The 10th anniversary celebrations of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) commencedwith release ofthe 'Special Cover' by the Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Sunil Lanba, PVSM, AVSM, ADC on November 13, 2018 at Lulu International Convention Centre, Kochi in the presence of Fisheries, Harbour Engineering and Cashew Industries Minister of Kerala, Smt Mercy KuttyAmma, the Post Master General (PMG), Northern Region, Shri Jithendra Gupta and the Commander of Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) Navy Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi. The commemorative Special Cover of IONS 10th Anniversary celebrations depicts a map of the Indian Ocean and littoral countries of the IOR, signifying the geopolitical importance of the region. It also has a sail-boat that majestically symbolises the importance of ancient trade routes used by the natives of the region to establish trade and socio-cultural links with the countries in the region.
The national flags of member nations form an integral part of the cover and symbolise the support and cooperation of these countries the common cause of maritime security, goodwill and growth in the region.Chiefs of Navies of Bangladesh, Iran, Japan, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Netherlands, South Africa and the UAE as well as senior delegates from 16 other IONS member nations are attending the IONS anniversary celebrations.
The release of the Special Cover was followed by a seminar wherein eminent guest speakers exchanged views on the ways to address emerging maritime threats in the IOR, leverage the IONS for better coordination and resource sharing, and enhance Maritime Domain Awareness in the region. A total of 16 papers were presented over three sessions.
Bilateral meetings among Chiefs of participating navies were also held on the sidelines of the seminar wherein issues of common concern were discussed.
The IONS is an extremely significant regional maritime security initiative launched by India in February 2008 to attain collectively beneficial maritime security outcomes within the Indian Ocean by providing an open and inclusive forum for discussion of regionally relevant maritime issues. IONS endeavours to generate a flow of information among naval professionals resulting in common understanding and possible agreements on the way ahead to tackle common concerns. The outcomes of the discussions could thereafter be implemented through agreements to enhance of regional maritime security.