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Indian Ocean Naval Symposium:

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Why in the News?

The 7th edition of Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) Conclave of Chiefs was hosted by the French Navy at Paris from 15th-16th Nov 2021.

Key highlights:

  • Vice Admiral R Hari Kumar, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command, is leading a two member Indian Naval delegation for this Conclave. 
  • The Conclaves of Chiefs is being attended by Chiefs of Navies/ Heads of Lead Maritime Agencies of IONS nations. 
  • Various bilateral interactions were also conducted on the side-lines of the Conclaves to facilitate a greater degree of maritime cooperation and understanding between the IONS nations.
  •  The 7th edition of IONS Symposium was held at Le-Reunion from 28 Jun - 01 Jul 21 in hybrid format due to COVID protocols.
  • During the Symposium, it was agreed upon to conduct the extant Conclave of Chiefs at Paris. 

About IONS:

  • The Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) is a series of biennial meetings, held between the littoral states of the Indian Ocean region.
  • The inaugural edition of IONS was held in Feb 2008 at New Delhi, with the Indian Navy as the Chair for two years. 
  • UAE: 2010-12 
  • South Africa: 2012-14
  • Australia: 2014-16
  • Bangladesh: 2016-18 
  • Islamic Republic of Iran: 2018-21.

Objectives:

  •  As a forum which seeks to enhance maritime cooperation among Navies of the littoral states of the Indian Ocean Region by providing an open and inclusive platform for discussions on regionally relevant maritime issues that would lead to common understanding 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.
  • The IONS is a voluntary and inclusive initiative that brings together navies of Indian Ocean Region (IOR) littoral states to increase maritime co-operation and enhance regional security.
  • It also serves to develop an effective response mechanism and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) against natural disasters.

Members:

  • There are 36 littoral in the Indian Ocean which have been geographically grouped into the following four sub-regions:
  • South Asian : Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Pakistan, Seychelles, Sri Lanka.  
  • West Asian: Iran, Oman, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Yemen
  • East African:  France, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique
  • South Africa: Tanzania, Djibouti, Egypt, Eriteria, Comoros, Madagascar, Somalia, Sudan
  • South East Asian and Australian: Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste

Why is it important For India?

  • It will help India to consolidate its sphere of influence from the Straits of Malacca to Hormuz.
  • IONS can be used to counterbalance the increasing presence of China in the region.
  • It will Strengthening and deepening the relations with the Indian Ocean littoral states.

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