• Recently, the 7th edition of Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) was hosted by the French Navy at Réunion island.
  • It is a biennial event which was conceived by the Indian Navy in 2008.

Important points:

  • The IONS is a voluntary and inclusive initiative that brings together navies of Indian Ocean Region littoral states to increase maritime co-operation and enhance regional security.
  • It also serves to develop an effective response mechanism and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) against natural disasters.
  • The chairmanship of IONS has been held by India (2008-10), UAE (2010-12), South Africa (2012-14), Australia (2014-16), Bangladesh (2016-18) and Islamic Republic of Iran (2018-21).
  • France assumed the Chairmanship in June 2021 for a two-year tenure.


  • IONS includes 24 member nations that touch or lie within the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), and 8 observer nations.
  • The members have been geographically grouped into the following four sub-regions:
  • South Asian Littorals: Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Pakistan, Seychelles, Sri Lanka and United Kingdom (British Indian Ocean Territory)
  • Iran, Oman, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates
  • East African Littorals: France (Reunion), Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa, and Tanzania.
  • South East Asian and Australian Littorals: Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Timor-Leste.


  1. Strengthening and deepening the relations with the Indian Ocean littoral states;
  2. Establishing its leadership potential and aspirations of being a net-security provider; and
  3. Fulfilling India’s vision of a rules-based and stable maritime order in the IOR.
  4. It will help India to consolidate its sphere of influence from the Straits of Malacca to Hormuz.
  5. IONS can be used to counter-balance the increasing presence of China in the region.


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