The recent decade witnessed an expeditious shift in maritime security affairs. The nature of issues that centers the maritime space continues to present complex and complicated challenges that require lasting solutions. Effective implementation of viable solutions becomes critical in primarily protecting the maritime trade and energy transportation among many other facets. Disturbing the above and endangering the ocean environment has the potential to destabilize regional security, stability, and global equilibrium. Therefore, finding solutions to regional maritime security issues through existing and future initiatives is seen as a necessity in ensuring global stability and prosperity.
A range of countermeasures and maritime security initiatives have been put in place to address regional and global maritime security challenges. Most of the existing initiatives are region-specific and focus on a broader spectrum of maritime security threats. Failure to address these emerging threats in one region has the potential to cause significant impacts on another, and this is where the role of regional maritime security initiatives becomes critical. Some initiatives have gained less prominence and some have dissipated due to the diluting nature of maritime security threats and challenges. While some of the initiatives have produced desired results, others have wrestled to deliver to the full potential due to a range of issues.
The seamless nature of the maritime space and the interconnectedness of maritime security issues act as a conduit for region-specific maritime security threats to navigate from one region to another. Many lightly governed maritime spaces offer an opportunity for illegal actors due to the capability and capacity limitations. Further, the challenges presented by pandemics such as the COVID-19 have brought to light the importance of re-charting the maritime sphere to minimize the impact on maritime trade, operational momentum of navies, and maritime law enforcement agencies.
Despite these inherent challenges in the maritime security domain, it is evident that many regional, and global players, lack the potential to guarantee global security and stability in isolation. The complicated nature of maritime security demands strong regional initiatives capable of finding durable solutions. Current trends in the maritime domain, therefore, require all regional players, big and small, to have in place effective maritime security initiatives closely knitted with the rest. Even though forming unified global maritime security architecture is seen as a herculean task, implementation, and interlinking effective regional maritime security initiatives have the potential to change the tide in our favour, as the ocean is seen as our future as well as the ultimate frontier.
It is in the above context that this year’s theme ‘Regional Maritime Security Initiatives for Global Stability and Shared Prosperity’ has been articulated to moot and discuss key issues in the existing regional maritime security initiatives and to formulate a structure capable of strategizing the future to preserve global equilibrium and prosperity.