Indian Ocean Naval Symposium
31st Jan, 2019
The commanders of the naval forces of the Indian Ocean’s littoral states will convene at the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) summit in February 2019 at Bandar Abbas.
What is IONS?
- Launched in 2008, it is a voluntary initiative, consisting of 32 nations, that seeks to increase maritime co-operation among navies of the littoral states of the Indian Ocean Region by providing an open and inclusive forum for discussion of regionally relevant maritime issues.
- It is held biennially. Earlier in November 2018, as many as 24 of the 32 countries that constitute the membership of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) participated in the 10th edition of the INOS seminar held in Kochi, India.
Objective of Indian Ocean Naval Symposium
- It endeavours to generate a flow of information between naval professionals that would lead to common understanding and possibly cooperative solutions on the way ahead.
- The IONS acts as a security construct for the Indian Ocean region and apart from its series of symposiums, it conducts numerous other activities like workshops, essay competitions and lectures to promote its objective.
10th anniversary of IONS
- The theme for the 2018 seminar was 'IONS as a Catalyst for SAGAR' SAGAR stands for 'Security and Growth for All in the Region'.
- It is in consonance with India's 'Act East' policy and the nation's diplomatic, economic and military outreach in the region.
Significance of the group
- The forum has gradually built up its agenda and has a charter now. It has three main working groups on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR), maritime domain awareness and maritime security.
- Most importantly, its chairmanship is on rotation and Iran is chairing it at present. So, everyone has a stake in it. There’s been progress on the HADR front and on the SAR front.
- IONS’ productivity as a non-controversial platform for the management of security issues in the region has been further advanced by the jointly held Search and Rescue naval drill by India and China at the height of the Doklam crisis, under the aegis of the Bangladesh Navy.
India’s three-fold ambitions in the region
- Strengthening and deepening the relations with the Indian Ocean littoral states.
- Establishing its leadership potential and aspirations of being a net-security provider.
- Fulfilling India’s vision of a rules-based and stable maritime order in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).