The next round of Ind-Indo Corpat, coordinated patrol of the international maritime boundary line by Indian and Indonesian navies twice every year, is growing in scale. Lieutenant Colonel Amrin Rosihan, commanding officer of Indonesian anti-submarine warfare vessel KRI Sutanto which is docked at the Haddo Wharf in Port Blair as part of the ongoing Milan series of interactions, told The Hindu aboard the vessel on Thursday that from the forthcoming cycle of the patrol in April this year, it would turn into a joint exercise with more number of vessels participating from either side.

“The exercise will help develop interoperability and strengthen Navy-to-Navy ties,” Lt. Col. Rosihan said.

Held yearly in April and October, the Corpat has so far had both Navies dispatch two ships each for joint patrol of the seas against piracy, armed robbery, poaching, illegal immigration, drug trafficking, and human trafficking. The Commander-in-Chief of the joint Andaman Nicobar Command will declare the maiden joint exercise open. Launched at the turn of the millennium in line with India's 'look-east' policy and renewed interest in strengthening ties with countries in South East Asia, the India-Indonesia joint naval exercise

will take place on the heels of a multilateral maritime exercise, Komodo hosted by the Indonesian Navy at Batam between March and April. A total of 18 navies are slated to take part in the exercise aimed at strengthening maritime cooperation.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Commander Syahnaz bin Abas, executive officer of the Royal Malaysian Navy's new generation patrol vessel KD Kelanto, told The Hindu that human trafficking was a serious concern for Navies in South East Asia. “Joint patrols with the Royal Australian Navy have brought some let up in human trafficking, but it continues nevertheless,” he said.

He said the Royal Malaysian Navy and the Indian Navy shared close cooperation in training personnel. Himself an alumnus of Indian Navy's Anti-Submarine Warfare in Kochi, Lt. Cdr bin Abas said both navies shared quite a bit of operational and tactical information. “I believe India has its own policy to counter Chinese aggression in South China Sea. It's a concern shared by almost every South East Asian Navy, which is what brings us together. But all countries including China would do well to come together to diplomatically resolve issues,” he said. Milan on Thursday witnessed an aerobatic display by Indian Air Force.

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