The maiden edition of Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) Maritime Exercise 2022 (IMEX-22) was conducted at Goa and in Arabian Sea from 26-30 March 2022. The aim of the exercise was to enhance interoperability in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations among member navies. The exercise witnessed participation of 16 out of the 25 member nations of IONS.
The Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) established in 2007, is a premier forum for cooperation and collaboration among navies of littoral states of the IOR. The forum has enabled discussions on regional maritime issues, promoted friendly relationships, and significantly improved maritime security cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region.
IMEX-22 comprised a Harbour Phase at Marmugao port, Goa from 26 to 27 March 2022 followed by a Sea Phase in the Arabian Sea from 28 to 30 March 2022. The participation included warships, Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft and helicopters from the Navies of Bangladesh, France, India and Iran. Twenty-two Observers from 15 IONS member navies, including Australia, Bangladesh, France, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Qatar, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, UAE and UK also participated in the exercise. The participants validated the IONS HADR guidelines and developed response mechanisms for providing HADR from sea to shore as well as for rendering assistance to ships and crafts in distress at sea. The Chiefs of Indian and French Navies witnessed exercises during the sea phase of IMEX-22 and attended the post exercise debrief.
The exercise is seen as a significant steppingstone for regional navies to collaborate and respond collectively to natural disasters in the region and paves way for further strengthening regional cooperation.