India step-ups its maritime security efforts, inks agreement to gather information on merchant navies in international waters

India inks Ascension Agreement to the Trans Regional Maritime Network (T-RMN) with Italy. The multilateral construct comprises of 30 countries and is steered by Italy.

India already has bilateral White Shipping Agreements with 36 countries.

About the Trans Regional Maritime Network (T-RMN):

The network facilitates information exchange on the movement of commercial traffic on the high seas.

The information is available primarily through the Automatic Identification System (AIS) fitted on merchant ships with more than 300 gross registered tonnages as mandated by the International Maritime Organisation.

The AIS information comprises the name, MMSI number, position, course, speed, last port visited, destination and so on. This information can be picked up through various AIS sensors including coastal AIS chains and satellite-based receivers.

Such multilateral agreements are necessitated due to the large traffic in the Indian Ocean which cannot be entirely monitored by any one nation.

This is a significant move as it will help the Indian Navy keep a watch over the vast Indian Ocean and boost maritime security of the country. India is part of several such agreements, which help the nations to coordinate and share information to keep tabs on suspicious activities and illegal trade across the oceans.

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