Regionally sensitive solutions needed for Indian Ocean states

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New Delhi, Feb 14 (UNI) Union Defence Minister A K Anthony today urged members of the 'IONS Initiative' to explore "regionally-relevant and regionally-sensitive solutions" to common problems ranging from terrorism to tsunamis.

Addressing the assembled Chiefs-of-Navy of a majority of the Indian Ocean littoral states at the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) here, he said the threats facing law-abiding states did not arise from territorial or ideological ambitions of other nation-states but from a variety of non-state entities such as illegal traffickers and terrorists who were establishing pan-oceanic and trans-oceanic links across borders.

In addition, natural disasters and manmade catastrophes such as cyclones, earthquakes, landslides, floods and tsunamis, arising from widespread coastal inundation caused by global warming required common approaches and solutions, the Minister said.

The meet provides a forum for member states to discuss issues and concerns bearing upon regional maritime security and fulfils the long-felt need for cooperative engagement in the face of maritime challenges.

Mr Anthony said "we are all here to 'dream the Indian Ocean dream' -- to come together to share and explore the contours of a grand vision of a coalesced, prosperous and progressive Indian Ocean".

Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Suresh Mehta said the initiative was a pan-regional body and did not seek to exclude but rather include all since security challenges and threats that are common to all.

"There have been initiatives that have lost their acceptance and relevance since their foundations were based upon 'exclusion' as a principle," he added and urged his fellow Naval chiefs to use the forum to focus on issues related to maritime environment to create conditions for regional cooperation.

The Indian Navy and the National Maritime Foundation have jointly taken the initiative of hosting the inaugural activity of the IONS initiative, the IONS Seminar-2008.

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