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Background

The Indian Ocean Research Group (IORG) is a social science policy-oriented research network. It was formed as the outcome of lengthy discussions between Professor Sanjay Chaturvedi, Panjab University, Chandigarh and Professor Dennis Rumley, University of Western Australia.

Both Chaturvedi and Rumley recognized the relevance of maintaining an active academic group in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and appreciated the excellent efforts of Professor Ken MacPherson and others who were instrumental in the development of such an important initiative. However, they felt that one of the major shortcomings of earlier attempts to sustain a regional academic group was that they tended to be focused on one 'pillar' (Australia) and that there was a need to develop a newnetworkbuilt initially at least on two 'pillars' (India and Australia).

Their concept was that Chandigarh and Perth would be the initial nodes for the construction of a regional academic network and that subsequent meetings of the Group would take place at different Centres and Institutes at locations around the IOR and that these would then be added to the emerging network.

Chaturvedi and Rumley then set about identifying social science scholars around and outside of the IOR who would be willing to engage in this endeavour and IORG was launched in Chandigarh in November 2002. The launch received strong support from both the Indian and Australian governments and also from several business organizations, especially BHP-Billiton.

Principles

With Complementarity, Cooperation and Collaboration as its key guiding principles, the IORG aims at developing a revamped Indian Ocean academic network built on at least two pillars - Panjab University in Chandigarh and the University of Western Australia in Perth. Even though these institutions are two key building blocks, we should especially emphasise the inclusivity of the IORG. As time goes by, IORG Inc is hopeful of an increasing representation of researchers from all Indian Ocean states and from other Indian and Australian institutions.

Objectives

The key objective of the Indian Ocean Research Group (IORG) is to initiate a policy-oriented dialogue, in the true spirit of partnership, among academics, governments, industries, NGOs and communities, towards realizing a shared, peaceful, stable and prosperous future for the Indian Ocean region.

The Indian Ocean possesses considerable and often underrated geopolitical significance if only because of its operation as a highway. Given its relative location and the fact that it provides a relatively short and economic link between the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans, it is perhaps not surprising that, not only does the Ocean account for the transportation of the highest tonnage of commodities in the world, but that more than three-quarters of this is extra-regional trade. The uninhibited maintenance of Ocean routes and associated choke points is especially significant for the movement of commodities, especially oil, to Northeast Asia, Western Europe and North America.

The Indian Ocean is known to contain natural resources, the significance of which has yet to be fully determined. The Indian Ocean Marine Affairs Cooperation (IOMAC) grouping, for example, has already been involved for several years in issues associated with the management of the Indian Ocean tuna fishery. The exploitation of these resources, among others, in the context of the delimitation of exclusive economic zones requires careful monitoring and inter-state collaboration.

Maintaining the integrity of the regional environment is one of the most important common interests of Indian Ocean states. Monitoring and managing the environmental impacts of human activity on the Ocean is essential to the maintenance of the living resources of the Ocean, for example. Environmental security issues are extremely diverse, ranging from, for example, an industrial partner's need to secure access to resources for investment purposes, to a specific community's need to secure access to healthy and sustainable sources of food, water and shelter. Fostering inter-state cooperation in order to maximize positive management to minimize environmental insecurity and climate change related risks is an important policy goal.

For the maintenance of the peace and stability of the Indian Ocean Region, it is of the utmost importance that regional, coastal, island, and landlocked states become aware of the geopolitical orientations of one another and of Indian Ocean neighbours. The description, collation and analysis of such orientations will assist greatly in the maximization of regional transparency regarding regional state goals and intentions.

Major Indian Ocean issues such as regional geopolitics, resource exploitation, sharing and conservation, maritime jurisdiction, coastal management, ocean laws, maritime security, underdevelopment, the problems of small island states, human and environmental security, climate change, regional trade and cooperation, interstate relations and non-traditional security threats thus constitute the substantive but not necessarily exclusive domain of IORG research.

Overall, IORG Inc seeks:

  •  To encourage researchon geopolitical, economic, socio-cultural, environmental, scientific and technological issues relevant to the Indian Ocean Region
  • To promote dialogueon the peaceful uses and ecologically sustainable development of maritime resources based on the principle of Common Heritage
  • To foster interstate cooperationin the sustainable management of ocean resources and the peaceful resolution of maritime disputes
  • To ensure a holistic discourseon the human and environmental security of the Region among its states, peoples and communities
  • To contribute to an understandingof the causes as well as the effects of a wide range of non-traditional Regional security threats
  • To facilitate information flow and discussionon international maritime regimes and the rights of states and local communities representing the Indian Ocean Region
  • To initiate informed policy debateamong governments, NGOs, business groups, academics and other stakeholders in the Indian Ocean Region on issues of common concern

 

Charter

The Indian Ocean Research Group (IORG) was Incorporated in the State of Western Australia on 22 June 2007 under the Western AustraliaAssociations Incorporation Act 1987(see attachment - IORG Charter - "Rules of Association").

Structure

Under the legally constituted "Rules of Association", IORG Inc has a Committee of Management (COM) of six members who currently are:

Chairperson          Professor Dennis Rumley, University of Western Australia       

email: rumley8@gmail.com

Vice-Chairperson Professor Sanjay Chaturvedi, Panjab University, India             

email: csgiorg@gmail.com

Secretary                               Professor Christian Bouchard, Laurentian University, Canada

email: cbouchard@laurentian.ca

Treasurer                               Professor Vivian Louis Forbes, Curtin University, Australia      

email: vforbes@library.uwa.edu.au

Member                 Professor Timothy Doyle, Keele University, UK and Adelaide University, Australia                                             email: t.j.doyle@pol.keele.ac.uk

Member                  Professor P V Rao, Osmania University, India                                      

                               email: pvraoj@yahoo.com

 

Membership of IORG Inc is open to all academics, policy-makers and others who have a research and policy interest in the aims and objectives of the Group.

 

IORG Inc is also legally obliged to hold Annual General Meetings, the first of which was held in Hyderabad in November 2008.

Other Information

IORG Inc has sponsored meetings at several locations around the Indian Ocean Region - India 2002, Iran 2004, Malaysia 2005, Oman 2007, Australia 2009 and India 2009. More regional meetings are planned.
 
Web site - IORG Inc has a web site that is managed at Panjab University. It is: http://www.iorgroup.org
 
Logo and Letterhead - IORG Inc has a logo and a letterhead (see attachment)

Downloads

Books - several books have been published under the auspices of IORG Inc:

  • Geopolitical Orientations, Regionalism and Security in the Indian Ocean(South Asian Publishers, 2004), co-edited by Dennis Rumley and Sanjay Chaturvedi;
  • Energy Security and the Indian Ocean Region(South Asian Publishers, 2005), co-edited by Dennis Rumley and Sanjay Chaturvedi;
  • The Security of Sea Lanes of Communication in the Indian Ocean Region(Maritime Institute of Malaysia, 2007), co-edited by Dennis Rumley, Sanjay Chaturvedi and Mat Taib;
  • Crucible for Survival: Environmental Security and Justice in the Indian Ocean Region(Rutgers University Press, 2008), edited by Timothy Doyle and Melissa Riseley;
  • Fisheries Exploitation in the Indian Ocean Region: Threats and Opportunities(ISEAS, forthcoming 2009), co-edited by Dennis Rumley, Sanjay Chaturvedi and Vijay Sakhuja.


New Journal
- In June 2010, IORG Inc will launch its international flagship journal, Journal of the Indian Ocean Region (JIOR) to be published by Routledge. The JIOR web site is: http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/rior