Mumbai Wednesday, 4 Nov 2020: The Indian Navy represented by Western Naval Command (WNC) in collaboration with Indian Maritime Foundation (IMF), Pune and Nautical Institute (NI), India (West) conducted a daylong Maritime Webinar on 04 November 2020 as a ‘Curtain Raiser’ to Navy Week 2020.
The topic of the webinar was ‘Enhancing Maritime Consciousness for Sea Power’, to promote maritime awareness in the country and to foster cooperation between seafaring communities. The event was attended by more than 300 participants from Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard, Merchant Marine, maritime academics, administrative services, defence experts from media and those from the maritime industry.
The webinar had six sessions, which included one opening session and three technical sessions, one special Session and a closing Session.
The Keynote address was delivered by Vice Admiral RB Pandit, AVSM, Chief of Staff, WNC in which he highlighted the rich maritime tradition of India and the need for transition from land centric approach to maritime one especially given imperatives of a ‘Blue Economy’.
He stressed that for a maritime nation like India, oceans and seas hold the key to its prosperity be it economically, culturally, or politically. He also brought out the need for all the stakeholders in the Maritime Domain to critically evaluate how we can build equities in the post Covid era of tightened budgets.
Captain Anand Dixit, President of the IMF, in his opening address elaborated on interpretation of ‘Maritime Consciousness’ and its relevance to Sea Power with particular reference to maritime capabilities of other nations. He also spoke about the changes that are needed to be brought for revamping/ building Indian Mercantile capabilities.
Captain Kapildev Bahl, Chairman of the Nautical Institute (West) delivered the inaugural address in which he highlighted that the NI(India) believes that in Merchant Marine context, developing the key sectors consisting of the Offshore Industry, Coastal Sea-Trade, Port Infrastructure, Ship Building, Ship Repair facilities, Indian Flag Tonnage, Liability Insurance as well as Maritime Legislation and Policy Framework; tends to enhance the sea-power of a nation and these may be used a roadmap by India.
RAdm Nick Lambert (Retd), from the United Kingdom, brought out the current issues and challenges faced by the UK with respect to all aspects of maritime consciousness in the UK in a special session.
The sessions covering the Practitioners’ Perspective highlighted the perspective of the various stakeholders including the Indian Navy, Coast Guard, Maritime Academia, Offshore Industry and Merchant Marine. The entire gamut of policy and management issues were discussed threadbare in the second session attended by various practitioners, academicians, and policy experts on issues maritime.
Ways, means and ends towards spreading maritime consciousness were also discussed by an esteemed panel which included members from the academia, practitioners and media.
The valedictory address was delivered by RAdm G Srinivasan, the Director General of Naval Projects (Mumbai), following a summing up by the Director of Maritime Warfare Centre, Mumbai.
The webinar brought out the need for greater interoperability and jointmanship between various stakeholders and highlighted the requirement for greater thrust in terms of policy directives from the policy makers to spread maritime consciousness.
The key objective of the seminar was studying challenges of enabling maritime awareness in India, within what is perceived to be a predominantly continental milieu, while also evaluating means of enhancing maritime consciousness.
Topics for specific lectures dealt with the outlook of various stakeholders, policy issues and the means and challenges in spreading maritime awareness/ consciousness in various forms of communication media, through museums, outreach programmes and such like.
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