International Cooperation Division of the Ministry of Ports,Shipping and Waterways deals with maritime engagements with foreign maritime nations, including signing of Agreements/ MoUfor bilateral cooperation in the Maritime sector, holding of regular Joint Working Group meetings and negotiations with ASEAN, EU, BIMSTEC and EFTA for Maritime Transport Agreement. All matter related to International Maritime Organization (IMO), the primer regulatory UN body, in which India is a member, is also dealt in this Division, including deputation of officers for attending the IMO meetings and finalizing India’s stand on various agenda for discussion during the meetings of IMO. Further, this Division compiles inputs on issues relating to shipping sector for high- level officials meetings with foreign countries at Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

A. Cooperation with Multilateral Organizations 

India became a member of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in 1959, which is the global standard setting authority for the safety, security and environmental performance of shipping and ensures that such standards are fair and effective and are universally adopted and implemented. India has been an active participant at the IMO. In fact, participation of India in the functioning of IMO has helped India to voice its developmental concerns to the international maritime community. India has been a member of the IMO Council and has got re-elected as Member of the IMO Council under Category ‘B’, representing nations with the largest interest in international seaborne trade, for biennial 2018-19 by securing second highest number of votes during the IMO Council election held on December 2, 2017. IMO adopts and implements various treaties in the form of conventions/protocols. From time to time, keeping in mind our national interests and the international standards evolved by IMO through its treaties, India has been becoming a party to the treaties adopted by IMO.  As on date IMO has adopted 67 treaties, which are open for countries to become parties.  Out of these 67 treaties, India is a party to 33 treaties (conventions/protocols), which have been suitably incorporated into the Indian domestic legislation i.e. the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958.

  • Currently, there are three IMO Conventions namely,

(a) International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage 2001;

(b) International Convention for the Control and management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments, 2004; and

(c) the Hong Kong Convention for Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships 2009, which have been taken up by the Ministry for India becoming a party to The legislative proposals incorporating the provisions of these Conventions are in progress and upon enactment of these legislations, India’s accession/ratification to these conventions will be communicated to the IMO.

  • Besides this, India is also a party to two important Conventions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), meant for welfare of seafarers, namely the Maritime Labour Convention and the Seafarer’s Identity Document Convention. India contributes approximately 6 to 7 percent of the total workforce in the shipping industry.  India is home to the second largest number of seafarers after the Philippines. ILO too has mandated standards for the maritime industry.  The Maritime Labour Convention is a single, coherent instrument which replaces and consolidates 37 separate ILO maritime labour conventions adopted since 1920.
  • Apart from IMO, India has been contributing significantly to the other multilateral organizations/agreements such as ASEAN (Association of South East Asia Nations); Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC); Indian Ocean Rim-Association for Regional Cooperation(IORA); International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC), etc.
B. Maritime Transport Cooperation Instruments/Arrangements

Bilateral cooperation arrangements

India has entered into cooperation instruments/arrangements with other maritime countries and regional groupings by way of Agreements or MoUs to foster growth of Indian maritime sector as well as to safeguard India’s maritime interests. Following is a list and status of these cooperation arrangements:

S. No.

Name of the Country

(Year of signing)

Areas of Cooperation



(08 June, 2019)

 MoU between India and Maldives for establishment of passenger and cargo services by sea between the two countries to promote people to people contact and boost bilateral trade between the two countries.



(18 January, 2019)

MoU on Maritime Issues between Ministry of Ports,Shipping and Waterwaysof the Republic of India and the Ministry of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs of the Kingdom of Denmark envisages cooperation between the two countries through a Joint Working Group on Shipping for cooperation in the field of merchant shipping and maritime transport related matters, exchange of experiences and information on the rules, regulations and enforcement of the Port State Controls carried out in India and Denmark, cooperation on training and education in the maritime industry, cooperation on granting the Indian Register of Shipping (IRS) the status of Recognized Organization (RO) and to strengthen the cooperation in green maritime technology and shipbuilding to address the issues of maritime environmental degradation, climate changes and biodiversity loss.



