CRIMARIO is launching itself remotely by region and was fortunate enough to be welcomed to South Asia through a webinar co-organised with the National Maritime Foundation (NMF) through the lead and moderation of Vice Admiral (Retd) Pradeep Chauhan. The webinar, which was held on 16 June in association with IFC-IOR, gathered some 190 participants from India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bangladesh and Thailand as well as EU Member States.

The joint NMF-CRIMARIO II webinar titled “Synergising MDA in the Indian Ocean Region: the Prevailing State of Play” was opened by NMF Chairman, Admiral (Retd) Sunil Lanba and HE Ugo Astuto, EU Ambassador to Indian & Bhutan who provided the key note speeches.

IFC-IOR and CRIMARIO presented the state-of-play of Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) in South Asia, discussing possible solutions to mitigate maritime security challenges through information sharing agreements, tools such as the IORIS platform, and improving interoperability between existing systems.

The presentations were followed by a high-level expert-panel where panelists discussed the conditions for establishing information sharing mechanisms, and the importance of building trust as a prerequisite; they emphasised the importance of interoperability and interagency working relationships.

The panel was composed of the following distinguished participants:

·      Rear Admiral M Lokmanur Rahman, Chairman, BIMRAD and ACNS (Logistics), Bangladesh Navy (Bangladesh)

·      Rear Admiral Kishan Kumar Pandey (Retd), Director Human Resources, Amity University Gurgaon (India)

·      Colonel Mohamed Saleem, Commandant, MNDF Coast Guard (Maldives)

·      Admiral Ravindra Chandrasiri Wijegunaratne (Retd), Former Chief of Defence Staff of the Sri Lanka Armed Forces, and Former Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy (Sri Lanka)

·      Rear Admiral Wachiraporn Wongnakornsawang, Expert Adviser to the Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Navy (Thailand)

Following this first successful collaboration, NMF and CRIMARIO agreed to build on this impetus by continuing to bring regional partners together through the organisation of other similar activities.

The Concept Note and Programme can be found in the NMF website.