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The IONS Operational Seminar and Preparatory Workshop – 2013 - Mumbai

IONS workshop in Mumbai for analyzing security aspects

Participation: Thirty nine delegates from 22 member nations participated in the Operational Seminar and Preparatory Workshop - 2013
Theme: 'Roles and Expectations of Emerging Navies in Cooperative Engagement for Peace and Stability in IOR'.
Venue: The seminar and preparatory workshop, was conducted under the IONS construct is hosted by the Western Naval Command at Mumbai on September 11 and 12.

Dr C Raja Mohan, distinguished fellow at the Observer Research Foundation, highlighted three important imperatives demanding greater maritime security cooperation in the IOR

The changing global distribution of power leading to deepened divisions amongst the world's leading nations thereby complicating management of the global maritime commons.

Pressures on the defence budget compelling downsizing of armed forces thereby restricting maritime powers from delivering public goods in the maritime domain.

The growing stakes of the littoral states and the opportunity provided by the IONS construct for the region to reclaim its maritime destiny

What is ‘Indian Ocean Naval Symposium’ (IONS) and its distinguishing features?
The IONS is a maritime security construct on similar lines as the WPNS. Whilst the WPNS is for the region of Asia-Pacific, the IONS addresses the Indian Ocean Region
IONS is 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 and, in the process, endeavors to generate a flow of information between naval professionals that would lead to common understanding and possibly agreements on the way ahead. The inclusiveness of this forum means that all the principal maritime agencies of states in the IOR are members, unless they desire otherwise, thereby involving participation by almost all the littorals in the region to address cooperative maritime issues.

Objectives and Principles of IONS Construct

  1. To promote a shared understanding of the maritime issues facing the littoral nation-states of the Indian Ocean and the formulation of a common set of strategies designed to enhance regional maritime security.
  2. To strengthen the capability of all littoral nation-states of the Indian Ocean to address present and anticipated challenges to maritime security and stability.
  3. To establish and promote a variety of trans-national, maritime, cooperative-mechanisms designed to mitigate maritime-security concerns within the Indian Ocean.
  4. To develop interoperability in terms of doctrines, procedures, organisational and logistic systems and operational processes, so as to promote the development of regional naval capacities for speedy, responsive and effective Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) throughout the Indian Ocean region

There are 35 members - navies of the IONS which have been geographically grouped into the following four sub-regions:

  1. South Asian Littorals:   Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Pakistan, Seychelles and Sri Lanka
  2. West Asian Littorals:     Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Yemen
  3. East African Littorals:   Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Eriteria, France, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan and Tanzania
  4. South East Asian and Australian Littorals:   Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Timor Leste

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