(September 17, 2018)

Memorandum of Understanding between India and Malta for bilateral cooperation in the fields of maritime and port administration, maritime safety, vessel monitoring and marine pollution prevention, maritime training, education, research and innovation and cooperation in matters related to International Maritime Organization (IMO).


Republic of Korea

(April 10,2018)

Undertaking on Mutual Recognition of Certificates of Competency of Seafarers, as per requirements of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watch keeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978 as amended in 2010 ( Manila Amendments) between India and Republic of Korea  was signed on  April 10, 2018. Both India and Republic of Korea have agreed on the recognition of maritime education and training, certificates of competency, endorsements, training documentary evidence and medical fitness certificates for seafarers (hereinafter referred to as "certificates") issued by the Government of the other Party in accordance with the provisions of regulation I/10 of the STCW Convention, and cooperation between the two Parties in the training, certification and management of seafarers.



(April 28, 2017)

Agreement between India and Cyrus on Merchant Shipping for technical assistance in developing merchant fleets, including training of seafarers and also assistance in commercial matters support and facilitate cooperation between training institutions and maritime organizations; establishment of functioning representations of shipping organizations and enterprises in other countries; allow Govt. representatives or diplomatic and consular missions of other country as well as representative of shipping enterprises register in other country to enter its ports and board vessels sailing under the flag or chartered by enterprises of the other country.



(April 8, 2017)

MoU between the Directorate General of Lighthouses and Lightships (DGLL), Ministry of Shipping, Government of India and the Department of Shipping (DoS), Ministry of Shipping, Government of People’s Republic of Bangladesh concerning cooperation on Aids to Navigation.



(April 8, 2017)

MoU Between India And Bangladesh on Development of Fairway from Sirajganj to Daikhowa And Ashuganj to Zakiganj on Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route.




(April 8, 2017)

MoU Between India And Bangladesh on Passenger and Cruise Services on the Coastal and Protocol Routes.



United Arab Emirates

(January 25, 2017)

Recognition and acknowledgement of the certificates issued by the issuing party after meeting the conditions pertaining to:

a)         Training, qualifying and evaluating seafarers as per the provisions of Section 6/1 of the STCW convention.

b)         Registering the issued certificates in a special record.

c)         Upon its request, the Department shall be allowed to visit the facilities of certificates to make sure of the relevant procedures as per the provisions of the Regulation No. 60/1 of the STCW Convention in order to check:-

•   Standards of competency.

•   Registering certificates of competency.

•   Issuing, renewing and cancelling certificates of competency.

•   Standards of physical fitness for the certificates of competency holders.

•   Applied methods of sharing details about the validation of certificates.

d)   The quality standards shall be in accordance with the provisions of Regulations No. 8/1 of the STCW Convention.


United Arab Emirates

(January 25, 2017)

Institutional Cooperation on Maritime Transport which would facilitate and promote Seaborne transport to avoid any unnecessary prolongation of lay times, and simplify and expedite wherever possible customs and other formalities to be observed in ports as well as facilitate the use of existing installation for the disposal of wastes.



(September 02, 2016)

Agreement between India and Egypt for cooperation to develop relationship in the field of International Maritime Transport on the basis of equity and mutual benefits; exchange information between the competent authorities of both the parties on maritime transport; provision of technical assistance for the development of maritime transport by promoting and encouraging the cooperation between the Maritime shipping companies of both the countries; cooperation for developing training programs in institutes of either of the counties in the fields of the marine environment and prevention of the marine pollution and Promotion of Electronic Data Interchange between the two countries with regard to vessels and ports security procedures according to ISPS code requirements.



