Gandhinagar: When peace and security of any region is threatened, the entire world feels its impact in multiple ways, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Wednesday in Gandhinagar.

He was addressing Indian Ocean Region (IOR) nation during an event organised on the sidelines of DefExpo 2022.

The event was attended by Defence Ministers of several countries.

He added that the recent Ukrainian conflict showed how its ripple effects could adversely impact the energy and food security of the most vulnerable countries.

"We reject the pretensions of moral superiority in international relations. Rather, we believe in a global order based on mutual respect and the benefit of every country, big or small. We do not subscribe to the Zero-sum paradigm of strategic competition," he said.

"We believe in a win-win paradigm of international relations. India looks forward to working with the representatives of government, business and academia of our partner countries, for promoting cooperation and closer interaction among the nations, seeking peace and stability of IOR," he said.

He added that the Indian Ocean, too, connects us all in the form of a comity of nations with shared interests. Therefore, India is willing to work with all the stakeholders to ensure a rules-based maritime order, to the benefit of one and all in the region.

It is generally understood that oceans separate countries, but if we look at it a little differently, oceans connect us in myriad ways, trade is an important one, he said.

The Indian Ocean is the only ocean that gets its name from a country. This fact is not only a matter of great pride for us, but we also feel a great sense of responsibility towards it, he said.

Less than a hundred kilometres from here, is the site of the ancient city, Lothal, which was one of the main sites of the ancient Indus Valley civilisation. It was one of the major ports for sea trade in the Indian Ocean and had one of the world's first docks, he said.

He added that with half the world's container shipment, one-third of its bulk cargo traffic and two-thirds of oil shipments being carried across it, the Indian Ocean Region clearly assumes a very important place in our international affairs.

Illegal, Unreported & Unregulated fishing (IUU) is another challenge on which we need to collaborate upon.IUU fishing threatens ocean ecosystems and sustainable fishery. It also threatens our economic security and natural resources that are critical to regional & global food security, he said.

"We have taken the initiative to develop a comprehensive Maritime Domain Awareness in the IOR, which has resulted in the signing of Technical Agreements for sharing of 'White Shipping Information' with many countries. We look forward to more partners in this initiative," he said.

Terrorism, exported, supported or coordinated through maritime routes, remains a major concern. India continues to guard against the spread of terrorism by sea routes, he added.

With the right policies and framework, India is poised to be a global R&D hub.

"Our Startup ecosystem, particularly in the defence sector, is one of the world's biggest and is playing a significant role in crafting a self-reliant India," Singh said.

"We take pride in the fact that India has been the first responder in a large number of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) requirements in the region in the past many years," he said.

"We have been engaging with navies in the region and will continue our engagement. We wish to move ahead from 'Sailing together', to 'Operating together', in order to meet the challenges in the future," he added. (ANI)