The 6th Indian Ocean Conference will take place in Dhaka on the 12th and 13th of May to address how the nations of the Indian Ocean region may foster economic growth while preserving peace and stability.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the sixth two-day Indian Ocean Conference (IOC) in Dhaka on Friday. The conference will bring together ministerial-level delegations from at least 25 countries to discuss enhancing regional cooperation. Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen stated that the event was organized primarily for the coastal nations of the Indian Ocean, but in light of the shifting global context, it is anticipated that a number of significant and pertinent topics will be discussed.
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The hosting of the IOC in Dhaka on 12-13 May will strengthen the relationship between Bangladesh and the countries of the Indian Ocean, said Bangladesh foreign minister.
What is IOC?
The Indian Ocean Conference began in 2016 in Singapore with the participation of thirty nations. The Conference has transformed into the “Flagship Consultative Forum” for countries in the region to discuss regional affairs over the past six years.
So far, five Indian Ocean Conferences have been conducted. After Singapore, the event was held in Sri Lanka in 2017, Vietnam in 2018, the Maldives in 2019, and the United Arab Emirates in 2021.
This year’s IOC theme
After an interval of one year, the sixth conference will be conducted in Dhaka, jointly organized by India Foundation and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Bangladesh.
With the theme of “Peace, Prosperity and Partnership for a Resilient Future”, the conference is expected to bring together a luminary gathering of key stakeholders to chart the roadmap for strengthening the Indian Ocean Region.
According to AK Abdul Momen, “The entire Indian Ocean region is very important. Everyone needs to work together on how to make the most of the region’s changing geopolitical and geo-economic potential. Besides, regional stability is essential in the current global context.”
Who are attending?
At the conference, officials from 150 countries, including Mauritius, Maldives, Singapore, and Germany, will discuss a range of significant issues in the context of the world’s ongoing transformation.
Over 25 ministers, state ministers, or deputy ministers from various countries are scheduled to attend the conference, including Mauritian President Prithvirajsing Roopun, Maldivian Vice President Faisal Naseem, and Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.
“Foreign Ministers of Bhutan, Nepal, Bahrain and Singapore alongside the ministerial representatives of Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Madagascar will also participate in the conference,” Momen mentioned.
The minister added that approximately 150 foreign visitors, including representatives from D8, South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), and Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), will attend the conference.
Faisal Naseem, vice president of the Maldives, is scheduled to arrive in Dhaka on Thursday and depart after attending the conference on Friday. During his stay in Dhaka, he will presumably pay a courtesy call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. In addition, he will pay Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen a courtesy call.
What are the agendas?
The purpose of the Conference is to bring together the region’s most important nations and maritime partners to discuss the prospects of regional cooperation for Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR). Participating nations will gain insight into the kinds of actions they might take in the future in mild of ongoing world events, and Bangladesh will be able to utilize such information to decide on the alternatives it needs to deal with and ultimately overcome various disaster conditions.
“We are expecting that the sixth edition of the conference will make numbers of recommendations to face problems and challenges of Indian Ocean region that will play a vital role in formulating future work plan of this area,” Foreign Minister, AK Abdul Momen said. “The partnership of Bangladesh with the countries in the Indian Ocean will become stronger through hosting the IOC”, he added.
The itinerary of the conference:
On the day 1 (May 12, 2023), there will be 4 Pre-Conference Thematic Sessions. The sessions are-
- Roadmap for an economically sustainable future in the Indo-Pacific
- Forging partnerships in the Indo-Pacific for peace and prosperity
- Rise of a peaceful Indo-Pacific for a resilient global future
- Dealing with non-traditional security challenges for a peaceful and sustainable Indo-Pacific.
After the Pre-Conference Thematic Sessions, the inaugural session will be addressed.
Mauritian President Prithvirajsing Roopun will deliver the Inaugural address of the Conference in Dhaka while the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina will deliver the Chief Guest’s Address. External Affairs Minister of India, Dr S. Jaishankar will deliver the Keynote Address of the evening alongside Special Addresses by the Deputy Secretary of State of USA, Ms. Wendy Sherman and Vice President of Maldives, Faisal Naseem.
The inaugural session will also be graced by the presence of A. K. Abdul Momen, Foreign Minister of Bangladesh and Sayyid Bad bin Hamad bin Hamood Albusaidi, Foreign Minister of Oman.
On day 2 (May 12, 2023) of the conference, there will be 2 plenary sessions before the lunch and another 2 plenary sessions after the lunch.
Official delegations led by Heads of State/Government. Deputy Heads, Cabinet Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Senior Officials from 27 countries and multilateral organisations will address the conference on May 13, 2023.
The Conference will also bring together a gathering of over 300 social and corporate leaders, policy practitioners, scholars, professionals and media personnel from over 40 countries.
The attending ministers will also visit the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum at Dhanmondi 32 to pay tribute to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the Father of the Nation, while Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will host a dinner in honor of the guests.
An enhanced partnership with Mauritius
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam said, “The Mauritian president will visit Bangladesh for the first time. Various bilateral issues will be discussed.”
He stated that Bangladesh has excellent relations with Mauritius, which will be strengthened by the visit of the country’s president.
Prithvirajsing Roopun, President of Mauritius, is currently in Bangladesh for four days to participate part in the conference. He has arrived in Bangladesh Today (May 10) and was received at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport by the Minister of Liberation War Affairs, Mr AKM Mozammel Huq, MP.
Along with attending the conference, President Prithvirajsing Roopun will visit Bangladeshi President Mohammad Shahabuddin. The Mauritian president will also meet with Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen and Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Imran Ahmad. The president is also scheduled to visit two industrial parks in Bangladesh. The relations between the two have been reinforced by the presence of around 20,000 Bangladeshi workers in Mauritius.