India will host the largest four-day naval wargame, Milan-2010, involving 12 nations in the Asia Pacific region from Thursday, in which means to counter terror threats to coastal and island territories would be debated keeping in mind the attacks in Mumbai.
“There would be a discussion (during Milan-2010) on maritime terror and the means to counter the attacks like what happened in Mumbai,” Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Foreign Cooperation and Intelligence), Rear Admiral Sudharshan Shrikhande told reporters here on Monday.
The seventh edition of the biennial Milan, being organised by the Indian Navy at Port Blair since 1995, would have nine naval ships from eight countries and representatives from four others participating in a tabletop exercises, apart from a passage exercise at sea and a seminar on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) from February 4 to February 8.
“The amount of patrolling required for preventing the 26/11 type of attacks in other countries too is the same as in India. So, these issues will be discussed,” Rear Adm. Shrikhande said to a query in this regard.
Among other issues to be discussed would be illegal entry of foreign ships into the waters of the respective countries, just as India had experienced when a North Korean vessel anchored off Andaman and Nicobar Islands last year and had to be apprehended.
Naval ships from Australia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore (two ships), Sri Lanka and Thailand, with representatives from Navies of Brunei, Philippines, Vietnam and New Zealand would join the exercise.
A seminar on ‘Navies in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief’ would be addressed by Indian Naval Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma and inaugurated by Andaman and Nicobar Lieutenant Governor Lt Gen Bhopinder Singh.
India will be represented by four or five ships including its largest Landing Ship Tank and a Fast Attack Craft in the exercise.
Australia would bring its warship HMAS Glenenelg patrol boat for the wargame.
However, there would be no fire power demonstration during the wargame, he said.
“Milan, which started as a small effort with participation from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Indonesia, has today grow into a 13 navies grouping in the Asia Pacific. Only Cambodia will not be attending this time.
Indian Coast Guard too will send its ships and officers for the exercise,” he added.
“The message from the grouping is one of need for maritime cooperation for navies to share knowledge and expertise on their own operational circumstances and to know each other’s operating procedures so that there can be coordinated efforts in times of need,” Rear Adm. Shrikhande said.
He said already Indian Navy was coordinating with Indonesia and Thailand for a structured joint patrol along each other’s maritime borders for about two or three times a year.