Naval Liaisons at RMIFC and EMASOH
After joining the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) as Observer in March, India is looking to post Navy Liaison Officers at the Regional Maritime Information Fusion Centre (RMIFC) in Madagascar and also at the European maritime surveillance initiative in the Strait of Hormuz (EMASOH) for improved Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA).
What is RMFIC?
- The RMFIC functions under the aegis of the IOC, of which India became an Observer in March 2020 along with Japan and the United Nations.
What is EMASOH?
- The EMASOH headquarters is composed of Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and French officers and based at the French naval base in Abu Dhabi. The aim is “to monitor maritime activity and guarantee freedom of navigation in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.
Indian Ocean Commission
- Founded in 1982, the IOC is an intergovernmental organisation comprising five small-island states in the Western Indian Ocean: the Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Réunion (a French department), and Seychelles.
- It was institutionalised in 1984 by the Victoria Agreement in Seychelles.
- Over the years, the IOC has emerged as an active and trusted regional actor, working in and for the Western Indian Ocean and implementing a range of projects.
- The IOC granted observer status to India on March 6 at the Commission’s 34th Council of Ministers.
India’s engagement with IOC
- More recently, the IOC has demonstrated leadership in the maritime security domain. Since maritime security is a prominent feature of India’s relations with Indian Ocean littoral states, India’s interest in the IOC should be understood in this context.
- India has preferred to engage bilaterally with smaller states in the region. What India will not find in the IOC is a cluster of small states seeking a ‘big brother’ partnership.