Navies of India and Singapore on Saturday has kickstarted a 12-day maritime combat drills off the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal as part of their efforts to further solidify maritime security cooperation.
The 25th edition of the SIMBEX - Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercise, featured a number of frontline ships of the two countries in the mega exercise, a treat for the onlookers.
“The exercise at sea this year will be unprecedented and largest in terms of the complexity and weapon firings,” Navy Spokesperson Capt D K Sharma said.
Started in 1994, the SIMBEX has graduated into a complex maritime combat drills featuring missile and torpedo firings as well as shore-based intensive professional exchanges, Capt Sharma said.
In sync with deepening defence cooperation between India and Singapore, the navies of the two countries have expanded their ties significantly in the last few years.
According to official report, the exercise will feature “highest numbers” of platforms being fielded by both sides.
“Over the years the two navies have increased their interoperability to a level that could be matched by few other navies,” said Capt Sharma.
The Indian naval ships which are participating in the exercise include Ranvijay, Satpura, Sahyadri, Shakti, Kirch, Kadmatt, Sumedha and Sukanya.
While Singapore Navy has sent a number of its frontline ships including Formidable, Steadfast, Unity, Valiant and Vigour.
During the drills, according to official report, local Flotilla ships based at Port Blair would be ensuring seafront security including in the exercise areas towards smooth conduct of the exercise.
Maritime Patrol Aircraft of both countries - the versatile P8I of the Indian Navy and Fokker F50 from Singapore would also be part of the exercise, said Capt Sharma.
During the harbour phase, in addition to operational conferences towards preparation of the sea phase of the exercises in the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal, courtesy calls by both sides on the Senior Officers are also scheduled.