President Abdul Hamid yesterday said developing effective maritime policies at national, sub-regional and regional levels was important to advance economic development of the Indian Ocean region.
He also said a combined effort was necessary to overcome the adverse impacts of climate change and deal with natural disasters.
“Formulation and effective implementation of a 'Blue Economy' is a demand of the time for the economic well-being of the region, which can be achieved by efficient use of resources at sea,” he said.
“I believe that we would be able to formulate required policies pertaining to all important issues using IONS (Indian Ocean Naval Symposium) as a dialogue platform,” the president said.
Hamid was addressing the opening ceremony of the 5th biennial assembly of IONS 2016 in the capital.
Officials from 33 countries including the chiefs of navies from 13 countries are attending the three-day symposium.
IONS is a voluntary initiative that seeks to increase maritime cooperation among navies of the littoral states of the Indian Ocean region by providing an open and inclusive forum for discussion of regionally relevant maritime issues.
Hamid said while geographical borders divide the countries, friendship across the ocean can unite the nations.
“IONS is not only a ray of hope for the Indian Ocean region but also a forum of immense importance for the Asia-Pacific and the adjoining oceans,” he said.
The Indian Ocean carries huge prospect and potentials both from geo-strategic and geo-economic point of views to facilitate maritime trade and commerce, economic prosperity and exploitation and exploration of the ocean resources, he said.
“Proper management of this vast region and its effective utilisation is not possible by a single nation alone. In this regard, we shall have to work together as a single entity so that every potential could be utilised for the greater benefit of mankind,” he added. He said Bangladesh has set a glaring example by amicably resolving its longstanding maritime boundary disputes with both its neighbours -- India and Myanmar. Outgoing IONS chairman and Chief of Australian Navy Vice-Admiral Tim Barrett and the new chairman and Chief of Naval Staff of Bangladesh Navy Vice-Admiral M Farid Habib also spoke.