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Underwater Domain Awareness (UDA) Framework for Effective Forensic against Marine & Maritime Crime Investigation in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR)

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The Indo-Pacific region is gaining significant geopolitical relevance in the 21st century, with more & more global powers maintaining their strategic presence in the region. There is political, economic, military and physical dynamics to this geostrategic upsurge and needs to be understood in a comprehensive manner. Geographically, the entire Indo-Pacific region is spread across the tropical waters of the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. The tropical waters present some unique challenges and opportunities, in terms of the undersea resource management and the strategic security framework. The presence of the non-state actors and their deep and seamless connect with the state instruments for projection of state power, is a major cause of concern. The rising marine and maritime crime in the Indo-Pacific region cannot be dealt with using the conventional means. The Indo part of the Indo-Pacific needs focus particularly from the geostrategic perspective in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). The effective maritime governance mechanism, will require substantial domain awareness to bring transparency to the entire effort of marine and maritime crime investigation. The Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) has been a term, used often to describe the much required domain awareness in the maritime region. The IndoPacific strategic space being a maritime construct will require significant MDA initiative to ensure effective maritime governance. The conventional MDA, somehow failed to be inclusive and bring all the stakeholders on-board. The developing world could not come on-board the MDA initiative led by the US post 9/11. Even in India as well, post the 26/11, although the MDA became a buzz word, but could not comprehensively address the concerns of the stakeholders. The underwater component of the MDA has been a gap, as the unique Science & Technology (S&T) challenges of the tropical littoral waters require massive local site specific R&D. The indigenous R&D is highly resource intensive and the developing nations in the region are unable to prioritize S&T budget allocation politically. The Underwater Domain Awareness (UDA) Framework proposed by the Maritime Research Centre (MRC), can comprehensively manage the challenges and opportunities of the tropical littoral waters of the IOR. The UDA framework encourages, pooling of resources and synergising of efforts across the stakeholders to allow a safe, secure, sustainable growth model for all. Such initiative will also address the concerns of the fragmentation among the stakeholders within the nations and the region and will possibly minimize the interference by the extra-regional powers. The proposed UDA framework ensures policy & technology interventions along with the much needed acoustic capacity & capability building. A structured approach will allow enhanced marine and maritime crime investigation for enhanced forensics in the politically volatile IOR. Digital Oceans, backed by the UDA framework could be critical.

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    The Maritime Research Center (MRC), Pune is a not-for-profit, Section 8 company registered with the Registrar of Companies (RoC), as Foundation for Underwater Domain Awareness.

    Contact Information

    Address: Maritime Research Center, Koregaon Bhima, Pune, Maharashtra – 412216
    Email: director@maritimeresearchcenter.com

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    The conventional approach of each of the stakeholders pursuing their own UDA* efforts has serious limitations given the highly resource intensive field experimental research initiative required for a long period. Click here for more