• India
  • May 13

Explainer / India’s SAGAR policy

Responding to their requests for assistance in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indian government has sent INS Kesari to Maldives, Mauritius, Madagascar, Comoros and Seychelles, carrying on board two medical assistance teams, consignments of medicines and food items.

The ship has been sent under India’s ‘Mission Sagar’ launched to help the friendly countries deal with the pandemic. 

In line with its time-tested role as the first responder in the region, India has already supported the efforts of the governments of Maldives, Sri Lanka, Mauritius and Seychelles by providing them consignments of COVID-19 related essential medicines. 

‘Mission Sagar’ is inspired by PM Modi’s vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR).

What is SAGAR policy?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi introduced the concept of SAGAR — ‘Security and Growth for All in the Region’ during his visit to Mauritius in March 2015.

It is a high-level articulation of India’s vision for the Indian Ocean. SAGAR has distinct but inter-related elements and underscores India’s engagement in the Indian Ocean. 

The principles enshrined in SAGAR provide a coherent framework to address some of  the challenges related to economic revival, connectivity, security, culture and identity. 

During his address in Maldives Parliament in June 2019, Modi said SAGAR is also a blueprint for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.  

Key features of SAGAR

It enhances capacities to safeguard land and maritime territories and interests. 

Deepening economic and security cooperation in the littoral.

Promoting collective action to deal with natural disasters and maritime threats like piracy, terrorism and emergent non-state actors.

Working towards sustainable regional development through enhanced collaboration.

Engaging with countries beyond shores with the aim of building greater trust and promoting respect for maritime rules, norms and peaceful resolution of disputes.

The ‘Blue Economy’ has emerged as a promising new pillar of prosperity in the region, with immense economic and employment potential. India is engaging with its neighbours in Blue Economy initiatives, particularly in the areas of marine bio-technology, exploration and sustainable exploitation of ocean mineral resources, sustainable fishing practices, and harnessing of ocean energy.

According to the government, India remains committed to extending port connectivity among the littoral states of the Indian Ocean and beyond. This is the objective behind the Sagarmala initiative, which aims to establish new ports and modernise old ones.

Challenges for SAGAR

The main challenge is to ensure intra-ocean trade and investment, and the sustainable harnessing of the wealth of the seas, including food, medicines and clean energy.

Security is fundamental to the SAGAR vision. If the revitalised maritime economy of the Indian Ocean region is to be a force for global economic growth, it is essential that the waters remain peaceful, stable and secure.

The waters must not only be better connected but they should remain free from non-traditional and traditional threats that could impede the seamless movement of goods, people and ideas.

The Indian Ocean is prone to non-traditional security threats like piracy, smuggling, maritime terrorism, illegal fishing, and trafficking of humans and narcotics.

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