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Indian Ocean Naval Symposium

  • 18 Nov 2021
  • 4 min read

Why in News

The 7th edition of Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) Conclave of Chiefs is being hosted by the French Navy at Paris from 15th-16th Nov 21.

  • The inaugural edition of IONS was held in Feb 2008 at New Delhi, with the Indian Navy as the Chair for two years. The IONS Chair is presently held in France.

Key Points

  • About:
    • 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.
    • 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 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 counterbalance 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.
    • Information Fusion Centre for the Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR): It was set up by India in 2018, as an information-sharing hub of maritime data.
    • 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.
    • Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation: It is a sub-regional organization that came into being in 1997 through the Bangkok Declaration.
      • It mainly aims to create an enabling environment for rapid economic development, accelerate social progress, and promote collaboration on matters of common interest in the IOR.

Source: PIB

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