Maritime Security in Asia: Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS)
India’s Prime Minster, Dr. Manmohan Singh, has inaugurate the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) on February14, 2007. IONS, one of the biggest conglomerations of Navy heads, is aimed at evolving joint strategy to face maritime threat in the strategically significant region.
Twenty-nine nations are expected to participate in the symposium that will be conducted in two parts, with a two-day seminar here followed by a two-day conclave in Goa for the naval chiefs of the participating countries.
Delegations from Eritrea, Brazil, Seychelles, Kuwait, Qatar, Mauritius, Malagasy, Myanmar, Oman, Sri Lanka, the UAE, Kenya, Djibouti, Egypt, Mozambique, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Malaysia, Maldives, Indonesia, Australia, Thailand and France will attend the seminar.
The seminar is being jointly conducted by the Indian Navy and the National Maritime Foundation and will enable Indian Ocean nations to address their problems without external assistance.
Recent years had seen rise in crimes such as terrorism, piracy and smuggling of narcotics and arms in the ocean region and navies of the littoral states must cooperate with one another to prevent trans-national crimes on the high seas. Prime Minster Dr.Singh stated:
The perpetrators of these crimes are well-organised and well-funded trans-national syndicates who take full advantage of the vastness of oceans. The need for cooperation among the navies of the region in preventing such trans-national crimes is, therefore, of paramount importance
The Indian Ocean spans 15 million nautical sq miles, hosts a third of the world population and accounted for 40 per cent of the energy sources:
these are all the reasons why we must pool our resources and knowledge and act for the common good of all
Sea lanes of the region had emerged as one of the most important lines of communication in the world with container handling at the ports of Colombo, Mumbai, Chittagong, Bangkok and Port Klan (Malaysia) registering double digit growth.