Indian Ocean Naval Symposium


    In News 

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

    About Ocean Naval Symposium (ONS)

    • Conceived by the Indian Navy in 2008.


    • Seeks to enhance maritime cooperation among Navies of the littoral states of the Indian Ocean Region(IOR) by providing an open and inclusive forum for discussion of regionally relevant maritime issues that would lead to a common understanding on the way ahead.


    • 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 the Islamic Republic of Iran (2018-21).
    • France assumed the Chairmanship on 29 Jun 21 for a two-year tenure.


    • IONS includes 24 nations that permanently hold territory that abuts or lies within the Indian Ocean and 8 observer nations:
    • 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 the 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 Symposium also held panel discussions themed on the three IONS Working for Groups viz HADR, Maritime Security and Information Sharing & Interoperability.
    • The Naval Maritime Foundation (NMF) also participated in the Panel Discussion on HADR.

    Importance of Indian Oceanic Region

    • Abundant natural resources: The Indian Ocean holds 16.8% of the world’s proven oil reserves and 27.9% of proven natural gas reserves.
    • Maritime Trade: Major sea routes connecting the Middle East, Africa and East Asia with Europe and the Americas.
    • Security: It will help India to consolidate its sphere of influence from the Straits of Malacca to Hormuz.
      • Region to counterbalance the increasing presence of China in the region.

    Major groups associated with the IOR

    • Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC): Regional cooperation initiative of the Indian Ocean Rim countries, was established in Mauritius in March 1997. 
      • The aim of IOR-ARC is to open the region based on four major components: trade liberalisation, trade and investment facilitation, economic and technical cooperation, and trade and investment dialogue. It does not address defence and security cooperation directly as the aim of ‘open and free trade’ implies maritime security
    • Indian Ocean Commission (COI): An intergovernmental organisation that brings together five member states, namely the Union of Comoros, France (Reunion), Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles.
    • League of Arab States: The league was formed in Cairo in March 1945 and is the regional organisation of Arab states in the Middle East and North Africa.
    • SAGAR
    • ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF): Established in 1994, it is an important platform for security dialogue in the Indo-Pacific.
    • Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC): Established in 1981 in response to the outbreak of the Iran-Iraq War. 
    • SAARC

    Source: NDTV