Naval leaders from countries bordering the Indian Ocean will be meeting in Cape Town in April this year to discuss matters of common interest. The theme for the third Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) is “Regional Maritime Security Initiatives aimed at reducing Modern Maritime Security Threats”.
IONS is a voluntary initiative that seeks to increase maritime co-operation among navies of the littoral states of the Indian Ocean Region by providing an open and inclusive forum for discussion of regionally relevant maritime issues.
Hosted by Vice-Admiral Refiloe Mudimu, Chief of the South African Navy, the keynote address will be delivered by President Jacob Zuma. Speakers from around the world have been invited to address the Symposium. Almost 30 Chiefs of Navy, Coast Guard and maritime agencies are expected to attend.
IONS member states include Australia, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, France, Indonesia, India, Iran, Kenya, Kuwait, Malaysia, Madagascar, Myanmar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Maldives, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Singapore, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
With acts of piracy on the rise in the Horn of Africa and along the east coast of Africa, anti-piracy activities are expected to be at the forefront of discussions. Other matters to be discussed include international law of the sea and compliance, sharing of information and collaborative response. Recent tensions between Iran and regional countries may create an interesting dynamic.
The symposium is held every two years. The inaugural vent, in 2008, was held in New Delhi, India and the second in Abu-Dhabi. The South African Navy there took over the chairmanship for the 2012-14 period.
This year’s symposium will be at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from 11 to 13 April 2012.