Rise in India-ASEAN naval games

In the latest, a bilateral exercise will be held with Indonesia in the Java Sea

Updated - June 11, 2018 03:09 pm IST

Published - June 10, 2018 09:28 pm IST - New Delhi

 INS Kulish, a Kora class missile corvette during the India-Indonesia Coordinated Patrol exercise at Belawan, Indonesia. Photo: Twitter/@indiannavy

INS Kulish, a Kora class missile corvette during the India-Indonesia Coordinated Patrol exercise at Belawan, Indonesia. Photo: Twitter/@indiannavy

India is instituting a series of bilateral and multilateral naval exercises with Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries as part of the increasing military-to-military cooperation. This is in addition to assisting the countries in capacity-building and sale of military hardware.

Later this month, the Navies of India and Indonesia will hold their first bilateral exercise in the Java Sea. India will stage a new trilateral exercise with Thailand and Singapore soon.

Beyond patrols

The bilateral with Indonesia is in addition to the Coordinated Patrol (CORPAT) that the two sides conduct. The 31st edition of CORPAT concluded on June 9 in which India had deployed INS Kulish , a Kora class missile corvette, and one Dornier maritime patrol aircraft.

“The visit of the INS Kulish seeks to underscore India’s peaceful presence and solidarity with friendly countries towards ensuring good order in the maritime domain and to strengthen existing bonds between India and Indonesia,” the Indian Navy said in a statement.

The bilateral with Indonesia will be held after the conclusion of the Malabar trilateral naval war games between India, Japan and the U.S. which is underway off the coast of Guam. Interestingly, two of the ships participating in Malabar will head to the Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC), the world’s largest multilateral exercise, hosted by the U.S. biennially off the Hawaii islands.

The new trilateral naval exercise with Thailand and Singapore was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his key note address at the Shangri-La dialogue in Singapore. The dates and modalities of the exercise are being worked out, a defence source said.

During Mr. Modi’s bilateral discussion in Singapore — which has emerged as an important partner in the region, the two sides exchanged the implementation agreement for the logistics pact signed last year under the bilateral naval agreement which improves the Navy’s operational turnaround.

“The implementation agreement for the India, Singapore mutual logistics support details the administrative support for ships and aircraft at their bases,” an official source said. This is the latest in a series of logistics support agreements concluded recently in the Indo-Pacific which will improve logistics and operational support.

Similarly, the Navy recently conducted maiden bilateral exercises with Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. “The Indian Navy has had extensive interactions with Vietnam People’s Navy, particularly in training, repairs, maintenance and logistics support aimed at capacity building,” the Navy said recently on the exercise with Vietnam.

India is also looking at a new multilateral exercise with ASEAN which was agreed during the visit of Singapore Defence Minister Dr. Ng Eng Hen to India in November 2017.

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