Kathmandu, September 4
Nepal has expressed concerned about a host of security threats which include piracy, marine terrorism, climate change, illicit trafficking of drugs and weapons, human trafficking and natural disasters, facing countries in the Indian Ocean region.
Addressing the Fourth Indian Ocean conference being held in Male, the capital city of Maldives, Minister of Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali said, “Many of these challenges have severely affected countries in the Indian Ocean region.”
According to him, island nations in the region were facing existential threat due to climate change and consequent rise of sea level.
Unseasonal heavy rainfall resulting into flood and landslide have been hitting countries including Nepal every year, taking a heavy toll on lives and property, caused by the phenomena of global warming.
Human trafficking, drugs and weapons smuggling and illegal migration have continued to pose grave security threats.
“In this context, it is appropriate to pursue collective action by countries directly or indirectly linked to the Indian Ocean, to address these challenges. Maritime security of the Indian Ocean should be given a due priority by governments concerned of all the countries in the region,” Minister Gyawali said.
It is important to note that existing multilateral and regional bodies Indian Ocean Rim Association, ASEAN Regional Forum and East Asia Summit have all prioritised cooperation in maritime safety and security, trade and investment facilitation, and disaster risk management.
In South Asian region, events such as this conference will prove instrumental in forging cooperation in regard to strengthening the security of the region, according to Gyawali.
“Nepal believes that the rights of exploration, navigation and utilisation of resources of the Indian Ocean can only be exercised when there is peace and security in the region. It also holds that maritime security will continue to play a meaningful role in strengthening blue economy, benefitting all the countries concerned,” he said in the text of his speech released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“I am confident that such arrangements would ensure exploration, navigation and utilisation of marine resources, sharing the benefits and use of high seas to all countries, including Nepal,” Minister Gyawali.
A version of this article appears in print on September 05, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.