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Navy Chief Admiral Lanba begins 5-day visit to Iran

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NEW DELHI (PTI): Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba on Sunday began a five-day visit to Iran, where he would attend a conclave of major naval powers of the region and explore ways to deepen engagement between navies of the two countries.

The sixth edition of Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) and Conclave of Chiefs will be held in Tehran from April 23 to 25, the Indian Navy said.

The IONS, which began in 2008 following an initiative by India, has grown into a major naval forum of the region with 23 countries as members and nine nations as observers.

"The visit of the Chief of the Naval Staff is also aimed at consolidating bilateral naval relations between India and Iran and to explore new avenues for naval cooperation," it said in a statement.

Admiral Lanba will also hold bilateral discussions with the Commander of Iranian Navy and Navy chiefs of several other nations on the sidelines of the IONS.

The IONS was conceived by the Indian Navy in 2008. The aim of the initiative was to enhance maritime cooperation among navies of the littoral states of the Indian Ocean Region by providing an open and inclusive forum for discussion on regionally relevant maritime issues.

The inaugural edition of IONS was held in February 2008 in New Delhi, with Indian Navy as the Chair for two years.

Admiral Lanba is leading a four-member Indian delegation for the event in Tehran.

"A relatively young forum, barely in its 10th year of existence, the IONS has grown into a formidable organisation with 23 members and nine observers. As the founder nation, India will also be conducting commemorative activities in November 2018 at Kochi, to celebrate its 10th Anniversary this year," the Navy said.

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