Indian Ocean countries to boost cooperation: Australian minister
Canberra – The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) countries have agreed to a stronger collaborative effort on maritime security, economic growth and sustainable development across the regions at their Perth meeting, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Monday.
Australia assumed the chairmanship of the annual Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC) from India for a two-year term, during the meetings from Oct 30 to Nov 1, 2013, reports Xinhua.
“This diverse group of nations which span from Asia to Africa and the Middle East are linked by common challenges — the need to keep shipping lanes open, keep fishery stocks viable, prepare for disasters such as the tsunami, and a desire to promote trade, education, the empowerment of women, tourism and cultural links across the regions,” Bishop said.
The Australian minister has highlighted the increasing importance of the Indian Ocean regions, after Australia assumes the chair for the first time.
The meeting adopted the “Perth Principles Declaration” which affirms a shared commitment towards peaceful, productive and sustainable use of the Indian Ocean and its resources.
Bishop said that Australia will provide almost $1.13 million in 2014 for IORA initiatives to address the issues such as disasters, water safety, seasonal climate forecasting, the sustainability of fisheries, and to monitor oil spills.
The Indian Ocean region is home to more than a quarter of the world’s population. The ocean carries half of the world’s cargo ships and two-thirds of the world’s oil shipments, she added.