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US reaffirms pledges of cooperation with IORA countries

Published : 31 May 2023 08:53 PM

The United States has reaffirmed its commitment to expanding collaboration with the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) on key priorities.

Climate crisis; support for a sustainable blue economy; global health; and maritime security as among the priorities that the US and IORA address together as part of key global challenges.

Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Richard Verma met with Secretary General of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Salman Al Farisi in Mauritius on Tuesday.

Deputy Secretary Verma thanked Secretary General Al Farisi for ongoing engagement between the United States and IORA and underscored the importance of IORA’s role as a valued partner in the Indian Ocean Region.

Deputy Secretary Verma also shared plans, worked out with Congress, to spend $6 million for 

maritime security cooperation with IORA member states Bangladesh, Maldives, Sri Lanka, and India to boost interdiction and law enforcement capacity in the South Asian sub-region of the Indian Ocean, said Spokesperson Matthew Miller.

Deputy Secretary Verma and Secretary General Al Farisi also discussed, and agreed to further explore, the possibility of providing U.S. technical support to the organization, he said.

US Commitment to Indian Ocean Region

The Indian Ocean Region is home to 2.7 billion people—more than a third of the world’s population—and connects people and economies across the globe.

Its vast coastline includes some of the world’s most important shipping lanes—from the Strait of Hormuz to the Malacca Strait.

Eighty percent of the world’s maritime oil shipments traverse Indian Ocean waters, and the region encompasses many of the world’s most vital fisheries.

In FY 2021 and FY 2022, the Administration announced plans to invest more than $800 million, working with Congress, to help IOR countries address key challenges including climate change, maritime security, and food security, according to US Department of State.

In FY 2022 alone, the Administration announced plans to provide more than $2.2 billion, working with Congress, for global health programs across the region, including responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and other long-standing commitments to address global health concerns across the IOR.

"We will continue to deepen our engagement across the region and enhance our work alongside partners to address these challenges and help ensure economic stability and human prosperity across the IOR," said the Spokesperson.