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7th Edition of Indian Ocean Naval Symposium

  • 02 Jul 2021
  • 4 min read

Why in News

Recently, the 7th edition of Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) was hosted by the French Navy at Réunion island.

  • It is a biennial event which was conceived by the Indian Navy in 2008.

Key Points

  • About:
    • The IONS is a voluntary and inclusive initiative that brings together navies of Indian Ocean Region 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.
    • The chairmanship of IONS has been held by India (2008-10), UAE (2010-12), South Africa (2012-14), Australia (2014-16), Bangladesh (2016-18) and Islamic Republic of Iran (2018-21).
      • France assumed the Chairmanship in June 2021 for a two-year tenure.
  • Members:
    • IONS includes 24 member nations that touch or lie within the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), and 8 observer nations.
    • The members have been geographically grouped into the following four sub-regions:
    • South Asian Littorals: Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Pakistan, Seychelles, Sri Lanka and United Kingdom (British Indian Ocean Territory)
    • West Asian Littorals: Iran, Oman, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates
    • East African Littorals: France (Reunion), Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa, and Tanzania.
    • South East Asian and Australian Littorals: Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Timor-Leste.
  • Significance For India:
    • IONS fits into 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; and
      • Fulfilling India’s vision of a rules-based and stable maritime order in the IOR.
    • It will help India to consolidate its sphere of influence from the Straits of Malacca to Hormuz.
    • IONS can be used to counter-balance the increasing presence of China in the region.
  • Other Important Groupings/Initiatives Associated with IOR:
    • Indian Ocean Rim Association: The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) was established in 1997.
      • It is aimed at strengthening regional cooperation and sustainable development within the Indian Ocean region.
    • Indian Ocean Commission: Recently, India has been approved as an observer of the Indian Ocean Commission, the inter-governmental organization that coordinates maritime governance in the south-western Indian Ocean.
    • Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR): It was launched in 2015.
      • Through SAGAR, India seeks to deepen economic and security cooperation with its maritime neighbours and assist in building their maritime security capabilities.
    • Asia Africa Growth Corridor: The idea of Asia Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC) emerged in the joint declaration issued by India and Japan in 2016.
      • The AAGC is raised on four pillars of Development and Cooperation Projects, Quality Infrastructure and Institutional Connectivity, Enhancing Capacities and Skills and People-to-People partnership.

Source: PIB

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