India and Mauritius recently signed a maritime security agreement that is expected to enhance the security of both countries in the Indian Ocean. This agreement is significant in the context of increasing regional security challenges and geopolitical shifts in the Indo-Pacific.
The India-Mauritius maritime security agreement was signed during the sixth session of the Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation between India and Mauritius, held virtually on 26th August 2021. The agreement provides for the exchange of information on maritime security, joint patrolling, and training of Mauritian security forces by the Indian Coast Guard.
The agreement is a testament to the growing strategic partnership between India and Mauritius, which share close historical, cultural, and economic ties. Mauritius is an important Indian Ocean island nation, strategically located at the crossroads of the African, Asian, and Australian continents. Its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) covers an area of 2.3 million square kilometers and is rich in natural resources, including fisheries, hydrocarbons, and minerals.
India has a vital interest in ensuring the security and stability of the Indian Ocean region, given its dependence on the sea for trade, energy, and resources. The Indian Ocean is also home to some of the world`s busiest shipping lanes, with around 80% of global maritime trade passing through its waters.
The India-Mauritius maritime security agreement is expected to facilitate joint surveillance and monitoring of the maritime domain, including the identification and tracking of suspicious vessels, piracy, and other illegal activities. It will also enhance the capacity of Mauritian security forces to respond to maritime security threats, including search and rescue operations, disaster management, and environmental protection.
Overall, the India-Mauritius maritime security agreement is a positive development in the ongoing efforts to ensure the security and stability of the Indian Ocean region. As a maritime power, India has a critical role to play in promoting regional cooperation and maintaining a rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific. The signing of this agreement is an important step in that direction.