The seminar component of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) 2014 wrapped up today after a couple of days of intensive discussion and exchange of ideas by delegates of member nations and observers.
The IONS seminar, which was held in Perth after the RAN assumed chairmanship of IONS from the South African Navy, saw a number of speakers discuss issues that were common to nations that border the Indian Ocean.
Speaking at the closing session, Chief of Australian Navy Vice Admiral Ray Griggs said he had received excellent feedback on the quality of the presentations and the speakers over the past two days.
“I would like to thank all our speakers for taking the time to prepare their papers and for travelling here to deliver them,” he said.
“I would also like to thank the Secretariat of the South African Navy (SAN) for their assistance over the past few months, and for enabling a smooth transition between the SAN chairmanship and the beginning of the Australian chairmanship.”
Australian Minister for Defence Senator David Johnston, who also spoke at the final session, highlighted the importance of the ability to trade freely within the region, the theme of this year’s seminar.
“The passage of fuels, crude and natural gas, is crucial for many nations … our ability to trade freely, efficiently and reliably is fundamental to the prosperity and security of our nations,” he said.
Senator Johnston said the growing economic prosperity of the region was driving more extensive maritime trade within the Indian Ocean.
“To foster this growth, port infrastructure, ship security, the law of the sea and a healthy civilian shipping industry are simply crucial,” he said.
The Minister spoke about the many other common interests and issues which required a coordinated effort to ensure effective action was taken.
Senator Johnston said as the intensity of the use of the sea increases, the coordinated management of marine areas becomes increasingly important.
“The Indian Ocean Naval Symposium has great potential to play a positive role in the security architecture; I believe this will be of great advantage to all the nations of the region,” he said.
The Minister then declared the symposium closed. IONS, which was established in 2008, this year attracted representatives from 36 navies – Australia will chair the organisation for the next two years.
Press Release, March 28, 2014; Image: Australian Navy