South African Navy officers welcomed at Indian maritime information centre


Two Liaison Officers from the South African Navy (SAN) were recently welcomed at India’s strategic Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR), located at Gurugram on the outskirts of New Delhi.

The two SAN officers will be trained on the functioning of the Centre, and the importance of maritime information sharing to ensure maritime security challenges in common areas of the Indian Ocean Region will be highlighted.

This, according to an Indian Embassy staff member, further validates exiting strong India-South Africa bi-lateral defence cooperation, particularly navy to navy ties.

The two SAN Liaison Officers will be guided on the collation of information and how to prepare comprehensive databases pertaining to challenges in the maritime domain, such as piracy, armed robbery, human and contraband trafficking, Illegal Unregulated and Unreported Fishing, arms smuggling, poaching, maritime terrorism etc. in the Indian Ocean Region. The same database can be further utilised by the Navy whilst planning deployment of SAN platforms for operations off South Africa’s coast.

The Centre was established by India in December 2018 to promote maritime safety and security in the Indian Ocean Region and beyond. Its aim is to build a common coherent maritime situation picture and act as a maritime security information sharing hub for the region.

Since its inception, the Centre has established working relationships with more than 50 nations and multinational/maritime security centres.

The Centre hosts International Liaison Officers (ILOs) from partner nations. South Africa only recently joined the list of ILOs.

A combined team of Indian Naval personnel and ILOs, duly assisted by civilian analysts, monitor the Indian Ocean and adjoining seas. The team also produces various publications such as the Monthly Maritime Security Update (MMSU), Half Yearly Overview and Annual Report. These publications act as a comprehensive source of information on varied maritime issues including maritime piracy, armed robbery, contraband smuggling, Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, Irregular Human Migration (IHM) and other maritime threats. More timely updates are disseminated by the Centres’ website and Twitter.

The Centre conducts a number of workshops. The Maritime Information Sharing Workshop (MISW) is the flagship workshop conducted by the Centre which is attended by delegates from a number of countries.

“Accordingly, the deployment of SAN officers at IFC-IOR will definitely be beneficial for the SAN to nurture own capacity through knowledge transfer and skills development by the Indian Navy to achieve the common goal of a safe and secure Indian Ocean Region,” the Indian Embassy staff member told defenceWeb.