Operations like these also offer a platform for capacity building

In a notable show of maritime collaboration, Indian Naval Ship (INS) Sharda was ceremoniously welcomed by the Mauritian National Coast Guard (NCG) Dornier aircraft upon its arrival in Mauritian waters.

The High Commission of India in Port Louis gave information about the ship's arrival as it shared several images on social media platform X (formerly Twitter) on Tuesday (September 12, 2023).

This venture underpins the deep-rooted naval ties between India and Mauritius and promises enhanced surveillance over the Mauritian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

As INS Sharda embarks on Phase-I of this joint surveillance endeavor, it will operate alongside Mauritian NCG ship CGS Barracuda and the Dornier aircraft. The EEZ, vital to Mauritius for its rich marine resources, becomes a focal point where the two nations unite their maritime strengths to assure safety, security, and optimal utilization.

The Indian Ocean, covering approximately 20% of the Earth's water surface, holds immense strategic and economic significance. Its waters, serving as a conduit for nearly 80% of the world’s seaborne trade in oil, accentuate its pivotal role in global commerce. With over 38 countries bordering its shores and influencing its waves, the onus of safeguarding this vital marine thoroughfare cannot rest on individual efforts but requires a symphony of coordinated collaboration

This collaboration between India and Mauritius is not a mere patrol exercise; it represents the confluence of shared interests and mutual respect. In the past, the two nations have explicitly voiced their mutual trust and emphasized on their collective intent to ensure the Indian Ocean remains peaceful, stable, and conducive for economic pursuits.

With Mauritius at a strategic juncture in the Indian Ocean, the significance of its EEZ goes beyond just its territorial waters. The region acts as a hub for global maritime trade routes and is ripe with untapped natural resources. Given these stakes, it's paramount for Mauritius to maintain a vigilant watch over its waters, ensuring both sovereignty and economic potential remain unhampered.

INS Sharda's presence and the ensuing collaboration encapsulate India's vision of "SAGAR" (Security and Growth for All in the Region). This initiative intends to ensure a collaborative and harmonized approach to maritime security in the Indian Ocean region. India promises to abide by the commitment of being a reliable partner and a supportive maritime ally with this gesture.

From a strategic viewpoint, the joint operation sets the stage for an enhanced maritime domain awareness. Both nations stand to benefit from real-time intelligence sharing, situational awareness, and coordinated responses to potential threats or anomalies in the region. Furthermore, the seamless interplay between the three naval assets will sharpen their response mechanisms, setting a precedent for future operations of this nature.

Mauritius, despite its smaller size, plays a pivotal role in regional maritime dynamics. The island nation has been an advocate for sustainable marine practices, conservation, and the judicious use of marine resources. Through this joint surveillance, Mauritius can ensure its advocacy translates into actionable measures on the ground, or in this case, over its waters.

Joint operations like these also offer a platform for capacity building. The coming together of personnel from both countries fosters an environment of mutual learning. Such engagements, beyond their immediate operational goals, contribute to the professional growth of the forces involved, nurturing a cadre of maritime experts well-versed in collaborative operations.

Officials also painted a larger picture with this gesture. Economically, the Indian Ocean region accounts for nearly 40% of the world's offshore oil production. Its sea lanes are lifelines for many nations, with approximately 100,000 vessels navigating its waters annually. Ensuring the unhindered flow of commerce in this oceanic expanse is tantamount to ensuring the economic pulse of many global economies.