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Indian Ocean Naval Symposium

  • Context (IE): The 8th edition of the IONS Conclave of Chiefs was conducted by the Royal Thai Navy at Bangkok, Thailand.
  • The Republic of Korea Navy was welcomed as the latest ‘Observer’ into the grouping.
  • The IONS is a regional forum of Indian Ocean littoral states, launched by India in 2008.
  • It is a voluntary initiative that seeks to increase maritime cooperation among navies of the littoral states of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
  • Objective: To generate a flow of information between navies that would lead to common understanding and possibly cooperative solutions to future maritime problems and challenges.
  • Under the IONS Charter of Business adopted in 2014, the forum has working groups on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR), Information Security and Interoperability (IS&I), and Maritime security (anti-piracy).
  • 25 Member States, geographically divided into 4 subregions:
    • South Asian Littorals: Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Pakistan, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, and the U.K.
    • West Asian Littorals: Iran, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and UAE.
    • East African Littorals: France, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa, and Tanzania.
    • South-East Asian and Australian Littorals: Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Timor Leste.
  • 9 Observer countries: China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Madagascar, the Netherlands, Russia, Spain, Korea (latest addition).
  • The Chair rotates every 2 years.
  • In 2018, IONS conducted its first-ever operational exercise called ‘IMMSAREX’, under the IONS Charter.
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