IORA summit to build Indian Ocean a stable, well-being region

Indo Asian News Service

Jakarta, March 7 (IANS) Leaders and representatives at the 20th summit of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) on Tuesday signed the Jakarta Concord, pledging to build a stable, peaceful and prosperous region.

In the document "Promoting Regional Cooperation for a Peaceful, Stable, and Prosperous Indian Ocean", IORA members pledged their commitment to building the Indian Ocean into a stable, well-being region through cooperation in various sectors.

The document serves as foundations to guide 21 IORA member countries in tackling the regional and global challenges, leads to creation of improved cooperation among member countries in the future, Xinhua news agency reported.

Priorities include promoting maritime security, trade and investment improvement, promote and develop a sustainable and accountable fishery sector, improve the management to anticipate disaster risk, strengthen cooperation on knowledge and science, encouraging tourism industry and cultural exchange, promote 'blue economy' drive and improving women's role in the economy.

Besides signing the Concord, dignitaries also approved IORA declaration on terrorism and extremism prevention.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo said the presence of representatives at the summit expressed the eagerness of IORA members to seek international cooperation for the interests of each nation.

"Each nation should prioritise its nationalism. But nationalism would not survive without internationalism," the President said in his remarks at the opening of the summit here.

Indonesia Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi said that delegations attending the summit have approved the action plans document to materialise the priorities set in Jakarta Concord.

The document stipulates steps and measures that need to be implemented to address the priorities' short and long term targets from 2017 to 2021, the minister said.

The IORA delegates also agreed to exercise tolerance and diversity in relations between one another in the Indian Ocean region.

Indonesia holds the rotating chair of IORA this year. The regional organisation constitutes member countries whose shores were washed by the Indian Ocean waters.

The member countries are India, Indonesia, Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, the UAE and Yemen.

The organisation embraces seven dialogue partners comprised of Britain, France, Germany, the US, Egypt, Japan and China.

The IORA aims to enhance trade and economy cooperation among member countries so as to further prosper 2.7 billion of population inhabiting the region.