International maritime conference begins today

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Bhubaneswar: Strengthening maritime security and trade among Indian Ocean Rim countries will be the focus of an international conference to be attended by delegates from 20 nations here today.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will inaugurate the three-day conference ‘India and the Indian Ocean: Renewing Maritime Trade & Civilisational Linkages’.

Chairman of the event’s reception committee Haraprasad Das said Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar is scheduled to grace the valedictory session on the concluding day on March 22.

USA and China have evinced interest in sending their representatives as observers to the meet, which is being supported by eight union ministries.

Besides Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who is chief patron of the event, Union Tourism and Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma is also likely to attend the conference, the organisers said.

Apart from maritime safety and security, trade and industrial facilitation, the meet would also focus on fisheries management, disaster risk management, academic, science and technology, tourism and culture and gender empowerment, Das said.

Besides India, representatives from Australia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Maldives, Thailand, Mauritius, Indonesia, Malaysia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Madagascar, Singapore, Yemen, Oman, Iran and Cambodia are expected to attend the conference, Das said.

The conference will provide an opportunity to study and analyse Indian Ocean countries from all aspects ? historical, economical, geo-political, cultural, energy security, religion, literature, trade, migration, diaspora and rejuvenate the ties that bind the nations, ISCS secretary Arindam Mukherjee said.

The event will be marked by release of a postal stamp on ‘Indian Ocean and Rajendra Chola I’, commemorating the occasion and the glorious past.

The conference, organised by Institute of Social and Cultural Studies jointly with Research and Information System for Developing Countries, is supported by External Affairs, Petroleum and Natural Gas, Power, Shipping, Commerce and Industry, Culture, Tourism and Agriculture ministries.

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