MoU Signing Event – Skilling Centre to Support the Underwater Domain Awareness (UDA) Framework

Keynotes by Esteemed guests

Dr. (CDR) Arnab Das

Founder, and Director of Maritime Research Centre, Pune, India

Mr. Mukesh Malhotra

Chairman, Indo-Swiss Centre of Excellence and Wakefield Group

Mr. Deepak Karandikar

President, MCCIA

Smt. Vandana Chavan

Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha

Shri Praful Talera

MRC Advisor on Blue Economy

Vice Admiral DSP Varma

PVSM, AVSM, VSM (Retd), Former DG of the Strategic Submarine Project and Chief of Material, Indian Navy

Lt Gen D B Shekatkar

PVSM, AVSM, VSM(Retd), Strategic Security

Closing Remarks

In his closing remarks, Dr. Arnab Das shared details about MRC and the UDA Digest e-magazine platform and various articles and research papers that MRC has published in past years. He shared details related to blue bonds and other aspects of the UDA Framework. He thanked all the speakers and attendees for their keynote addresses and illustrious presentations. 

Dr. Benno in his closing remarks thanked all the speakers and Dr. Arnab for his words. He then shared a webpage of one of the UNESCO’s websites “Quest 4 Action”. He also talked about the marine environment, commenting on the quantity of plastic in our oceans. Dr. Benno suggested on North-South cooperation along with South-South cooperation. He also mentioned about the funds that are being lost because of issues like the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing dispute between Russia and Ukraine, which he said, could have been avoided.

Besides, Ms. Nishtha Vishwakarma, who works in the Communication and Advocacy team at MRC delivered the ‘Vote of Thanks’ speech to all those who had joined and participated in the conference.  She concisely mentioned key extracts from all the esteemed guest speakers’ speeches and the discussions that were held. She highlighted the main issues being raised at the conference that day.

Glimpses of the Event

1035 463 Maritime Research Center

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    The Maritime Research Center (MRC), Pune is a not-for-profit, Section 8 company registered with the Registrar of Companies (RoC), as Foundation for Underwater Domain Awareness.

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    The conventional approach of each of the stakeholders pursuing their own UDA* efforts has serious limitations given the highly resource intensive field experimental research initiative required for a long period. Click here for more


    Dr. (Cdr.) Arnab Das
    Founder & Director MRC, Pune

    “Our water resources today are already 20 percent short of fresh water and if we continue the way we are going, in next 10 years, we will be almost 80 percent short.”

    • (Cdr.) Das, while elaborating on the Underwater Domain Awareness (UDA) Framework, stated that the entire global attention is now focused on the tropical waters.
    • He emphasized India’s position and capacity building capabilities by highlighting missions such as the Sagar Mala project and the Gati Shakti Mission.
    • The biological and chemical contamination is at a very different level today in our waters, and here, Underwater Domain Awareness (UDA) becomes very important.
    • Following 9/11 and 26/11, the entire UDA concept became overly driven by the security establishment, resulting in limited participation by other stakeholders.
    • The European Union has already come up with a strategic framework document where our ships must have a pollution certificate to ensure that the noise is not beyond a certain level.
    • (Cdr.) Das, laid emphasis on the role of Underwater Domain Awareness (UDA) in minimizing the loss of life and property during marine disasters.
    • He mentioned the four stakeholders in UDA’s strive for a strategic and sustainable blue economy, the core of which is acoustic capacity and capability building.
    • His presentation also revolved around the imperative of building underwater skills, which India needs to develop apart from its strategic and security interests.
    • (Cdr.) Das, while quoting Padma Vibhushan and Former Secretary Ministry of Petroleum Dr. Vijay Kelker, said that although Underwater Domain Studies has been of strategic importance to our country’s national security as well as energy security, it has so far been totally neglected.
    • While quoting His Excellency, the Former Ambassador to Bhutan and China, the Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan, Gautam Bambawale, Dr. (Cdr.) Das said, “India is a maritime nation. However, of late, there have been threats from the sea, the Mumbai terrorist attacks of 26/11 were done from the sea.” One of our northern neighbours is rapidly ramping up the size of their navy; hence, India needs to be prepared for such eventualities.

