The key objective of the Indian Ocean Research Group Inc. (IORG) is to initiate a policy-oriented dialogue, in the true spirit of partnership, among governments, industries, NGOs and communities, towards realizing a shared, peaceful, stable and prosperous future for the Indian Ocean region.
The Indian Ocean possesses considerable and often underrated geopolitical significance if only because of its operation as a highway. Given its relative location and the fact that it provides a relatively short and economic link between the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans, it is perhaps not surprising that, not only does the Ocean account for the transportation of the highest tonnage of commodities in the world, but that more than three-quarters of this is extra-regional trade. The uninhibited maintenance of Ocean routes and associated choke points is especially significant for the movement of commodities, especially oil, to Northeast Asia, Western Europe and North America.
The Indian Ocean is known to contain natural resources, the significance of which has yet to be fully determined. The Indian Ocean Marine Affairs Cooperation (IOMAC) grouping, for example, has already been involved for several years in issues associated with the management of the Indian Ocean tuna fishery. The exploitation of these resources, among others, in the context of the delimitation of exclusive economic zones requires careful monitoring and inter-state collaboration.
Maintaining the integrity of the regional environment is one of the most important common interests of Indian Ocean states. Monitoring and managing the environmental impacts of human activity on the Ocean is essential to the maintenance of the living resources of the Ocean, for example. Environmental security issues are extremely diverse, ranging from, for example, an industrial partner's need to secure access to resources for investment purposes, to a specific community's need to secure access to healthy and sustainable sources of food, water and shelter. Fostering inter-state cooperation in order to maximize positive management to minimize environmental insecurity is an important policy goal.
For the maintenance of the peace and stability of the Indian Ocean Region, it is of the utmost importance that regional, coastal, island, and landlocked states become aware of the geopolitical orientations of one another and of Indian Ocean neighbours. The description, collation and analysis of such orientations will assist greatly in the maximization of regional transparency regarding regional state goals and intentions.