More than 25 Littoral states of Indian Ocean gather to discuss common maritime issues as India hosts 10th anniversary of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS).
The celebratory seminar for 10th anniversary of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) was commemorated at Kochi, India on November 13th (Tweet: Spokesperson Navy)
The Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) and Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), India, Admiral Sunil Lanba inaugurated the ceremony. The central theme for the 10th anniversary seminar remained “IONS as a Catalyst for SAGAR”. (Business Standard)
The theme for SAGAR is in line with the India’s ‘Act East Policy’ and the nation’s diplomatic, economic and military outreach in the region. The theme stands for ‘Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR)’. The Indian Ocean Naval Symposium was launched in 2008 by India as a voluntary initiative 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. (India Today)
The IONS membership constitutes of 32 littoral countries out of which 26 are participating in the seminar with a common aim to facilitate towards mutually beneficial maritime security outcomes. (Business Standard)
The states are further geographically grouped in four sub divisions. (India Today)
These are, South Asia: Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Pakistan, Seychelles and Sri Lanka; West Asia: Iran, Oman, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar and Yemen; East Africa: France, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Djibouti, Egypt, Eretria, Comoros, Madagascar, Somalia and Sudan; South East Asia and Australia: Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Timor Leste.
The SoP for IONS is to generate a flow of information between the naval professionals of the member states. The ION Symposium not only acts as a security construct for its members it also conducts several other activities like lectures, conferences, workshops and essay competitions to promote its objective. The 10th establishment anniversary of IONS was significant for the Indo-Iranian meetings held on the sidelines of the seminar. Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi held talks with Indian Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba on Monday in Kochi, a major port city on the south-west coast of India. (Mehr News)
The two countries also share close strategic relations and joint maritime interest in Chabahar. The R. Admiral H. Khanzadi urged that India and Iran should further expand their mutual relations in various maritime sectors including education, technical fields, and information exchange. Admiral Khanzadi who also holds chair of the symposium, emphasized the influence of Iran’s Navy in international waters in line with securing interests of the country. (Mehr News).
Both leaders called for annual bilateral meetings of the two naval commanders irrespective of IONS activities. Admiral Khanzadi noted that “The traditional navy will not be able to meet the needs of the future [security] environment.” (The Week)
Platforms like the IONS assert significance of the modern maritime security as a multifaceted challenge. The symposium is a voluntary platform functional on the grounds of mutual goodwill of navies and signals Pakistan to reinvigorate its strategies in maritime relations, specifically with Iran.
The celebrations ended on November 14 with the flagging off of five sailing ships to Muscat and Seychelles as commemoration of the ten years of IONS. (The Week)