• India
  • May 25

Quad unveils Indo-Pacific Maritime Domain Awareness (IPMDA)

The Quad leaders launched a new initiative for the Indo-Pacific that allows the partner countries to fully monitor the regional waters and announced over $50 billion of infrastructure assistance for the region over the next five years.

The announcement on the rollout of the Indo-Pacific Maritime Domain Awareness (IPMDA) and the funding assistance came at the second in-person Quad summit in Tokyo on May 24.

PM Narendra Modi, US President Joe Biden, Japanese PM Fumio Kishida and Australian PM Anthony Albanese participated in the Quad leaders’ summit.

What is Quad?

• The Quad, or the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, is an informal grouping of four countries — Australia, India, Japan and the United States. 

• Established in the wake of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami to coordinate humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, the Quad has since become a leading regional partnership dedicated to advancing a common vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific through practical cooperation on diverse 21st-century challenges. 

• The foreign ministers of the four countries held their first meeting under the Quad framework in New York in September 2019.

• The first Leaders’ Summit of the Quad was held virtually in March 2021.

• The Quad recognises that international law, peace, and security in the maritime domain underpins the development and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific. 

• The countries are determined to deepen engagement with regional partners, including through capacity-building and technical assistance, to strengthen maritime domain awareness, protect their ability to develop offshore resources, consistent with  the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

• The Quad is exchanging information on ever-evolving threats and working with Indo-Pacific countries, and in multilateral fora, to counter all forms of terrorism and violent extremism.

• Quad partners champion the free, open, and inclusive rules-based order, rooted in international law, that protects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of regional countries.

• The Quad has been focusing on cooperation in areas such as producing vaccines, connectivity projects, facilitating the mobility of students and looking at promoting startups and technology collaboration. 

Indo-Pacific Maritime Domain Awareness (IPMDA)

• The IPMDA is designed to work with regional partners to respond to humanitarian and natural disasters, and combat illegal fishing. 

• It will support and work in consultation with Indo-Pacific nations and regional information fusion centres in the Indian Ocean, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands by providing technology and training to support shared maritime domain awareness to promote stability and prosperity.

• It embodies what the Quad stands for: catalysing joint efforts towards concrete results that help to make the region more stable and prosperous.

• This initiative will transform the ability of partners in the Pacific Islands, Southeast Asia, and the Indian Ocean region to fully monitor the waters on their shores, and, in turn, uphold a free and open Indo-Pacific.

• It will offer a near-real-time, integrated, and cost-effective maritime domain awareness picture. This common operating picture will integrate three critical regions — the Pacific Islands, Southeast Asia, and the Indian Ocean region — in the Indo-Pacific. 

• The benefits of this picture are vast: it will allow tracking of “dark shipping” and other tactical-level activities, such as rendezvous at sea, as well as improve partners’ ability to respond to climate and humanitarian events and to protect their fisheries, which are vital to many Indo-Pacific economies.

• IPMDA will harness commercially-available data using existing technologies. Through a combination of Automatic Identification System and radio-frequency technologies, Quad partners can provide an unprecedented “common thread” of activities. Because of its commercial origin, this data will be unclassified, allowing the Quad to provide it to a wide range of partners who wish to benefit.

• It will extend support for information-sharing across existing regional fusion centers, such as:

i) The Information Fusion Center-Indian Ocean Region, based in India.

ii) The Information Fusion Center, based in Singapore.

iii) The Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency, based in the Solomon Islands.

iv) The Pacific Fusion Center, based in Vanuatu.

• Quad partners will begin immediate consultations on this opportunity with partners in the region. As the initiative proceeds, the Quad will identify future technologies of promise, allowing IPMDA to remain a cutting-edge partnership that promotes peace and stability throughout the region. 

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