DOHA (Dispatches) – Iran has invited Qatar to join naval exercises of the Indian Ocean littoral states in March.
Iran’s Navy chief Rear Admiral Muhammad Hussein Khanzadi made the proposal in a meeting with his Qatari counterpart here on Thursday.
"Iran Navy has invited the Qatari Navy to be an observer member during a joint drill which is supposed to be staged in the northern part of the Indian Ocean by mid-March,” Khanzadi stated.
The Iranian Navy is currently the president of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) summit.
Khanzadi said the Iranian Navy is ready to share its experiences with its Qatari counterpart.
The Qatari navy commander welcomed as valuable a plan according to which his country’s warships can visit Iranian ports for exchanging experiences.
The IONS is a voluntary initiative that seeks to increase maritime cooperation among navies of the littoral states of the Indian Ocean by providing an open and inclusive forum for discussion of regionally relevant maritime issues.
There are 32 navies at the IONS - 23 members and 9 observers. The member states include Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Iran, Oman, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Australia, Indonesia, Myanmar and Singapore.