The fifth meeting of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) Working Group on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) is scheduled for 17 December. The meeting is being coordinated by Indian Navy, the Chair of the IONS Working Group on HADR. The meeting will be attended by Australia, Bangladesh, France, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Maldives, Oman and Thailand besides India.
A press statement by the Navy said that the IONS is a voluntary and inclusive initiative that brings together navies of Indian Ocean Region’s 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 Humanitarian Assistance & Disaster Relief (HADR), Maritime Security & Information Sharing and Inter-operability.
Owing to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting of IWG on HADR will be held via video conferencing. The event would be inaugurated by Director General Naval Operations, Indian Navy, Vice Admiral Dinesh K Tripathi. During the meeting, the participants would be sharing their experiences and lessons from HADR operations that they undertook in the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.