The Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) working group’s meeting on Information Sharing & Interoperability, hosted by the Pakistan Navy, concluded on Wednesday. IONS is a multinational forum established in 2008. Pakistan became a member of the forum in March 2014. Currently chaired by the Pakistan Navy, the IONS working group consists of 10 member nations, including Australia, Bangladesh, France, India, Iran, Oman, Pakistan, Singapore, Thailand and the UAE.
During the two-day event, the working group discussed modes of sharing information and improving interoperability among IONS nations aimed at increasing maritime cooperation among the navies operating in the Indian Ocean Region. This was the second time Pakistan hosted IONS activities. In 2015, Pakistan Navy had hosted a similar IONS working group on information sharing and inter-operability along with an IONS preparatory workshop in Karachi.
On day one of the two-day meeting, Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Mohammad Fayyaz Gilani had highlighted the importance of the Indian Ocean for the global maritime community. Being an energy-rich region, the area faces security, human and environmental challenges, he had observed. Underscoring maritime threats, he said that maritime security challenges in the region emanate primarily from contemporary issues like maritime terrorism, piracy, and narcotics, arms and human smuggling.