New Delhi: Indian Navy-led fifth meeting of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) Working Group on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) has been concluded. The meeting, scheduled on December 17, was coordinated by Indian Navy being the Chair of the IONS Working Group on HADR. The meeting was attended by Australia, Bangladesh, France, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Maldives, Oman and Thailand.
The IONS is a voluntary and inclusive initiative that brings together navies of Indian Ocean Region (IOR) littoral states to increase maritime co-operation and enhance regional security. A co-operative forum for discussion on regional maritime issues, it also serves to develop an effective response mechanism against natural disasters. Instituted in 2008, the IONS initiative has grown significantly and presently enjoys wide acceptance across the Indian Ocean Region.
In the past few years, three IONS Working Groups (IWG) have been progressing work in the fields of HADR, Maritime Security & Information Sharing and Inter-operability.
Owing to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the upcoming meeting of IWG on HADR was scheduled through video conferencing. The event was inaugurated by Vice Admiral Dinesh K Tripathi, Director General Naval Operations (DGNO), Indian Navy. During the meeting, the participants shared their experiences including lessons learnt during the conduct of HADR operations undertaken in the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.