The 7th edition of Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), took place from 28 June to July 1, 2021 at La Reunion, an island in the Indian Ocean east of Madagascar, which is an overseas department of France. It was hosted by the French Navy, France had assumed the Chairmanship of IONS on 29 June 2021, for a 2-year tenure.
- From the Indian side – Admiral Karambir Singh, Chief of the Naval Staff, Indian Navy virtually participated in the event.
- IONS is a series of biennial meetings between the Littoral States of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). It provides a forum to increase maritime security cooperation,discuss regional maritime issues, and promote friendly relationships among the member states.
i.The discussions in the Symposium were themed on 3 IONS working groups – HADR (High Availability Disaster Recovery), Maritime Security and Information Sharing & Interoperability.
ii.The Naval Maritime Foundation (NMF) participated in the Panel Discussion on HADR.
iii.Subject Matter Expert (SME) presentations were made by French Institute of International Relations – Observatoire du Climat, European Union (EU), Indian Ocean Commission, IFC Singapore, RMIFC Madagascar and EU led Critical Maritime Routes Indian Ocean (CRIMARIO).
iv.IONS Conclave of Chiefs (CoC) is the decision-making body at the level of Chiefs of Navies, which meets biennially. The 6th IONS and CoC was conducted by the Iran Navy in April 2018 at Tehran, Iran.
- Due to the Pandemic, the CoC 2021 is set to be hosted by French Navy in the later part of 2021.
IONS was initiated by the Indian Navy in 2008 to enhance maritime cooperation among Navies of Littoral states of the IOR. The inaugural IONS Seminar was held by the Indian Navy in 2008.
i.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).
- The chairmanship and location of the Symposium rotates between the various member states.
ii.Members – There are 24 Members & 8 Observers
- 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.
Observers – China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Madagascar, the Netherlands, Russia and Spain.
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About Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS)
2021 Chair – France
Members – 24 & 8 Observers
Established – 2008