The 3rd Meeting of Indian Ocean Naval symposium (IONS) Working Group on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) was inaugurated at Maritime Warfare Centre, Visakhapatnam by Rear Adm Mahesh Singh Chief Staff Officer (Operations) Eastern Naval Command on September 27, 2018. The two-day event was attended by IONS member nations including Australia, Bangladesh, France, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Oman and Thailand. The participants shared their experiences gained and lessons learnt during the conduct of various HADR operations by their Navies and deliberated on best practices that can be imbibed during Joint HADR operations in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
A Table Top Exercise was also held, simulating a real time scenario of a major disaster in the IOR and working out coordinated efforts an effective Joint HADR operation in the region. The event culminated in formulation of guidelines to render HADR assistance in future.
Initiated in 2008 by Indian Navy, IONS primarily seeks to enhance maritime cooperation amongst navies of the littoral states of the Indian Ocean by providing an open and inclusive forum for discussion on regionally relevant maritime issues and promotes friendly relationship among member nations. It presently has 24 members and eight observer navies.