India Hosts Mega Naval Exercise In Visakhapatnam, 50 Nations Participating
NEW DELHI, Feb 19: India on Monday kick-started a nine-day mega naval exercise in Visakhapatnam with the participation of around 50 navies that came amid the fractious geopolitical environment including growing global concerns over the deteriorating security situation in the Red Sea.
Navies from the US, Japan, Australia, France, Bangladesh, South Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia, among others, are participating in the 12th edition of the 'Milan' exercise that aims to bolster maritime cooperation among like-minded nations.
The exercise commenced with the arrival of 15 warships and one maritime patrol aircraft from friendly foreign countries.
From the Indian Navy, nearly 20 ships including aircraft carriers Vikrant and Vikramaditya and nearly 50 aircraft including MiG 29K, Light Combat Aircraft Tejas and P-8I long-range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft are participating in the exercise.
Milan is a biennial multinational naval exercise which started in 1995 with the participation of Indonesia, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand in consonance with India's 'Look East' policy. The exercise flourished under the aegis of Andaman and Nicobar Command till its 10th edition.
The harbour phase of the exercise is from February 19 to 23. The sea phase featuring various complex drills and manoeuvres will be from February 24 to 27.
The formal opening ceremony will take place on Wednesday, Navy officials said.
The harbour phase includes the opening ceremony, international city parade, international maritime seminar, Milan Tech Expo and table top exercise, among others.
During the sea phase, the participating navies will conduct advanced air defence, anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare drills, the officials said.
Gunnery shoots on aerial and surface targets, manoeuvres and underway replenishment would also be conducted.
The naval exercise will involve large-force manoeuvres, advanced air defence operations, anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface operations, the officials said.
"Milan 2024 aims to strengthen regional cooperation and maritime security, foster interoperability and understanding between participating navies and provide a platform for sharing best practices and expertise," Indian Navy spokesperson Vivek Madhwal said.
India's growing strategic importance in the Indo-Pacific region has further elevated the significance of the Milan exercise, he said, adding it has become an attractive platform for nations to build partnerships, exchange ideas, and enhance maritime security.
The previous edition of the exercise took place in 2022 in Visakhapatnam.