(July 05, 2016)

MoU between India and Spain for cooperation in port matters for conduct of studies on port traffic demand between the two countries; commercial promotion of maritime transport between the two countries; promotion of the making of agreements on ports and terminals in the network of both countries; promotion of commercial exchange in the context of port activity and transport by sea; planning, management and exploitation of port infrastructures, development of intermodal and port logistics; modernization of existing ports and development of new world class ports; development of Information and Communication Technologies, establishment of one-step shops and other fields improving the simplification of processes and benefit the competitiveness of all operators of the logistics chain; cooperation in the fields of environment and green port initiative; cruise shipping, sea plane and ferry services in Major ports; and promotion of business development in the port context and of the setting up of Indian port enterprises in Spain and of Spanish port enterprises in India.


India, Afghanistan and Iran

(May 23, 2016)

Agreement on the establishment of International transport and transit corridor among the Governments of the Republic of India, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Islamic Republic of Iran (Chabahar Agreement).




(May 2, 2016)

Letter of Intent on the implementation of the MoU between India and Belgium relating to Maritime Transport.


Republic of Korea

(April 13, 2016)

MoU between India and Republic of Korea to cooperate for strengthening administrative, technical and human resources though exchanges to promote mutual benefits in the fields of port development and operation.


Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

(October 11, 2015)

Agreement between India and Jordan on Maritime Transport for cooperation between the shipping organizations and enterprises; exchange and training of staff and students; exchange of information to expedite transportation of commercial goods at sea and at ports; joint ventures in the fields of maritime transportation, shipbuilding and ship repairs, maritime training, maritime information technology including development of simulators, port facilities and related maritime activities.



(June 6, 2015)

MoU relating to use of Chittagong and Mongla Port for Movement of goods to and from India.




(June 6, 2015)

Agreement on Coastal Shipping between the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and the Government of the Republic of India.



Republic of Korea

(May 18, 2015)

MoU between India and Republic of Korea for cooperation in maritime transport and logistics, including training of seafarers; joint ventures in the fields of maritime transport and logistics; construction of logistics infrastructure linking land-based transport with maritime transport; utilization, development and management of domestic and overseas ports.



(May 6, 2015)

Memorandum of understanding between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran over Partnership of India in Development Plan of Chabahar Port.



(May 24, 2013)

Agreement between India and Vietnam for cooperation between the shipping organizations and enterprises; exchange and training of staff and students; exchange of information to expedite transportation of commercial goods at sea and at ports; joint ventures in the fields of maritime transportation, shipbuilding and ship repairs, maritime training, maritime information technology including development of simulators, port facilities and related maritime activities.



(October 3, 2012)

MoU between India and Austria for cooperation on shipping infrastructure in particular by promoting safe, efficient and cost effective shipping and ports infrastructure development as well as operation and maintenance; exchange of information concerning shipping and ports infrastructure as well as benefits from the opportunities offered in the shipping and ports infrastructure sector; expansion of plans in the shipping and ports infrastructure sector and realization of special projects in this area; recognition of the projects in the field of “Maritime Communication Solutions”.


Sri Lanka

(January 7, 2011)

MoU between India and Sri Lanka for Passenger services between the ports of Tuticorin and Colombo and between Rameshwaram and Thalaimannar.


IBSA (Trilateral agreement between India, Brazil and South Africa)

(September 13, 2006)           

Trilateral Agreement between India, Brazil and South Africa to promote transportation of goods and passengers along the International “North-South” Transport corridor, and, access to the international market through rail, road, sea, river and air transport; assistance in increasing the volume of international transport of passenger and goods; security of travel, safety of goods as well as environmental protection according to the international standards; harmonization of transport policies as well as legal and legislative frameworks.


The Netherlands

(February 12, 2008)

(Renewed on May 10, 2011, May 11, 2014 and October 11, 2017)

MoU between India and the Netherlands for Research and Development; shipbuilding; innovation and sustainability; safety and security; port planning and development; simulation of cargo flows between the two countries; government policies; Ports; Maritime transport and logistics.



(December 14, 2006)

Protocol on Resumption of Shipping services between India and Pakistan signed on 15 January 1975 to improve direct shipping service between the two countries on the basis of sovereign equality and mutual benefit.



