The Royal Australian Navy is currently chairing the group of world navies whose nations share boundaries with the Indian Ocean at he biennial Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) which was established in 2008 as a forum to increase maritime cooperation among the littoral states of the Indian Ocean region.
Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, AO, CSC, RAN, was handed Chairmanship of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium group by Rear Admiral (Junior Grade) Sagaren L Pillay SM, MMM representing the former chair, Vice Admiral Mosiwa Samuel Hlongwane of the South African Navy, at the opening in Perth, Western Australia.
IONS 2014 was officially opened by the Senator the Honourable Michaela Cash, who delivered the keynote address. Over the next three days, the participating navies will discuss issues affecting the Indian Ocean, with a specific emphasis on protecting the ability to trade in the Indian Ocean maritime economy.
“The Indian Ocean is one of the most strategically important bodies of water in the world, specifically with regard to trade. Security and stability in the Indian Ocean is vital to Australia’s economy and our way of life,” Vice Admiral Griggs said.
“Security in the Indian Ocean is a responsibility shared between all of the nations that have a maritime border on this strategically important body of water. Bringing all of these nations together to work in partnership is about working smarter to achieve our mission.”
IONS includes more than 35 attendees and 23 member nations from four regional sub-groups known as the South Asian Littorals, West Asian Littorals, East African Littorals and South East Asian and Australian Littorals.
Those world navies that have a strategic interest in the Indian Ocean region are also invited to participate as observers at the biennial seminars and annual workshops.
The IONS chair position rotates biennially through the four regional sub groups. The seminar and Conclave of Chiefs in Perth this week mark the Royal Australian Navy’s first official duty as chair nation.