Indian Navy chief Admiral R Hari Kumar on Thursday said that the future of the maritime environment will be equally or maybe even more challenging than today and called on navies of different countries to work together to build trust, inoperability, domain awareness, and security.

Speaking at the 7th International Maritime Security Conference, Admiral Kumar said that the maritime challenges and threats are transnational, adding that “cooperation and collaboration are key enablers for all of us to work together in the maritime domain.” He called on navies to work for trust, inoperability, domain awareness, engagement and security.

The two-day conference is being held at the IMDEX ASIA by the Republic of Singapore Navy and Singapore think tank S Rajaratnam School of International Studies.

“(But) many of us are already working in tandem through various mechanisms that involve operations,” Admiral Kumar said, listing out cooperations and collaborations through bilateral and multilateral naval exercises, the latest and large-scale being the ASEAN-India Maritime Exercise that is currently underway (May 2-8).

The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) and the Indian Navy (IN) are co-hosting the inaugural AIME.

Admiral Kumar also listed QUAD – a four-country grouping and exercise in the Indo-Pacific for economic regional prosperity. QUAD involves countries India, Japan, Australia and the United States.

He further highlighted the example of how India and Bangladesh settled their maritime differences through arbitration.

Answering a question from the delegates, the Admiral underlined the need to follow United Nations set law for the maritime sector, UNCLOS.

Navy chiefs, directors-general of coast guards and heads of maritime law enforcement agencies from 38 countries are in Singapore for the IMDEX 2023.

More than 11,000 delegates from over 60 countries and regions, and over 250 participating companies from 25 countries and regions are at the IMDEX being held from May 3-5 at the Singapore Changi Exhibition Centre.