    Mr. Mukesh Malhotra
    Chairman, Indo-Swiss Centre of Excellence and Wakefield Group


    • Malhotra’s address revolved around the core functioning of the Indo-Swiss Centre of Excellence and the various initiatives taken by the organization.
    • Malhotra laid emphasis on the significance of empowering girl child, for which, 1600 youngsters from villages in Maharashtra have been graduated by their organization, out of which 10-15 percent or more are girls who are placed in positions where they are earning somewhere between 1.8 lakhs – 2.5 lakhs.
    • He further proposed to scale up youngsters in futuristic technologies like mechatronics, robotics, artificial intelligence, 3D printing etc. which will make youth ready to take on the reins of manufacturing technologies in Industry 4.0.
    • Emphasizing the need for upskilling, Mr. Malhotra deliberated on the aspects of skilling the youth with the technologies of tomorrow.
    • He stressed the fact that the Indian Ocean Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) with India, which we can exploit entirely for our benefit, has almost close to zero skills
    • Malhotra opined that the strategic and security interests of the nation call for Underwater Skill Development.

    Mr. Deepak Karandikar
    President, MCCIA

    “The Chamber will wholeheartedly support the UDA initiative. The whole chamber umbrella is available and we will do everything within our means to support the Underwater Domain Awareness mission “.

    • In a brief address, Mr. Karandikar assured any incumbent and future help in providing facilities in certain verticals with the resources available with MCCIA to the panel in taking forward the UDA framework.

    Smt. Vandana Chavan
    Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha

    “We are all aware that the underwater domain just doesn’t exist in the vocabulary of the Indian government as of yet, however, I assure to help in my capacities as a Rajya Sabha member towards this initiative by means of the interventions available in the Indian parliament”

    • Vandana applauded the passion and dedication of Dr. (Cdr) Arnab Das towards the UDA initiative.
    • She asserted to the stakeholders that she would highlight the concerns surrounding UDA in the Indian Parliament for more visibility.

    Shri Praful Talera
    MRC Advisor on Blue Economy

    “It has been mandated by law that the water quality index, like the air quality index, has to be measured and announced to the public. Let Pune be the first city to take the initiative and announce the water quality index in India “

    • Shri Praful Talera said that Pune is blessed because it is a city that stands at the confluence of two rivers.
    • While talking about the huge opportunities in Indian waters, specifically those in Maharashtra, Shri Talera said that there are four dams in upstream Pune that are more than 100 years old and are silted to explore.

    Vice Admiral DSP Varma
    PVSM, AVSM, VSM (Retd), Former DG of the Strategic Submarine Project and Chief of Material, Indian Navy

    “I always told him (Dr. Cdr. Arnab Das) that the idea (UDA Framework) is great. “How are we going to sell it? That is the whole issue, we must sensitize people.”

    • While talking about his association with Dr. Cdr. Arnab Das, Vice Admiral Varma said that Cdr. Arnab Das has not only represented the underwater domain in India but has covered the whole globe.
    • His talk revolved around attacking the blue economy faster for more visibility rather than attacking the strategic sector.
    • Speaking on the capabilities of the industries in Pune, Vice Admiral Varma said that out of the 250 SMEs contributing to the Underwater Domain initiative in India, 150 are based in and around Pune.
    • He said that with the assistance of all the stakeholders present in the panel, the UDA mission should be able to get visibility in the shortest time possible, which will have a multiplier effect in generating awareness.

    Lt Gen D B Shekatkar
    PVSM, AVSM, VSM(Retd), Strategic Security

    “In the last about 10 years, suddenly our (India’s) technological importance has gone up throughout the world. We are probably one of the pioneers, but the problem comes as to who will handle the technology.”

    • Lt Gen D. B. Shekatkar, emphasizing the importance of having manpower who can handle technology in India, stated that India cannot import people to handle technology. We ought to create the people from within our country to handle the technology, which will not come without costs.
    • He warned that our threats in the future are going to come from the sea.
    • He also laid focus on the negligence of most parliamentarians, who are from states that are miles away from the sea, in dealing with the underwater domain.
    • The coastal states of India produce 73 percent of the GDP of India, right from Gujarat up to Bengal. The remaining industries further depend on them; hence, the oceans are getting more and more important for India.
    • Throughout the world, there are 68 nations in conflict, most of them because they want control of the sea. The current situation in Ukraine and Russia is an example. They want to have control over pipelines that are passing through the sea, wars are being fought just to control the seashore.
    • He talked about China’s growing desperation to capture Indian waters, mainly the Brahmaputra flowing from Tibet into India, because they anticipate a drought in China by 2035.
    • India is probably the only nation in the world with an ocean behind its name. Americans refer to the Hind Mahasagar (Indian Ocean) as the Indo-Pacific region as they plan to exploit its potential in the future.
    • He urged the research foundation to lay focus on the upcoming threats, apart from the conventional threats that we know of.
    • Laying emphasis on the role of parliament to safeguard the future of the upcoming generation, he said, “I may not be there tomorrow, but somebody will be there, their future must not be put in a dangerous place, that is where the parliament comes into play.”