Indian Ocean Naval Symposium

The Indian Ocean Naval Symposium, commonly known as IONS, is a forum to increase maritime cooperation among the littoral states of the Indian Ocean Region. The forum helps to preserve peaceful relations between nations, and thus is critical to building an effective maritime security architecture in the Indian Ocean Region and is also fundamental to our collective prosperity.

    The inaugural IONS Seminar was held by the Indian Navy in 2008. Subsequent seminars and meetings of the ‘Conclave of Chiefs’ have been held at the commencement of each two year IONS Chairmanship: United Arab Emirates in 2010, South Africa in 2012, Australia in 2014 and Bangladesh in 2016. In April 2018 the IONS Chairmanship rotates to Iran, and in 2020 to France.

    IONS includes 23 nations that permanently hold territory that abuts or lies within the Indian Ocean, and 9 observer nations:


    South Asian Littorals: Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Pakistan, Seychelles, Sri Lanka and United Kingdom (British Indian Ocean Territory)

    West Asian Littorals: Iran, Oman, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates

    East African Littorals: France (Reunion), Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa, and Tanzania.

    South East Asian and Australian Littorals: Australia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Timor-Leste.


    China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Madagascar, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Russia and Spain.


    The main point of contact for IONS is the IONS Secretariat. Please refer to the Navy of the current IONS Chair.

    The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) continues to participate in IONS and other naval multilateral fora including the long standing Western Pacific Naval Symposium. For further enquires or correspondence, the RAN International Engagement Team can be contacted via, or correspondence can be addressed to:

    Navy International Engagement

    Royal Australian Navy
    Russell Offices
    PO Box 7902
    Canberra BC ACT 2610