By Praful Kumar Singh
New Delhi, Jan 21 : Naval Chiefs of 30 Indian Ocean Region (IOR) littoral countries will meet in New Delhi on February 14-15 to increase security, safety, stability and maritime cooperation in the region.
The Indian Navy will host heads/chiefs of navy of 29 IOR littoral countries. The theme of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) seminar 2008 is "Contemporary Trans-national Challenges-International Maritime Connectivity".
Through this seminar the Indian Navy aims to increase maritime cooperation in the IOR among navies/maritime agencies by providing a forum for discussion of issues, both regional and global. The Navy also wants to generate a flow of information and opinion between naval professionals.
The conclave of chiefs will discuss the charter of symposium, issues of membership, funds, observers and challenges before different navies, said Rear Admiral Pradeep Chauhan, Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Foreign cooperation and Intelligence).
The only country not likely to show up will be Somalia due to internal strife, Rear Admiral Chauhan added.
He told reporters that Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh would inaugurate the seminar.
Rear Admiral Chauhan said that "Milan 2008", which is presently being held at Port Blair is an endeavour to foster bonds of friendship across the seas and share views of maritime issues.
The "IONS 2008" is modelled roughly on the lines of the Western Pacific Naval Symposium (WPNS), and seeks to provide a regional forum through which the 'Chiefs-of-Navy' of all the littoral states of the IOR can periodically meet to constructively engage one another through the creation and promotion of regionally relevant mechanisms, events, and activities.
Even after the seminar's conclusion its proceedings, the 'Conclave-of-Chiefs', will continue, on February 15 and16, with the venue shifting to Goa. They will visit INS Hansa, the naval air station there.
The Naval chiefs of 29 countries will also witness India's foremost Defence Exhibition, 'DEFEXPO-2008', from February 16-19.