White Shipping Information Exchange Agreement

This information was provided by minister of state for navigation Shri Pon. Radhakrishnan in a written response to a question in Lok Sabha today. In 2014, the government approved the proposal for bilateral and multilateral agreements on the exchange of white maritime information with Navies, coastguard and maritime security agencies from 26 countries and 3 multinational groups. These agreements, which allow the exchange of unclassified information, are not in themselves security pacts, but would contribute to increasing existing maritime development capabilities (MDA) and thus improving maritime security. So far, agreements have been implemented with three countries and signed with three other countries. India has signed an agreement to join the Trans Regional Maritime Network (NMR) which aims to exchange information on transport on the high seas. Commodore K.M. Ramakrishnan signed the agreement on behalf of the navy on Monday at the Italian navy headquarters in Rome, the navy said on Twitter. The transnational nature of the maritime zone ensures unfettered movement across the seas. The Indian Ocean region (IOC) accounts for 66% of the world`s oil, 33% of bulk goods and 50% of container transport with more than 100,000 ships transiting through the country each year. This is why situational awareness in the Indian Ocean region is important for the well-being of many countries.

However, given the large amount of commercial shipping traversed by the IOC and the multinational nature of world trade, it is not possible for a single nation to monitor the oceans individually, which requires cooperation between countries. These include bilateral information exchange agreements. Aman Saberwal replies: White Shipping Information refers to the exchange of relevant prior information on the identity and movement of non-military merchant commercial vessels. India has signed white maritime agreements with several countries, including the United States and Singapore, and is working to reach a similar agreement with more countries as part of its ongoing efforts to develop an effective regional MDA. The Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR), which will begin on December 21, 18 in Gurugram, will allow the Indian Navy to interact with various multinational constructions and international and national agencies for information on white shipping. The data collected will significantly improve awareness of the state of commercial shipping within the IOC. The Centre will also facilitate the dissemination of analysed maritime safety and security information to partner states, structures and agencies. These multilateral agreements are necessary because of the heavy traffic in the Indian Ocean, which cannot be totally controlled by any nation. The Indian Navy`s mission is to conclude White Shipping`s information-sharing agreements with 36 countries and three multinational constructions. To date, they have been signed with 19 countries and a multinational construction and data exchange with 12 countries are already underway. „The Indian navy is responsible for concluding white maritime information exchange agreements with 36 countries and three multinational constructions,“ said an official source.

To date, 19 agreements have been signed, 12 of which have come into force. India has also established an extensive network of coastal chain radars that track maritime and ocean traffic. White navigation involves the exchange and exchange of prior information on non-military merchant ships related to identity and ships. There is a specific color code for ships. white is the color code for merchant ships, gray is the color for military ships and illegal ships are coded as black. The agreement provides for the reciprocal exchange of data on white ships. The Indian Navy`s Centre for Information Management and Analysis (Gurgaon) is the model centre for white maritime agreements. As the whole world is connected by the ocean, this is a security threat because everyone can move from one place to another.