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Maldives Granted IORA Membership

Published Nov 12, 2019
Updated Feb 06, 2020

The Maldives formally became the 22nd member state of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) after Maldivian Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid signed the Instrument of Acceptance on 07 November at the 19th Council of Ministers of the IORA in Abu Dhabi as per the Xinhua.

In a statement at the Council of Minister’s annual meeting, Shahid emphasized the importance of regional cooperation in the areas of maritime safety and security, trade and investment, blue economy, fisheries management, and economic empowerment of women.

Shahid also emphasised the need to address the challenges in the Indian Ocean such as Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, terrorism, trafficking in persons and arms.

This year marks the first time the Maldives has taken part in the annual meeting of the Council of Ministers — the IORA’s apex body which consists of the foreign ministers of member states. Maldives first applied to become a member of the IORA in 2017 says Xinhua.

The Indian Ocean Rim Association is an inter-governmental organisation which was established on 7 March 1997 based on the vision of the South African iconic leader Nelson Mandela.

The vision for IORA originated during a visit by late President Nelson Mandela of South Africa to India in 1995.

As the third largest ocean woven together by trade routes, commands control of major sea-lanes carrying half of the world’s container ships, one third of the world’s bulk cargo traffic and two thirds of the world’s oil shipments, the Indian Ocean remains an important lifeline to international trade and transport.

Home to nearly 2.7 billion people, Member States whose shores are washed by the ocean are rich in cultural diversity and richness in languages, religions, traditions, arts and cuisines.

They vary considerably in terms of their areas, populations and levels of economic development. They may also be divided into a number of sub-regions (Australasia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, West Asia and Eastern & Southern Africa), each with their own regional groupings (such as ASEAN, SAARC, GCC and SADC, to name a few). Despite such diversity and differences, these countries are bound together by the Indian Ocean.