New Delhi, Nov 11:
Navies of India and Singapore Saturday began a 12-day military exercise off the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal as part of their efforts to further solidify maritime security cooperation.
A number of frontline ships of the two navies are participating in the mega exercise — SIMBEX, an acronym for ‘Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercise’.
“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, he 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.
The Indian naval ships which are participating in the exercise include Ranvijay, Satpura, Sahyadri, Shakti, Kirch, Kadmatt, Sumedha and Sukanya.
Singapore Navy has sent a number of its frontline ships including Formidable, Steadfast, Unity, Valiant and Vigour.
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.
“The number of missiles and torpedo firings being undertaken are unprecedented and perhaps the largest the Indian Navy has undertaken with any foreign Navy till date,” said the Navy spokesperson.
He said 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.