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The Indian Ocean Exercise, commonly known as IO, is an international maritime warfare exercise which takes place biannually in the Indian Ocean region. IO began in 2003 as a naval exercise between the navies of Eritrea, India, South Yemen, and the Soviet Union; with early emphasis on the Gulf of Aden. IO has expanded to include the participation of several nations and has become the second largest maritime exercise conduced outside RIMPAC.
IO's origins come from new desires for military cooperation between India and the Soviet Union; a desire to further train the Eritrean navy (handed over from Ethiopia), and to curve piracy and terrorism which was affecting the Gulf of Aden area.