The Navy’s quest to enlarge cooperation across the South and South East Asia region appears to be on course with countries that took part in Milan 2010 exercise expressing desire to return for bilateral engagements.

This is in addition to the requests from few other countries to be included in this biennial event. The current edition brought together representatives from 13 countries .

On Monday, 12 warships – three Indian and nine foreign – conducted a passage and steam past exercise on the high seas bringing the curtain down on the five-day event. The exercise included four ships, each led by an Indian ship leading a formation and with Landing Ship Tank (Large) INS Kesri under Commander Sunil Kumar being the lead ship. It was aimed at validating communication procedures and standard operating procedures of interoperability between ships of different Navies in the region.

Primary focus

The format of Milan exercise with primary focus on how these Navies can work together to mount humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations in times of need, also conducted a table top exercise to counter current challenges in the form of piracy, gun and drug running and illegal immigration was appreciated by foreign participants.

Commander Ismail Bin Othman said the participation of a Malaysian warship indicates the importance his country and its Navy attaches to India. He said that while piracy was going down in the region, Navies around the Straits of Malacca have to remain alert.

Explaining his participation, Commodore Ross Smith said the New Zealand Navy considers itself to be part of Asia-Pacific region and such interaction helps to share and understand each other’s capabilities and challenges.

Australian warship Commanding Officer, Lt. Cdr Shane Doolin, felt that joint operations could lead to all navies also working together to meet non-traditional challenges. The Australian Navy, he felt, was better equipped in areas such as surveillance and boarding, which was shared in the table top exercise in which operation teams from various ships were grouped in mixed syndicates.

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