On 8 December 2021, over 150 participants from India, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Bangladesh attended the joint India-EU MDA & interoperability workshop hosted by CRIMARIO and IFC-IOR. The event was opened by Mr Seppo Nurmi, Deputy Head of EU Delegation to India & Bhutan and Vice Admiral Ravneet Singh, Indian Navy Deputy Chief of Naval Staff. The Keynote Speaker was Admiral Prof Jayanath Colombage, Secretary of the Sri Lanka Foreign Ministry, who provided the IORA perspective on maritime security threats and information exchange. This was followed by interventions by senior experts from NMF, IMO, UNODC, NESA, US Africom and INSA on Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA), with a focus on how to develop interoperability in the Indo-Pacific region.

Following the presentations, participants engaged in a Question & Answer Session during which, among others, the response to specific maritime security challenges, how to build trust between partners and the value of commercial maritime domain awareness information were discussed in detail.

As noted in the concluding remarks by Captain Soumyajit Mohanty, Director IFC-IOR and Mr Martin Cauchi Inglott, Project Director EU CRIMARIO Project, three key points emerged from the interventions and discussions:

1 – first of all, strengthening regional cooperation requires a multidimensional approach;

2 – secondly, when looking ahead, we must consider the human factor and how to build trust; and finally

3 – we need to walk the talk, moving from words to action.

This workshop is intended as the first in a string of events that will continue to foster trust and confidence between regional partners with a view to mitigating the common threats faced in the region.

Watch the recording below: