Indian Ocean Naval Symposium’s (IONS) maiden International Maritime Search and Rescue Exercise (IMMSAREX) will be held in November 2017 in the Bay of Bengal under the chairmanship of Bangladesh.
The ships and aircraft of the members and observers of the IONS including China, India and Pakistan will participate in the exercise. In addition, Bangladesh is also scheduling to host “extraordinary conclave of Chiefs,” a meeting of chiefs of Navy of IONS members before it hands over the Chair to Iran.
The side-by-side participation of the Indian and Chinese Navies in IMMSAREX exercise will come amid growing India’s skepticism of Chinese naval activities in the Indian Ocean region (IOR) and establishment of China’s first overseas base at Djibouti. India has considerably expanded its engagement with countries to further its own interests as well as to check the rapid expansion of Chinese naval forays in the IOR. Other countries in the region are also engaged in rapid expansion of their military capabilities.
About Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS)
The IONS is a regional forum of Indian Ocean littoral states launched by India in February 2008. It is a voluntary initiative that 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.
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.These states are represented by the heads of their navies.
Under the IONS charter of business adopted in 2014, the forum has working groups on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR), Information Security and Interoperability (IS&I) and maritime security (anti-piracy).
Members to IONS
There are 35 members – navies of the IONS which have been geographically grouped into the following four sub-regions:
- South Asian Littorals: India, Bangladesh, Maldives, Pakistan, Seychelles and Sri Lanka
- West Asian Littorals: Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Yemen
- East African Littorals: Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Eriteria, France, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan and Tanzania
- South East Asian and Australian Littorals: Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Timor Leste.
- Observer Countries: China, Japan etc.