Kochi, Nov 13 (PTI): The 10th anniversary celebrations of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) commenced here Tuesday with the release of a ‘Special Cover’.

The commemorative Special Cover depicts a map of the Indian Ocean and littoral countries of the IOR, signifying the geopolitical importance of the region.

“It also has a sail-boat that majestically symbolises the importance of ancient trade routes used by the natives of the region to establish trade and socio-cultural links with the countries in the region,” a defense release said.

The national flags of member nations form an integral part of the cover and symbolise the support and cooperation of these countries the common cause of maritime security, goodwill and growth in the region.

The special cover was released by the Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Sunil Lanba at the Lulu International Convention Centre here in the presence of Fisheries Minister Mercy Kutty Amma, Post Master General, Northern Region, Jithendra Gupta and Commander of Islamic Republic of Iran Navy, Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi.

Chiefs of navies of Bangladesh, Iran, Japan, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Netherlands, South Africa and the UAE, as well as senior delegates from 16 other IONS member nations are attending the IONS anniversary celebrations.

The release of the Special Cover was followed by a seminar,wherein eminent guest speakers exchanged views on ways to address emerging maritime threats in the IOR, leverage IONS for better coordination Andrew resource sharing and enhance Maritime Domain Awareness in the region, the release said.

A total of 16 papers were presented over three sessions.

Bilateral meetings among chiefs of participating navies were also held on the sidelines of the seminar, where issues of common concern were discussed.

The IONS is an extremely significant regional maritime security initiative launched by India in February 2008 to attain collectively beneficial maritime security outcomes within the Indian Ocean by providing an open and inclusive forum for discussion of regionally relevant maritime issues, it said.

IONS endeavours to generate a flow of information among naval professionals, resulting in common understanding and possible agreements on the way ahead to tackle common concerns.

The outcome of the discussions could thereafter be implemented through agreements to enhance of regional maritime security, the release said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.