Odisha has the opportunity to reclaim its trade and cultural relations with nations in the Indian Ocean Region. The state can become the maritime gateway of India once again, said Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
Recollecting the rich trade practice of Kalinga merchants, Naveen said the state is in the process of developing a number of ports in the 480-km coastline. He was addressing international conference on "India and Indian Ocean" in Bhubaneswar, capital of the state.
Naveen said having a glorious maritime history and with a resurgent economy in the beginning of the 21st century, India is poised to rediscover its legacy and reestablish its ancient glory. He said Odisha or the ancient Kalinga, which has a distinguished legacy of enduring commercial and cultural relationship with a vast number of countries along the RIM of Indian Ocean, could play a very significant role in this new paradigm.
The chief minister, who jointly inaugurated the conference with India's External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj
, expressed hope that Odisha can play a very significant role in this new paradigm by directing its policy framework to this region.
Naveen said the RIM nations on Indian Ocean must develop a comprehensive geo-strategic policy that promotes mutually beneficial engagements on a number of issues relating to trade, culture, security and environment.
Naveen urged the countries to develop a comprehensive geo-statistics policy, which can promote mutually beneficial programs on varied issues, including trade, culture, environment and security. "As we are culturally closure to these nations, we can do business with these nations with relative ease and address one another's concern," he said.
The Chief Minister said if the prosperous and the poor in the world have one thing in common, it is the Indian Ocean. Indian Ocean forms a critical part of every facet and particularly, geopolitics in the present situation of strife. Improving trade links along the Indian Ocean could go a long way in bridging the development gap of the world, he added.
Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister Sushama Swaraj said India was committed to maritime security, freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful commerce and peaceful settlement of disputes in the Indian Ocean region.
“We have been working with like-minded countries to preserve the integrity, inviolability and security of maritime domain which is a global commons. We are committed to maritime security, freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful commerce and peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with international law,” she said.
India, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is trying to create rapport with neighbouring Rim countries (a region comprised of countries that border the Pacific Ocean) like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh
, Maldives, and Seychelles.