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Indo-Pacific Maritime Domain Awareness (IPMDA)

7th November, 2023 Security

Indo-Pacific Maritime Domain Awareness (IPMDA)

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  • The Indo-Pacific Maritime Domain Awareness (IPMDA) initiative was announced in 2022 by the Quad grouping.
  • It is a testament to the commitment to a free, open, inclusive, and rules-based Indo-Pacific.


Announcement of IPMDA

  • The IPMDA was announced by the Quad grouping, comprising India, Australia, Japan and the U.S., at the Tokyo summit in early 2022.
  • At that time the motivation was to track “dark shipping” and build a “faster, wider, and more accurate maritime picture of near-real-time activities in partners’ waters”.
  • This would be done by integrating three critical regions in the Indo-Pacific — the Pacific Islands, Southeast Asia, and the IOR.


  • Enhancing maritime security and shared domain awareness in the region via technology and training support.
  • Further it aims to enable partner nations to fully monitor the region, which will, in turn, uphold the aim of a “free and open Indo-Pacific”.


  • IPMDA seeks to establish a comprehensive system for monitoring and securing maritime activities in the Indo-Pacific.
  • It also seeks to ensure the safety of critical sea lines of communication, and promoting cooperation among like-minded nations in the region.

Purpose of IPMDA

  • Its main purpose is to bring increased transparency to its critical waterways.


  • IPMDA harnesses innovative technology, such as commercial satellite radio frequency data collection, to provide partners across Southeast Asia, the Indian Ocean region, and the Pacific with near real-time information on activities occurring in their maritime zones.

Benefits to regional partners

  • The cutting-edge maritime domain awareness provided under IPMDA supports the ability of Indo-Pacific partners to rapidly detect and respond to a wide range of challenges.
  • These challenges involving illicit maritime activities such as ---
    • illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing,
    • climate events, and
    • humanitarian crises.
  • The initiative also involves regional information centers, helping to establish a common operating picture of the maritime domain across the Indo-Pacific region.


  • IPMDA will build a faster, wider and more accurate maritime picture of near-real-time activities in partners’ waters.
  • This common operating picture will integrate three oceanic regions – the Pacific Islands, Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean.
  • This will allow the tracking of “dark shipping” and other “tactical level” activities, such as rendezvous at sea by criminal actors – drug traffickers for example; as also respond to climate and humanitarian events, and protect their fisheries.


Q. Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) is increasingly becoming a prerequisite for the safe and efficient conduct of the maritime activity, which itself is a major engine for global economic growth. Substantiate this with special emphasis on the Indo-Pacific Maritime Domain Awareness (IPMDA) initiative.