South Africa

(March 23, 2006)

Agreement between India and South Arica for cooperation between the shipping organizations and enterprises; exchange and training of staff and students; exchange of information to expedite transportation of commercial goods at sea and at ports; joint ventures in the fields of maritime transportation, shipbuilding and ship repairs.


United States of America

(April 14, 2015 and April 8, 2015)

MoU for cooperation in the fields of Shipping and intermodal operations; Maritime safety and security; Port Management; Dredging and Dredger construction; Ship Recycling; Maritime Training and Education; Technological Development related to Maritime sector; Inland Water Transport and other fields of mutual interest.



(February 22, 2000)

Agreement between India and Morocco for cooperation for rendering sustained mutual assistance and advice on merchant shipping and other related matters.



(November 29, 1996)

Agreement between India and China for cooperation in the field of Maritime Transport.



(January 3, 1995)

Maritime transport and port affairs; multimodal transport for transit cargo between the ports of Iran in the Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea through the Asian countries; transit of goods to the third countries through territory of one another; shipping agents and forwarding companies; ship building and ship repair.


Russian Federation

(December 23, 1994)

Agreement on Merchant Shipping for participation of vessels in the carriage of all cargoes between the ports of the two countries; elimination of obstacles that hamper the development of sea trade between the port of their countries; cooperation between the shipping companies, charterers and shippers.



(January 24, 1994)

Agreement between India and Singapore for cooperation in the field of Maritime Transport.



(July 18, 1988)

Maritime Agreement between India and Turkey to carry out research, technical cooperation and training in Shipbuilding, Marine Transport and other matters on Marine Affairs.



Federal Republic of Germany

(January 9, 1979)

Agreement between India and Germany in the field of Merchant Shipping.



(February 6, 1965)

Agreement on recognition of tonnage certificates of Merchant Ships.



(February 20, 1963)

Agreement for mutual recognition of tonnage certificates of Merchant Ships.



(June 27, 1960)

Agreement on Shipping cooperation to strengthen and develop cooperation in maritime transport.


Bilateral Agreements for Recognition of Certificate of Competency for Seafarers

India has signed the Mutual Recognition of Certificates of Competence (CoC) of Seafarers with Malaysia,UAE and Republic of Korea.

Unilateral Agreements for Recognition of Certificate of Competency for Seafarers

India’s CoC is recognized by the following countries:

1. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

19. Luxemburg

2. Dominica

20. Cyprus

3. Greece

21. Malta

4. Georgia

22. Norway

5. Vanuatu

23. France

6. Brunei

24. Denmark

7. Liberia

25. Ire Land

8. Marshal Islands

26. Bangladesh

9. Kuwait

27. Ghana

10. Bahamas

28. Latvia

11. Qatar

29. Mauritius

12. Barbados

30. Antigua and Barbuda

13. Netherlands

31. Vietnam

14. Maldives

32. Australia

15. Japan

33. Singapore

16. Belize

34. Hong Kong

17. Jamaica

35. Panama

18. Isle of man

36. Belgium

D. Trilateral Cooperation arrangements

A trilateral cooperation framework is under progress between India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives to finalize an Agreement on maritime security for information exchange, to enhance Maritime Domain Awareness, training, pollution control, joint exercises and capacity building. Director General of Shipping has extended the Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) facility to Sri Lanka and is in communication with Maldives to offer the same facility within the guidelines of IMO and International Maritime Satellite Organization (IMSO).

E. Joint Working Group (JWG) Meetings held during the year 2018-19

The first meeting of the Joint Working Group on Ports and Shipping between India and Denmark was held in Copenhagen, Denmark May 29, 2018 during the visit of Secretary (Ports,Shipping and waterways). The 7th Meeting of the Joint Committee on Ports and Maritime Cooperation between India and Iran was held in Mumbai on October 30-31, 2018. The first meeting of the India- Jordan Joint Maritime Committee (JMC) was held through Video Conferencing on December 5, 2018. The 4th meeting of India- Japan Shipping Policy Forum was held in New Delhi on January 15, 2019