- The Navy will formally inaugurate the Information Fusion Centre (IFC) for the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) later this week.
About the Centre:
- Through this Centre, information on “white shipping”, or commercial shipping, will be exchanged with countries in the region to improve maritime domain awareness in the Indian Ocean.
- The IFC-IOR is established with the vision of strengthening maritime security in the region and beyond, by building a common coherent maritime situation picture and acting as a maritime information hub for the region.
About Information Fusion Centre:
- The IFC has been established at the Navy’s Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) in Gurugram, which is the single point centre linking all the coastal radar chains to generate a seamless real-time picture of the nearly 7,500-km coastline.
- All countries that have already signed white shipping information exchange agreements with us, about 21 of them, are IFC partners,
- With the launch of the IFC, they now have the option of positioning liaison officers at the IFC for which we need to build up requisite infrastructure too. So we now start with their ‘virtual presence.
- Additionally, the Centre would undertake conduct of exercises and training capsules in maritime information collection and sharing.
- Establishment of the IFR-IRO would ensure that the entire region is benefited by mutual collaboration and exchange of information and understanding the concerns and threats which are prevalent in the region.
About Trans Regional Maritime Network (T-RMN);
- In a related development, India has signed the ascension agreement to the Trans Regional Maritime Network (T-RMN) which facilitates information exchange on the movement of commercial traffic on the high seas. The multilateral construct comprises of 30 countries and is steered by Italy.
Automatic Identification System:
- The information is available primarily through the Automatic Identification System (AIS) fitted on merchant ships with more than 300 gross registered tonnage as mandated by the International Maritime Organisation. The AIS information comprises 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.
- “The Indian Navy is mandated to conclude white shipping information exchange agreements with 36 countries and three multi-national constructs,” the official added. Such multilateral agreements are necessitated due to the large traffic in the Indian Ocean which cannot be entirely monitored by any one nation.