While the Indian Navy was hosting the most talked about exercise of the maritime domain Malabar 2020 with the Navies of America, Japan and Australia, the multiple ships of the Indian Navy were already preparing to participate in at least three more exercises, in a week.
EXERCISE SIMBEX-20 IN ANDAMAN SEA
Indian Navy (IN) hosted the 27th edition of India-Singapore Bilateral Maritime Exercise SIMBEX-20 from 23 to 25 November 2020 in Andaman Sea. The SIMBEX series of exercises between IN and Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN), being conducted annually since 1994, are aimed at enhancing mutual inter-operability and imbibing best practices from each other. The scope and complexity of these exercises has increased steadily over the past two decades to include advanced naval drills covering a wide spectrum of maritime operations. The 2020 edition of SIMBEX witnessed participation by Indian Navy ships including destroyer Rana with integral Chetak helicopter and indigenously built corvettes Kamorta and Karmuk. In addition, IN submarine Sindhuraj and P8I maritime reconnaissance aircraft also participated in the exercise. RSN was represented by the ‘Formidable’ Class frigates ‘Intrepid’ and ‘Steadfast’ with integral S70B helicopter and ‘Endurance’ Class Landing Ship Tank ‘Endeavour’ in the exercise.
The exercise, conducted as a ‘non-contact, at sea only’ exercise in view of Covid-19 pandemic, highlights the high degree of mutual trust and confidence, synergy and cooperation in the maritime domain between the two friendly navies and maritime neighbours. SIMBEX-20 witnessed the two friendly navies participate in advanced surface, anti-air warfare and anti-submarine warfare exercises including weapon firings, over three days of intensive joint operations at sea. SIMBEX series of exercises exemplify the high level of coordination and convergence of views between India and Singapore, particularly in the maritime domain, towards enhancing the overall maritime security in the region and highlight their commitment to a rules-based international order.
EXERCISE SITMEX-20 IN ANDAMAN SEA
Indian Navy (IN) Ships including indigenously built ASW corvette Kamorta and missile corvette Karmuk participated in the 2nd edition of India, Singapore and Thailand Trilateral Maritime Exercise SITMEX-20, from 21 to 22 November 20 in Andaman Sea. The first edition of SITMEX, hosted by Indian Navy, was conducted off Port Blair in September 2019. The SITMEX series of exercises are conducted to enhance mutual interoperability and imbibing best practices between IN, Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) and Royal Thai Navy (RTN). The 2020 edition of the exercise was hosted by RSN.
RSN was represented by the ‘Formidable’ Class frigate ‘Intrepid’ and ‘Endurance’ Class Landing Ship Tank ‘Endeavour’ and RTN by the ‘Chao Phraya’ Class frigate ‘Kraburi’ in the exercise. The exercise conducted as a ‘non-contact, at sea only’ exercise in view of COVID-19 pandemic, highlights growing synergy, coordination and cooperation in the maritime domain between the three friendly navies and maritime neighbours. The two days of maritime drills witnessed the three navies participate in a variety of exercises including naval manoeuvres, surface warfare exercises and weapon firings. Besides improving interoperability between the friendly navies, SITMEX series of exercise also aim to strengthen mutual confidence and develop common understanding and procedures towards enhancing the overall maritime security in the region.
30TH INDO-THAI COORDINATED PATROL
The 30th edition of India-Thailand Coordinated Patrol (Indo-Thai CORPAT) between the Indian Navy and the Royal Thai Navy was held from 18-20 November 2020. Indian Naval Ship (INS) Karmuk, an indigenously built Missile Corvette and His Majesty’s Thailand Ship (HTMS) Kraburi, a Chao Phraya Class Frigate along with Dornier Maritime Patrol Aircraft from both the navies participated in the CORPAT. As part of Government of India’s vision of SAGAR (Security And Growth for All in the Region), the Indian Navy has been involved in assisting countries in the Indian Ocean Region with EEZ Surveillance, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR), and other capacity building and capability-enhancement activities, on their request. India and Thailand have especially enjoyed a close and friendly relationship covering a wide spectrum of activities and interactions, which have strengthened over the years.
To reinforce maritime links, the two navies have been carrying out CORPAT along their International Maritime Boundary Line twice a year since 2005, with the aim of keeping this vital part of the Indian Ocean safe and secure for commercial shipping and international trade. CORPAT builds up the understanding and interoperability between navies and facilitates institution of measures to prevent and suppress Illegal Unreported Unregulated (IUU) fishing, drug trafficking, maritime terrorism, armed robbery and piracy. It further enhances the operational synergy by exchange of information for prevention of smuggling, illegal immigration and for conduct of SAR operations at sea. The 30th Indo-Thai CORPAT contributed towards Indian Navy’s efforts to consolidate interoperability and forge strong bonds of friendship with the Royal Thai Navy.