The 2017 International Multilateral Maritime Search and Rescue Exercise (IMMSAREX) was held in Bangladesh from November 26 to 28 2017.
The exercise is taking place under the aegis of Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS). It was inaugurated by Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina.
From India, Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba participated in the exercise to consolidate bilateral naval relations between India and Bangladesh and to explore new avenues for naval cooperation. Indian Naval Ships (INS) Ranvir, Sahyadri, Gharial and Sukanya along with one Maritime Patrol Aircraft P-8I participatied in the exercise.
Extraordinary Conclave of Chiefs (ECoC)’ meeting of IONS was also held. It focussed upon activities being undertaken by IONS in-addition to review progress made by three IONS Working Group (IWG)- Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster relief (HADR), Maritime Security and Information Exchange and Interoperability. The ships and aircraft of IONS members and observers including China (has observer status) and Pakistan also participated in exercise.
Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS)
The IONS is regional forum of Indian Ocean littoral states launched by India Navy in February 2008. It is voluntary initiative that seeks to increase maritime co-operation among navies of littoral states of Indian Ocean Region (IOR) by providing an open and inclusive forum for discussion of regionally relevant maritime issues.
It endeavours to generate flow of information between naval professionals that would lead to common understanding and possibly cooperative solutions on way ahead. There are 35 members – navies of IONS represented by heads of their navies. Under IONS charter of business adopted in 2014, the forum has working groups on HADR, IS&I and maritime security (anti-piracy).