India and United States to Launch Ocean Dialogue

WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES: India and the US have decided to launch an Ocean Dialogue, which Secretary of State John Kerry said, is aimed at promoting sustainable development of blue economy.

“We are launching a promising new Ocean Dialogue – in order to promote the sustainable – and I emphasise sustainable – development of the blue economy, as we call it,” Mr Kerry told reporters at the conclusion of the India US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue yesterday.

The world’s oceans are being challenged everywhere, he said.

“The fisheries of the world are either dramatically overfished or in a near extremes, and it is imperative for countries to come together in an effort to try to manage the fish stocks of the world and in order to make sustainable practices the practices that are accepted across the planet,” Mr Kerry said.

External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj said the two countries have also decided to launch a new high-level dialogue between India’s foreign secretary and the US Deputy Secretary of State on regional and global Issues.

“We welcomed US reiteration of their support for India’s membership of the four major multilateral export control regimes, including the NSG,” she said.

During the Dialogue, the leaders also spoke of India’s aspiration for greater participation in internet governance organisations such as ICANN and related bodies. “We agreed to convene a track 1.5 programme to further cooperation on internet and cyber issues in this regard,” she said.

Mrs Swaraj said she and Kerry agreed to work towards forming India’s membership of APEC. “In my meeting with Kerry, we shared our strategic priorities, interests, and concerns on issues of mutual interest, including security and counterterrorism, confidences in India’s Act East policy, and the US rebalance in Asia,” she said.

Complementing India’s Enhanced Look East Policy, the US envisions an Indo-Pacific Economic Corridor that can help bridge South and Southeast Asia – where the Indian and Pacific Oceans converge and where trade has thrived for centuries, the State Department said.

Fostering these types of connections – physical infrastructure, regulatory trade architecture, and human and digital connectivity – will create linkages all the way from Central Asia to Southeast Asia, via South Asia, it said.

A more integrated South Asia where markets, economies, and people connect is more likely to thrive and prosper, it said.

During the January 2015 visit, US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged to work together to increase connectivity across the Indian Ocean and Asia-Pacific Regions.

IPEC operationalizes this commitment, and the United States looks forward to implementing programs that support these objectives, it said.

The US is also helping New Delhi construct a world-class gravitational wave detector, as the two countries have decided to take several steps to further deepen their cooperation in the field of science and technology.

Further, ISRO and NASA are collaborating on an ambitious Earth Science mission called NISAR, planned for launch in 2020/2021, it was announced yesterday.

India and the US over the next year will deepen their dialogue on maritime and oceanic issues ahead of the 2016 Our Ocean Conference.

It will focus on combating illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing as part of sustainable fisheries, strengthening marine conservation, ending marine pollution, enhancing marine science, and with a joint commitment to a more robust ocean conservation agenda.

“The new Oceans Dialogue will allow both sides to reflect on our shared commitment to peaceful commercial use of the oceans, freedom of navigation, and protection of the ocean ecosystem,” the State Department said.

India is in the final stages of approving funds of USD 200 million over 15 years to build a world-class gravitational wave detector in India through a partnership between the United States’ Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) Laboratory and India’s Indian Initiative in Gravitation Observations (IndIGO).

Gravitational wave detection will allow scientists to better understand the universe by testing Einstein’s theory of relativity and studying astronomical objects such as black holes, neutron stars, and supernovas.

On the sidelines of the inaugural India US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Director John Holdren and Department of Science and Technology (DST) Secretary Ashutosh Sharma held a bilateral meeting on September 21.

The US Department of Energy and India’s Department of Atomic Energy are working to develop a High Intensity Superconducting Proton Accelerator to allow collaboration in high-intensity particle physics.

In January 2015, both sides agreed to a Project Annex and subsequently to a deliverables list that will foster accelerator research and development, and related physics cooperation involving Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), and the Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology (RRCAT).

During the Strategic and Commercial Dialogue, the two governments noted the significance of the US-India Civil Space Joint Working Group meeting scheduled to take place in Bangalore, on September 23-24, 2015.

Officials highlighted priorities and progress in several areas related to civil space cooperation, including a joint Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)-National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Mars Working Group that is working together to enhance cooperation in Mars exploration.