New Delhi : 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 Mar 22. 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 15 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 Indian Ocean Region. 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 22 followed by a Sea Phase in the Arabian Sea from 28 to 30 March 22. The participation included warships, Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft and helicopters from the Navies of Bangladesh, France, India and Iran. 22 Observers from 15 IONS member navies, namely 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 also attended the post exercise debrief.

The exercise is seen as a significant stepping stone for regional navies to collaborate and respond collectively to natural disasters in the region and paves way for further strengthening regional cooperation.

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