The Foundation

Strives to be the foremost resource centre for the development and advocacy of strategies for the promotion and protection of India’s maritime interests.

Genesis

The National Maritime Foundation (NMF), New Delhi, was established in 2005 as the nation’s first maritime think-tank for conducting independent and policy-relevant research on ‘matters maritime’. It was inaugurated by the then Defence Minister of India Sh. Pranab Mukherjee, (later the President of India) on 15 February 2005. While it is an autonomous think-tank, its intellectual and organisational development is supported by the Ministry of Defence and the Indian Navy. Since its inception, the NMF has grown from a fledging organisation into an established intellectual institution with robust academic linkages within the country and overseas.

The genesis of the NMF lies in a long-felt need to redress India’s historical neglect of its maritime domain and to fill an acute intellectual void, by providing a common platform for discourse between maritime related institutions, organisations and disciplines, country-wide. It was also envisaged that the Foundation would provide an open forum for professional debate amongst the various stakeholders within India’s maritime domain, while serving to heighten maritime awareness amongst India’s policy-makers and intellectual elite, as also civil society at large.

Vision

To be the foremost resource centre for the development and advocacy of strategies for the promotion and protection of India’s maritime interests.

What we do

Located in India’s capital, New Delhi, we are amongst India’s foremost think-tanks.  We are unique in that we are the only think-tank in India that concentrates solely upon India’s maritime domain.  However, the focus of our research is holistic and comprehensive and is NOT restricted to ‘maritime security’ alone.  Instead, our research-faculty examines and analyses the entire gamut of issues relevant to India’s maritime domain.  

Our research also addresses a wide range of important economic-, socio-economic-, socio-cultural-, scientific-, legal-, and historical issues, all of which are critical to ‘maritime India’.  These include, amongst others, fleshing-out the vision of SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region), providing specificity to the ‘Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative’ (IPOI), developing policy-relevant approaches to the polar regions,  pushing India’s efforts to improve maritime connectivity through a variety of bilateral, trilateral, mini-lateral and multilateral maritime constructs, and, supporting a national and regional transition to a Blue Economy.  We pay also pay close attention to India’s ongoing maritime endeavours in respect of the fishing industry; the shipping industry (including shipbuilding, ship-repair, and shipbreaking), port-construction, enhancing port-efficiency, and, port-led community development (including the SAGARMALA mega-project); the offshore energy industry (incorporating upstream, midstream and downstream activities, and including import-driven facets of energy-security and the security-of-energy-flows over the seas); the maritime telecommunication industry (including underwater cables); the maritime safety industry; and, the maritime leisure and tourism industry.  Other areas of sharp and sustained focus at the NMF include the maritime impacts of climate change, public international maritime law.  Obviously, the NMF does delve into the various manifestations of maritime security, but even here, rather than being narrowly focussed upon military-facets alone, it also addresses an array of subjects relating to ‘holistic’ maritime security, seeking to provide India with freedom from manmade and natural threats arising in-, from-, or through the sea.  

We realise that creating and sustaining a robust maritime identity and ethos are prerequisites for success in all such endeavours.  Consequently, we are strident in our evangelistic advocacy of maritime consciousness at all levels of the Indian polity.  

As a ‘Track 1.5’ institution, with a healthy mix of highly-qualified and experienced practitioners (by way of serving officers of the Indian Armed Forces) and civilian scholars, we are making measurable progress towards realising, in full measure, the Foundation’s vision of being the foremost resource centre for the formulation and advocacy of strategies for the promotion and protection of India’s maritime interests.

Objectives

  • Conduct substantial and substantive studies and research, spanning the entire spectrum of disciplines relevant to India’s maritime interests.
  • Study and evaluate factors affecting India’s holistic maritime-security, with special focus upon opportunities, challenges and vulnerabilities; and provide policy-recommendations relevant to the formulation of India’s national security strategy.
  • Carry out studies of international relations and geo-political factors of strategic significance to India, with a view to suggesting maritime Confidence-Building Measures (CBMs) and enhancing maritime cooperation among seafaring nations, as also to achieve a stable security environment in the Indo-Pacific Region.
  • Study India’s maritime heritage and record, with the objective of disseminating knowledge of maritime history among India’s youth, so as to generate abiding pride in our ancient maritime traditions and to keep them alive in the contemporary global environment.