India virtually participated in the 21st Annual Council of Ministers (COM) meeting of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) on 17 November 2021 led by the Hon’ble Minister of State External Affairs (MoS), Dr. Rajkumar Ranjan Singh. The IORA COM was held in a hybrid format in Dhaka and Dhaka Communique was adopted at the end of the meeting.
MoS, in his remarks, reaffirmed India’s strong commitment to strengthening IORA, the largest and pre-eminent organization in the Indian Ocean Region, to promote peace, security and prosperity in the region as well as in the wider Indo-Pacific. He highlighted India’s contributions as coordinator of the IORA priority areas of Disaster Risk Management (DRM). During the Strategic Dialogue on the topic ‘Impact of COVID-19 and perspectives of economic recovery in the Indian Ocean Region’, providing an over view of India’s own experience of combating COVID-19 pandemic, MoS underlined India’s assistance as the first responder in the region to various countries in the Indo-Pacific during the Covid pandemic and emphasised India’s readiness to share her experience and resources in the spirit of solidarity.
As a country committed to strengthening of IORA, India undertook various initiatives during the current year including assisting the IORA Secretariat, conducting capacity building workshops in the areas ranging from Yoga and traditional medicines to Remote sensing, UNCLOS and Ocean Data Management and leading the discussions on various issues under IORA.
MoS congratulated Bangladesh for assuming the Chairship of IORA. He welcomed the Russian Federation as the new Dialogue Partner of IORA. He also congratulated Ambassador Salman Al-Farisi for being selected as the next Secretary-General (SG) of IORA and expressed hope that a full time SG would help impart fresh energy and vision to the organization.