In order to further the existing cooperation in the realm of maritime safety and security, IFC-IOR signed an MoU on February 21, 2023 with Regional Coordination Operations Centre (RCOC), Seychelles. The MoU signed by Captain Rohit Bajpai, Director, IFC-IOR and Capt Sam Gontier, Director, RCOC aims to promote collaboration between the two Centres towards enhancing maritime domain awareness, information sharing and expertise development.
IFC-IOR, hosted by the Indian Navy, was established by the Government of India at Gurugram on 22 Dec 2018 to enhance collaborative maritime safety and security in the Indian Ocean Region in line with India’s vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR). To enable better correlation, compressed information cycles and timely inputs, IFC-IOR also hosts International Liaison Officers (ILOs) from partner nations. To date the Centre has hosted ILOs from 12 partner nations - Australia, France, Italy, Japan, Maldives, Mauritius, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Seychelles, Singapore, United Kingdom, and the United States of America.
The Maritime Security Architecture in the Western Indian Ocean, implemented by the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) is supported by the Regional Maritime Information Fusion Centre (RMIFC), the Regional Operations Coordination Centre (RCOC) and the national centres of the seven signatory countries (Comoros, Djibouti, France, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, and Seychelles).
Since inception, IFC-IOR has established linkages with several multinational maritime security centres and the current initiative will enable deeper collaboration between the IFC-IOR and RCOC. This approach will allow the Centres to effectively develop a common maritime understanding to counter non-traditional maritime security threats such as piracy and armed robbery, human and contraband trafficking, Illegal Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing, arms running, poaching, maritime terrorism, etc with a special focus on the Western Indian Ocean.
During the MoU signing both the Directors of RCOC and IFC-IOR were unanimous on the need to enhance information sharing and analysis to cue actions at sea. They also highlighted that this MoU will enhance trust and improving synergy between the Centres towards furthering collaborative maritime safety and security in the Indian Ocean Region. The event was attended by the Secretary General and delegates from IOC, High Commissioner of India to Seychelles and senior officers of the Indian Navy.