The SITMEX series of exercises are conducted to enhance mutual inter-operability and imbibing best practices between Indian Navy, Republic of Singapore Navy and Royal Thai Navy
NEW DELHI: Close on the heels of the Indian Navy teaming up with its counterparts from the US, Japan and Australia for the Malabar exercise in the Bay of Bengal and thArabian Sea, the Navy has joined with forces from Thailand and Singapore for a trilateral exercise in the Andaman Sea.
India’s naval ships including the indigenously built ASW (anti submarine warfare) corvette Kamorta and missile corvette Karmuk are participating in the second edition of the two-day India, Singapore and Thailand Trilateral Maritime Exercise SITMEX-20, a statement from the Indian Navy said. The two-day exercises, hosted by the Singapore Navy, end on Sunday.
The first edition of SITMEX was hosted by Indian Navy and conducted off Port Blair in September 2019.
The SITMEX series of exercises “are conducted to enhance mutual inter-operability and imbibing best practices between IN(Indian Navy), Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) and Royal Thai Navy (RTN)," it said.
The RSN is being represented by the ‘Formidable’ Class frigate “Intrepid" and “Endurance" Class Landing Ship Tank “Endeavour" and the RTN by the ‘Chao Phraya’ Class frigate Kraburi in the exercise, the Indian statement.
The exercise “highlights growing synergy, coordination and cooperation in the maritime domain between the three friendly navies and maritime neighbours," it said. “The two days of maritime drills will witness the three navies participate in a variety of exercises including naval manoeuvres, surface warfare exercises and weapon firings," the statement added.
Earlier this month, the Indian Navy joined forces with its Australian, Japanese and US counterparts for a two phase exercise – the first time that all the four came together for such manoeuvres. While India and the US began joint naval exercises codenamed Malabar exercises in 1992, Japan joined the duo in 2015. The Australian Navy was admitted into the Malabar exercises this year after India green-lighted its participation. It came in the midst of an unprecedented military standoff between India and China along the Ladakh border and signaled New Delhi’s willingness to overlook Chinese sensitivities on the matter. Australia had previously expressed its willingness to join the Malabar exercises but New Delhi’s caution vis a vis Beijing was seen as the main reason for Canberra holding back.
With Australia joining in, this was the first time navies of the so-called “Quad" countries jointly executed military manoeuvres at sea.
In a speech last week at an event organized by Indonesian and Australian think tanks, Indian foreign minister S Jaishankar had noted that "every era produces its own strategic concepts and analytical constructs", with the Indo-Pacific being the product of the current one with a “rebalancing of the global order" and the shifting of the economic centre of the gravity of the world to Asia.
“Issues like maritime security, transparent and market-based connectivity or counter-terrorism require" intensified cooperation among countries, he said adding later that groupings like the “Quad" that go “beyond alliances and working arrangements" that are “more flexible and imaginative than before" have emerged.
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