India, US hold talks to protect ocean ecosystems

WASHINGTON: India and the US have held extensive talks here to protect ocean ecosystems and promote sustainable development through the 'blue economy', one of the largest bilateral diplomatic engagements in the world specifically focused on oceans.

The two sides held wide-ranging discussions yesterday on areas of cooperation in sustainable marine resource management, including the blue economy, fisheries security, and joint exploration of exclusive economic zones.

The first-ever US-India Ocean Dialogue Preparatory Meeting is part of a decision made during the first US-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue in 2015 to protect ocean ecosystems and promote sustainable development through the 'blue economy', a release said.

The American side was led by the Acting Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs Judith G Garber with Joint Secretary Munu Mahawar representing India.

Reflecting commitment to marine protection, US participation included representatives of the Department of State, US Coast Guard, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency and National Science Foundation, the release said.

Collectively, the US and India have approximately 17,000 miles of coastline, making this official dialogue one of the largest bilateral diplomatic engagements in the world that is specifically focused on oceans.

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