[India], Nov 1 (ANI): The Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) is celebrating 10th anniversary this year through a commemorative event, to be hosted by the Indian Navy at Kochi on November 13 and 14.
The IONS, a regional maritime security initiative, was launched by India on February 14, 2008, under the aegis of the Indian Navy. It was founded in New Delhi with the Navy Chief as its first Chairman for the period 2008-2010.
The symposium seeks to increase maritime co-operation 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.
Apart from India, the Chairmanship of IONS has been occupied over the years by countries like the United Arab Emirates (UAE), South Africa, Australia, Bangladesh, and Iran.
The member nations have planned and conducted important seminars and other activities related to enhancing maritime security during their tenures.
The last 10 years, the organisation has grown significantly and boasts of membership of 32 nations, inclusive of eight observer-members, grouped in four littorals- South Asian, West Asian, East African, South East Asian and Australians.
Apart from fostering of maritime cooperation, the principle objectives of IONS are to promote a shared understanding of maritime issues being faced in the region, formulate strategies and cooperative mechanisms to enhance regional maritime security and strengthen capabilities and interoperability to ensure speedy response to requirements of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) in the IOR.
Chiefs of Navies, Heads of Maritime Agencies and representatives of 32 member and observer nations are expected to attend the celebrations at Kochi.
Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has been invited as the Chief Guest on the occasion.
The two-day event will include a seminar, a tall ship regatta, and release of a first-day cover, depicting '10 years of IONS'.
Keeping in tune with the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the theme for the seminar is SAGAR "Security and Growth for All in the Region".
Four Indian Navy sailing vessels will take part in the Tall Ship Regatta sailing event. The ships will undertake a sailing venture from Kochi to Muscat, re-tracing the ancient maritime trade routes from the Malabar Coast to Persian Gulf that catalysed the spread of Indian culture to the other parts of the world. (ANI)