In a significant stride towards fostering collaboration and insightful analysis in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) and the Research Institute for Indian Ocean Economics (RIIO) have solidified their commitment through a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). This landmark agreement was formalized in Kunming, China, during the eighth RIIO international conference on ‘Common Development of China and Indian Ocean Region’.
Championing Multilateral Cooperation:
The primary objective of this historic initiative is to establish a multilateral cooperative network of think tanks that specialize in matters concerning the Indian Ocean. The RIIO conference, titled ‘Challenges and Prospects of Blue Economy Cooperation in the Indian Ocean: from the Perspective of Security and Development’, served as the launchpad for this transformative partnership. Hosted by RIIO-YUFE, the conference provided an intellectual forum for high-ranking officials from various institutions, including IPS, the School of International Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, the Center for Economic and Social Development in Myanmar, the Centre for Policy Dialogue in Bangladesh, and the Pathfinder Foundation in Sri Lanka.
The collective participation of these esteemed institutions underscored their shared commitment to the sustainable development of the Indian Ocean Region. In addition to the MoU, the participating entities also signed a letter of intent, expressing their dedication to becoming active members of this dynamic network, following due formalities.
Nurturing Policy Insights and Collaborative Endeavors:
At the core of this think tank network’s mission lies the pursuit of incisive policy analysis and comprehensive review of strategic matters in the Indian Ocean. The network will engage in joint activities, fostering discussions, research initiatives, and knowledge sharing aimed at promoting mutual development between China and the Indian Ocean region. A tangible outcome of this collaboration will be the publication of a wide array of informative resources, including books, white papers, research articles, and reports.
This concerted effort aims to bolster diverse dimensions of cooperation, spanning from foreign policy and economic relations of Indian Ocean economies to investment environments within the region. The network envisions addressing bilateral and multilateral implications for each nation, thereby nurturing stronger ties and deeper understanding among the participating countries.
Emphasizing Shared Growth:
Chairman of IPS, Khalid Rahman, emphasized the interconnectivity of economies, cultural identities, and livelihoods of nations within the IOR. This interdependence underscores the significance of collaborative initiatives that extend beyond national boundaries. For the sustainable growth of blue economies in the region, a proactive approach is vital. This entails a concerted emphasis on maritime-centric policies, knowledge sharing, and integrated planning both regionally and within individual states.
Moreover, robust governance mechanisms that involve stakeholders from diverse sectors, including governments, industries, communities, and academia, will be pivotal in driving holistic and enduring progress. By addressing various facets of cooperation, these efforts will pave the way for a harmonious and prosperous Indian Ocean Region.
In conclusion, the bilateral MoU between IPS and RIIO marks a watershed moment in advancing collaborative efforts and insights across the Indian Ocean Region. This think tank network is poised to become a hub of intellectual exchange, research, and cooperative endeavors, fostering mutual development and greater understanding among nations. As economies, cultures, and livelihoods continue to intertwine, proactive and coordinated efforts will undoubtedly be the cornerstone of sustained growth and prosperity in the region.