Bhubaneswar: Seeking cooperation from the Indian Ocean Rim Countries, India on Sunday said it is prepared to play a leading role in the affairs of the Indian Ocean region for the larger benefit of all stakeholders.
"India is prepared to play a leading role in this context in the affairs of Indian Ocean region for the larger benefit of all countries in our region," Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said at the valedictory session of an international conference, "India and the Indian Ocean: Renewing the Maritime Trade and Civilisational Linkage."
Stating that the three-day interaction generated greater confidence to aim higher for stronger cooperation in economic and trade areas, Pradhan said, "The whole region has the potential to emerge as an economic powerhouse and spring board with intense economic, energy and trade activities."
The conference has aided in building in depth understanding of several issues and will strengthen the academic and research resources on Indian Ocean studies, he said.
"I am happy that several senior ministers and leaders from the Union and state governments have actively taken part in the conference and enriched us. I am sure they would have taken back the inputs from other distinguished speakers which will be reflected in policy making on Indian Ocean in coming days," Pradhan said.
"We need to put our acts together and the academics, think-tanks, policy makers in both central and state governments should work together to re-establish the lost linkages," Pradhan said.
Stating that the government has a clear focus to integrate India with the Indian Ocean in trade, economic and cultural bandages, he said the Prime Minister's recent visits to Mauritius, Seychelles and Sri Lanka has strengthened this.
In fact the PM of Mauritius was also invited to the swearing in ceremony of the NDA government where only head of governments of SAARC countries were invited, he pointed out.
Pradhan expressed hope that the conference would help in fostering cooperation in the area of disaster management as the region is prone to such calamities, enhancing cultural and heritage linkages among the Indian Ocean Rim countries and promoting tourism and people?to-people contact with specific activities like developing the Buddhist Circuits and Regional Skill Development Centres.