Ministry of Home Affairs

Rashtriya Raksha University and The International Committee of The Red Cross (ICRC) Extends the Partnership in the domain of International Humanitarian Law, 29th-30th November, 2023

Posted On: 30 NOV 2023 12:59PM by PIB Ahmedabad

Rashtriya Raksha University (RRU), through its School of Integrated Coastal and Maritime Security Studies (SICMSS), and The International Committee of The Red Cross (ICRC), jointly organized the “International Symposium on Maritime Operations and Humanitarian Considerations on the 29th of November 2023. The aim is to discuss the current scenario in the domain of maritime operations, naval warfare, and international humanitarian law. The event witnessed the extension of the previous fruitful Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Rashtriya Raksha University (RRU) and The International Committee of The Red Cross (ICRC).

Prof. Bimal N. Patel, the Vice-Chancellor of Rashtriya Raksha University, declared the year 2023 as a pivotal milestone for India in the maritime realm. It is marked by remarkable advancements in operational prowess, humanitarian endeavours, and upholding international legal frameworks. With a rich history of exploration and trade, he emphasized that today, India is poised to become one of the top five ship-building nations in the world. The mantra is 'Make in India, Make for the World,' and there is a concerted effort to bring together the shipbuilders of the world through the development of maritime clusters. Prof. Patel underscored the importance of implementing international humanitarian law and the development of rules and regulations of engagement between nations, safeguarding, protecting, and promoting the safety and security of civilians in the new age of naval operations, technology advancements (Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning), and its impact on climate change. He also applauded the continuous effort of the RRU-ICRC collaboration, highlighting the number of participants (800+) trained under various certificate courses, training programs, and workshops from 20+ countries.

Mr. Kedir Awol Omar, the head of the regional delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), emphasized the importance of current maritime operations issues. He highlighted the economic significance of global shipping by emphasizing the potential of oceans for economic growth through offshore resources such as renewable energy and seabed mining. Furthermore, he addressed that the right to free navigation is critical, but rising rivalry for sea-based resources raises the possibility of armed conflict, exacerbated by climate change concerns and the vulnerability of migrants attempting perilous maritime crossings. He made the point by accentuating the need to address the humanitarian law enforcement difficulties faced by possible maritime conflicts and argued that collaborative meetings, regularly organized by Prof. Patel, paved the way for collective knowledge and mitigation measures. He applauded the continuous efforts between bodies such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Rashtriya Raksha University in organizing conferences and workshops, demonstrating their commitment to working closely together on these issues.

Hon’ble Justice S. Ravindra Bhat (Retd.), a Former Supreme Court Judge, highlighted the lack of attention paid to maritime security issues, citing threats such as piracy, armed robbery, migration, and human trafficking. He underlined the evolving role of naval forces in armed situations, exploring instances from Afghanistan, Lebanon, Libya, Ukraine, and Syria. Further, the discussion focused on humanitarian issues, underlining the inadequacies in defending civilians in naval warfare. The discourse expanded to the Indo-Pacific region, emphasizing its strategic importance and vulnerability to climate change. He suggested that climate security be recognized as an essential component of regional security policies and national security, with countries such as Japan and South Korea viewing it as an existential threat. Lastly, he appreciated the symposium's collaborative space for addressing deficiencies in the law of naval warfare and wished the conference great success.

Amb. Anupam Ray, Permanent Representative of India to the Conference on Disarmament, highlighted that humanitarianism is a religion and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is its guardian. He emphasized how, in the past, Indian Vedic literature discussed the principles of humanitarianism. This has been evident in the way India has engaged in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) activities in the Indo-Pacific region. He underscored the cooperation that India has successfully developed through IFC-IOR in Gurugram, which has become a model for an information-sharing centre in neighbouring countries. He applauded the efforts of Prof. Bimal N Patel and the ICRC for their continuous endeavours in addressing issues related to the maritime domain and international law, all while upholding the values of humanitarian principles.

Mr. Sushil Goswami, Director – SICMSS and the University Dean I/C, highlighted the initiative undertaken by the RRU-ICRC and the impact that the university has created by disseminating and developing scholarship in the domain of international humanitarian law. He expressed gratitude to the Guest of Honour, Mr. Kedir Awol Omar, Chief Guest, Hon’ble Justice Ravindra Bhat, Supreme Court (Retd.), and to the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. (Dr.) Bimal N. Patel, for always being a guiding light and support.

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