Seafaring countries should ensure peace in oceans: Modi

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Visakhapatnam, Feb 7 (IANS) Emphasising that a peaceful and stable maritime environment was “critical for the regional and global security”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said it should be a “shared goal and responsibility of all the seafaring countries”.

Addressing the International Fleet Review (IFR) 2016 here, Modi thanked all participating countries, saying it was “a message of cooperation and friendship that we deeply cherish”.

“On behalf of my countrymen, I thank you all for accepting our invitation and joining in this event with such spirit,” the prime minister said.

About 50 navies from across the world are participating in the IFR.

Modi also announced that India will host the first ever ‘Global Maritime Summit’ in April this year.

“To build on the gains from today’s gathering, India would host the first ever Global Maritime Summit in April this year. Its priority would be to scale up and strengthen the vibrant trade/investment/technology and commercial linkages between India and other maritime nations,” he said.

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Modi said world politics in present times was “turbulent”, and its challenges were “complex”.

Observing that a major part of the world economy was based on sea activities, the prime minister said the oceans were the “lifelines of global prosperity”.

“They (oceans) present us with great economic opportunities to build our nations. Over 90 percent of global merchandise trade is carried on the oceans,” Modi said, adding that oceans were also critical for global energy security as over 60 percent of the world’s oil production moves through sea routes.

Modi also spoke of terror and other threats which emerge from the seas. He identified sea-borne terror and piracy as major threats.

“The threat of sea-borne terror, of which India has been a direct victim, continues to endanger the regional and global peace and stability,” Modi said, adding that the threat of natural disasters like tsunamis and cyclones was ever present.

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Modi expressed concern over manmade problems such as oil spills, climate change which continue to pose a risk to the stability of the maritime domain.

“A peaceful and stable maritime environment is, therefore, critical for the regional and global security. It is also a must to harvest the riches of the oceanic ecosystems,” he said.

He called upon participating nations to start using seas to build peace, friendship and trust, and curb conflict.

Modi also thanked the men and women of the Indian Navy for their tireless dedication for making this fleet review a truly historic success and said that witnessing the harmony among the best of international Navies has been a “rewarding experience” for him.

India hosted the last International Fleet Review in Mumbai in 2001.

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