India wins IMO council elections; secures seat under Category B

Indian bureaucracy successfully secured a seat under Category B of International Maritime Organisation (IMO) after elections for the same were conducted in London on Friday.

The results, which were announced on late Friday night, showed that India received “second highest vote”, receiving 144 votes of member countries.

“India won seat under Category B of IMO council with second highest vote margin and securing 144 votes,” said a statement by the Ministry of Shipping.

The highest votes were received by Germany (146), followed by India (144), Australia (143), France (140), Canada (138), Spain (137), Brazil (131), Sweden (129), Netherlands (124) and UAE (124).

India has been a member of IMO since its inception in 1959, except 1983-43, and has sanctioned required agreements related to environmental pollution, maritime safety, labour conventions. It was, however, contesting elections after “some notorious neighbours” pushed for membership of other countries.

“India, though, has been a part of IMO… But first time we had to contest elections because China began pushing for other countries including Pakistan,” a senior official from the Shipping Ministry told Moneycontrol requesting anonymity. He added, “… It was just conducted because of the issues raised by another notorious neighbour of ours”.

Headquartered in London, IMO is a specialised agency of the United Nations, ensuring development and maintenance of a regulatory framework for shipping. It regulates safety measures, environmental concerns, legal troubles and maritime security among other issues.

While Indian bureaucracy was hoping for an up gradation to Category A on the back of the ministry’s flagship programme, Sagarmala, it got re-elected to Category B.

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Category A has countries providing international shipping services and includes China, Greece, Italy, Japan, Norway, Panama, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, the UK and the US. Category B, on the other hand, has developing countries with “seaborne” interest, including Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden. Category C has 20 countries with special interest in maritime transportation.

Union Minister for Shipping, Nitin Gadkari, was in London especially for the council elections to showcase India’s maritime prowess.

“Our Minister has gone there… We have had stakeholder meetings… Our ministry and related organisations have sent soft copies, of steps taken by us, to them (IMO),” Abhishek Chandra, deputy secretary, Ministry of Shipping told Moneycontrol .

“India had been meeting with various delegations for past two months because we knew this was going to happen… India’s representation was received very well because of the high power delegation…”

India’s presentation at IMO focused on the 7,500 kilometre long coastline, 12 major and over 200 minor ports, 111 national waterways, 1.07 billion tonne of export-import cargo through maritime transport and Sagarmala programme with estimated investment of USD 100 billion by 2025 for port development and port modernisation.


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