Indian Navy joins Thailand, Singapore for SITMEX-20 naval exercise in Andaman sea

at 4:45 pm

New Delhi (NVI): Just days after the successful conduct of Malabar exercise, the Indian Navy has joined Thailand and Singapore for a trilateral exercise in the Andaman sea – SITMEX-20 – to improve inter-operability between the friendly navies and develop procedures towards enhancing the overall maritime security in the region.

Malabar-2020 maritime exercise witnessed the navies of four QUAD countries- India, Japan, US and Australia – participate in high-intensity naval operations including cross-deck flying operations and advanced air defence exercises.

Indian Navy (IN) Ships including indigenously built ASW corvette Kamorta and missile corvette Karmuk are participating in the 2nd edition of India, Singapore and Thailand Trilateral Maritime Exercise SITMEX-20, from 21 to 22 November in Andaman Sea, the Ministry of Defence said in a statement today.

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 inter-operability and imbibing best practices between IN, Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) and Royal Thai Navy (RTN). The 2020 edition of the exercise is being hosted by RSN, MoD said.

RSN is being 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, being 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 will witness the three navies participate in a variety of exercises including naval manoeuvres, surface warfare exercises and weapon firings,” MoD said in a release.

Besides improving inter-operability 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, it added.

Pertinent to mention here, that India is conducting regular naval drills in the Indo-Pacific region to counter China’s growing assertiveness and unilateralism in the region. The recently concluded Malabar exercise by QUAD grouping was also conducted while keeping China in mind. The exercise also took place amid escalating tensions between India and China over Ladakh border issue.