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Dhaka Hosts the Sixth Indian Ocean Conference (IOC

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the two-day 6th Indian Ocean Conference (IOC) in Dhaka on Friday to increase regional collaboration.
She kicked off the sixth edition of the conference, which was organized by the India Foundation in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,  Bangladesh, and the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at a city hotel. The conference was attended by ministerial delegations from at least 25 countries. The Indian Ocean Rim Association is currently chaired by Bangladesh.
The hosting of the IOC would strengthen Bangladesh’s relationship with the countries of the Indian Ocean. The summit was attended by presidents, ministers, and state ministers from 25 countries, including the Mauritian President, India’s external affairs minister, and so on. In addition, over 150 foreign guests attended the conference, including representatives from D8, Saarc, and Bimstec.
Mauritius President Prithvirajsing Roopun, Maldives Vice President Faisal Naseem, India’s External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar, Singapore’s Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, and Second Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Maliki Osman all spoke during the inaugural session. Dr. AK Abdul Momen, Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister, spoke virtually while State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam was also present on the dais.
The conference, themed “Peace, Prosperity, and Partnership for a Resilient Future,” brought together important stakeholders to lay out a strategy for improving the Indian Ocean Region.
“Let me underline that, for India, effective and efficient connectivity to ASEAN will be a game changer,” Dr. S. Jaishankar said in the keynote speech he delivered at the opening session of the two-day 6th Indian Ocean Conference. He further added that connectivity is a critical issue since the era of imperialism damaged the continent’s natural linkages and built regional silos that served their purposes. It is essential to restore and improve flows between different locations. Their priority should be to improve and enhance connectivity.
For countries like India, a land connection to Southeast Asia and a multi-model connection to the Gulf and Central Asia provide unique obstacles, but the more India works together on smooth connectivity, the better off it will be. However, India must respect its sovereignty and territorial integrity. As a result, Dr. Jaishankar emphasized that effective and efficient connectivity to ASEAN will be a game changer for India.
The Indian Ocean Conference (IOC) was founded in 2016, and over the last six years, it has evolved as the region’s “Flagship Consultative Forum” on regional issues in the area. The conference aims to bring together essential governments and the region’s primary maritime partners on a common platform to discuss the potential for regional cooperation for Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR).
In 2017, representatives from nearly 40 countries attended the second conference, which was held in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The third IOC was held in Hanoi, Vietnam, in 2018, with delegates from 44 countries in attendance.
Delegates from 40 countries attended the fourth edition, which was held in the Maldives in 2019. The fifth IOC was held in Abu Dhabi, UAE, in 2021 and had 37 speakers from 21 countries.