What is Indian ocean naval symposium (IONS)? Who are its members? What is its significance in the Indian context? To know, read further.
India is surrounded by ocean on three sides.
This makes maritime security a critical component of India’s internal and external security.
The Indian ocean naval symposium (IONS) was formulated by India to effectively address this concern.
What is Indian Ocean naval symposium (IONS)?
The ‘Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) is a voluntary initiative that seeks to increase maritime cooperation 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. In the process, it endeavors to generate a flow of information between naval professionals that would lead to common understanding and possibly cooperative solutions on the way ahead. It consists of a series of gatherings held every two years amongst Indian Ocean littoral republics.
The symposium was first held in 2008 with India as the host.
The chairmanship and location of the Symposium rotates between the various member states.
Members of Indian Ocean Naval Symposium
There are 25 member countries of IONS, including 8 observer countries, that touch or lay within the IOR.
The following four sub-regions have been created by geographically classifying the members:
- 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
The eight observing countries in the IONS are Germany, China, the Netherlands, Spain, Russia, Italy, Japan, and Madagascar.
Significance of IONS
Maritime security: Similar to how the Western Pacific Naval Symposium operates, the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium serves as a security framework for the whole Indian Ocean region.
Peaceful relations: This voluntary initiative has been taken up by the participating nations’ navies and maritime security organizations to maintain harmony with regard to the activities over the Indian Ocean.
Platform for interaction: The Indian Ocean Naval Symposium serves as a group that also makes it easier to organize lectures, essay contests, and numerous workshops while keeping the primary goal in mind.
Disaster response: Additionally, it helps to create a strong response system and HADR (humanitarian aid and disaster relief) against natural disasters.
Importance of IONS in the Indian context
- IONS fits into India’s three goals in the area: enhancing and deepening ties with the Indian Ocean littoral states; establishing its leadership potential and goals of serving as a provider of network security; and realizing India’s vision of a stable and rules-based maritime order in the IOR.
- India will be able to expand its area of influence from the Straits of Malacca to Hormuz with its assistance.
- IONS can be utilized to balance out China’s growing influence in the area.
Previous year question
Consider the following in respect of Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS)
- Inaugural IONS was held in India in 2015 under the chairmanship of the Indian Navy
- IONS is a voluntary initiative that seeks to increase maritime cooperation, among navies of the littoral states of the Indian ocean region
Which of the above statements is/are correct?
(A) 1 only
(B) 2 only
(C) Both 1 and 2
(D) Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: (B) 2 only
Article written by: Caroline Abraham