Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) and Research Institute for Indian Ocean Economics (RIIO) signed a bilateral MoU in Kunming, China to create a multilateral cooperative network of think tanks of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). The initiative was launched during the 8th RIIO international conference on ‘Common Development of China and Indian Ocean Region’ held with the theme of ‘Challenges and Prospects of Blue Economy Cooperation in the Indian Ocean: from the Perspective of Security and Development’, which was hosted by RIIO-YUFE, said a press release on Sunday. Apart from IPS, the event was attended by top officials of the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University (SIS), India, Center for Economic and Social Development (CESD), Myanmar, Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), Bangladesh, and Pathfinder Foundation, Sri Lanka. The participating institutions have also signed a letter of intent to become part of the network after necessary formalities. This network will work for the policy analysis and review of Indian Ocean’s strategic issues, undertaking joint activities, promoting common development between China and Indian Ocean region through research and discussion, and publishing research papers, articles, books, white papers, and reports as an outcome, all in a bid to strengthen various areas of cooperation such as investment environment in Indian Ocean economies, the foreign policy and economic relations of Indian Ocean economies, and any other such issues having bilateral or multilateral implications for each country. Speaking on the occasion, Chairman IPS Khalid Rahman stated that the economies, livelihoods and cultural identities of the states and people around IOR are vitally linked to it. For continuous, coordinated and proactive growth of the blue economies, greater focus on maritime specific policies, research and education, knowledge and information sharing, establishing mechanisms and networks, integrated planning on regional scales as well as within the countries, and robust governance involving industry, community and other stakeholders including the governments themselves, is required. He stressed that developing a healthy competitive environment is inevitable to take benefit of the new opportunities appearing not only in the established sectors but in the emerging sectors as well.