Muscat: The Royal Yacht Zinat al Bihaar, accompanied by the Indian naval ships INS Tarangini, INS Sudharshini arrived at the Port Sultan Qaboos in Muscat on Thursday.
The Ships have undertaken a sailing expedition from Kochi to Muscat, re-tracing the ancient maritime trade routes from the Malabar Coast to the Gulf, that catalyzed the spread of cultures to all parts of the world and brought high levels of prosperity to the region.
Speaking to the Observer, the naval officers from Oman said the co-commander of Zinat al Bihaar said that it has been a wonderful experience for the sailors. “Many of our sailors have been trained in Kochi, India, so there has been a strong camaraderie between the sailors from both sides,” he said.
On November 13, 2018, the Indian Navy conducted a seminar at Kochi. This, was followed, by the joint sailing expedition, with and the Royal Yacht Zinat Al Bihaar.
Three ships were given a special reception on arrival at the port by the chief guest, Nasser bin Hamoud bin Ahmed al Kindi, Secretary General of Royal Court Affairs, Sanjay Mitra, Defence Secretary of India to the ceremony.
The Omani and Indian ships were taking part in the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium, commonly known as IONS, which launched in February 2008, as 21st century’s first maritime security initiative.
IONS is a voluntary initiative, that seeks to increase maritime co-operation among navies, of the littoral states of the Indian Ocean Region, by providing an open and inclusive forum for discussion of regionally relevant maritime issues.
Among the 36 countries in the Indian Ocean, which have been geographically grouped into four sub-regions, IONS has 24 members and 08 observer nations.
In the process, it endeavours to generate a flow of information between naval professionals that would lead to common understanding and possible co-operative solutions on the way ahead.
The very fact that this important regional initiative gained wide acceptance across the length and breadth of the Indian Ocean, has been a unique phenomenon.
The inaugural IONS -2008, was held in New Delhi, under India’s Chairmanship. The current chair of IONS is Iran, and will be handed over to France.