The collaboration of the two tremendous powers of IORA, India, and Australia can play a significant role in addressing the security, economic, and environmental threats to IOR countries by strengthening Blue Economy (BE) initiatives.
Both countries show outstanding growth and potential in the Blue Economy field, especially in the aquaculture industry. The difference between each country’s cultivated aqua species leads to their dependence on their domestic market. Australia has always emphasized its strict guidelines over environmental and food security in the National Aquaculture Strategy 2017. India has proved to devote to sustainability in aquaculture with the Draft India National Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy 2019, which prepares a common ground for these two countries to share sustainable practices. Also, the webinar held on ‘A Missing Dimension in Maritime Co-operation in Indian Ocean Region: Underwater Domain Awareness (UDA)‘ which brought together the diplomatic community members, maritime strategists, policymakers, and other stakeholders was to discuss UDA (a unique concept to ensure safe, secure, sustainable growth for all in the Indian Ocean) capacity building. However, to bolster the bilateral cooperation and trade between them, especially concerning capacity-building and training on mitigation measures, India needs to ensure minimal deviations from Australian standards.
Illegal, unreported, unregulated fishing (IUU) is what Australia tries to combat with various national plans. These plans include monitoring, controlling, and surveillance (MCS) and management of fisheries. Likewise, India has several regulations to manage domestic ‘in-province’ and foreign ‘beyond-province’ fisheries and fishing vessels, including satellite-based vessel imaging.
The extensive knowledge of both countries in the Blue Economy could lead to mutual learning and better combating strategies through joint fisheries partnerships, while also creating a knowledge-sharing hub and enhancing capacity building programs. They can be the key players in the region to unite all the IOR countries to establish marine protected areas and intensify the MCS mechanism. (Source: ORF India-Australia collaboration)