The 8th edition of Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) Conclave of Chiefs (CoC) was conducted by Royal Thai Navy at Bangkok, Thailand from 19 – 22 Dec 23. Chiefs of Navies/ Senior Delegates from 27 Members/ Observer countries participated in the event. Admiral R Hari Kumar, Chief of the Naval Staff, attended the event with a three member Indian Naval delegation.
During the Conclave of Chiefs, Thailand assumed the duties of Chair of IONS and Work Plan for next two years was finalised. As a first, Flag designed by India was selected as the IONS Flag. India also took over as the co-Chair of IONS Working Groups on Maritime Security and HADR for the forthcoming cycle. Republic of Korea Navy was welcomed by the Conclave as the latest ‘Observer’, raising the collective strength of IONS to 34 (25 Members & 09 Observers).
During the Conclave, CNS, IN held fruitful interaction with the host, Adm Adoong Pan-Iam, Commander-in-Chief, Royal Thai Navy and complimented him for taking over Chairmanship of IONS. Both Leaders expressed commitment towards sustaining an upward trajectory of Bilateral Defence engagements including naming of IN – RTN Bilateral based on historical and cultural connect. Further, he also interacted with Heads of Delegation from Australia, Bangladesh, France, Iran, Italy, Malaysia, Maldives, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Spain, and discussed bilateral maritime issues. On the side-lines of Conclave, the CNS also visited Indian Naval Ship Kadmatt, at Bangkok, and interacted with the ship’s crew, commending them for successful long range deployment.
IONS was conceived by the Indian Navy in 2008 as a forum which seeks to enhance maritime cooperation among Navies of the littoral states of the Indian Ocean Region by providing an open and inclusive platform for discussions on regionally relevant maritime issues that would lead to common understanding on the way ahead. The inaugural edition of IONS was held in Feb 2008 at New Delhi, with Indian Navy as the Chair for two years (2008 – 2010). India is also scheduled to take over as the Chair of IONS (2025-27) during 9th CoC planned to be conducted in India in end 2025.