Bangalore: India's tech hub will, November 15, host the 11th ministerial meeting of the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC) that will focus on promoting trade and investment among the 18 member-countries, a senior official said Tuesday. "As India will assume the chair of the association for the next two years, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna will chair the meeting that will focus on promoting economic and technical cooperation, including expansion of trade and investment among member countries," ministry additional secretary P.S. Raghavan told reporters here.
Yemen held the chair of the IOR-ARC for two years from 2009.
The association, of which India is a founding member, was set up in Mauritius in 1997 with Australia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, the UAE and Yemen as the member-countries.
The association has also five dialogue partners - Egypt, Japan, China, Britain and France and two observers - Indian Ocean Tourism Organisation (IOTO) and Indian Ocean Research Group (IORG).
"During the meeting, an agreement will be signed by the Sultanate of Oman and the IOR-ARC fisheries support unit to pave way for its operationalisation," Raghavan said.
Prior to the day-long summit, representatives of Indian Ocean Rim Business Forum, Indian Ocean Rim Working Group on Trade and Investment, Indian Ocean Rim Academic Group and the Committee of Senior Officials (CSO) will meet to draft reports on the regional cooperation initiatives.
"The foreign ministers or senior cabinet ministers of Australia, Bangladesh, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Singapore, South Africa and Tanzania will be participating in the meeting along with senior officials from member countries," Raghavan pointed out.
The meeting will also consider and adopt the recommendation of CSO on the agreement and draft statute of the regional centre for science and transfer of technology, which is located at Tehran in Iran.
"The foreign ministers will review the status on the launch and operationalisation of the Oman-based Maritime Transport Council and discuss the tourism study conducted by IOTO," Raghavan noted.
Besides reviewing the administrative arrangement for the IOR-ARC Special Fund, the members will discuss steps to combat piracy at sea and enhance maritime security in the region.
"The meeting will adopt a 'Bangalore Declaration' and hold brain-storming sessions on enhancing cooperation among the member countries in tourism, culture, education, skill development, fisheries, small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs), infrastructure, maritime transport cooperation and combating natural disasters," Raghavan added.
The meeting will also take up the challenges faced by the member countries in the region on climate change and the fallout of global warming due to excess emission of greenhouse gases.