the following reasons:
It enjoys a privileged location at the crossroads of global trade, connecting the major engines of the international economy in the Northern Atlantic and Asia-Pacific. This is particularly important in an era in which global shipping has burgeoned.
The Indian Ocean is also rich in natural resources. 40% of the world’s offshore oil production takes place in the Indian Ocean basin. Fishing in the Indian Ocean now accounts for almost 15% of the world’s total.
Mineral resources are equally important, with nodules containing nickel, cobalt, and iron, and massive sulphide deposits of manganese, copper, iron, zinc, silver, and gold present in sizeable quantities on the seabed. Indian Ocean coastal sediments are also important sources of titanium, zirconium, tin, zinc, and copper. Additionally, various rare earth elements are present, even if their extraction is not always commercially feasible.