France became the new president of this forum for the next two years and decided to lean this seventh edition towards environmental security. Other issues such as Maritime Security, Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Relief, Interoperability and Naval Cooperation are involved.
The Indian Ocean Naval Symposium, what is that?
Created in 2008, the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) is a series of meetings involving littoral states of the Indian Ocean. According to the website, this initiative seeks to increase maritime cooperation by providing open discussion about regionally maritime issues, general cooperation between naval professionals and cooperative solutions.
Presidency is held by one state member every two years.
Who is involved?
With four continents represented, 24 nations are members of the IONS and 8 nations have an observer status (China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Madagascar, Netherlands, Russia and Spain).
The IONS states members are grouped into four sub-regions:
- South Asian (Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Pakistan, Seychelles and Sri Lanka);
- West Asian (Iran, Oman, Saudi Arabia and UAE);
- East African (France, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Eritrea);
- South East Asian and Australian (Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Timor Leste).
All of these nations are dispatched in three working groups:
- Maritime Security;
- Information Sharing and Interoperability;
- Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Relief.
IONS faces many challenges in Indian Ocean.
Piracy remains an important threat to maritime security, especially closed to Somalia Coast and in the Strait of Malacca. Emergence of an Islamic State in the region of Palma, north of Mozambique, is another issue to take in consideration for global security in Mozambique Channel.
The growth of container ship (size and number), even a bit slow down by the Covid Crisis, requires a full cooperation between countries to monitor the traffic, avoid collision between ships and handle with environmental security to avoid maritime pollution.
Finally, the sea level rise and extreme weather events are main issues to island and littoral population, with high impact on human lives and country economy, where IONS can act in order to prevent humanitarian disaster.