India-Singapore biggest war drill underway

As many as 16 warships and submarines from India and Singapore accompanied by aircraft and helicopters from both sides will undertake a series of manoeuvres in the 25th edition of Simbex. DH Photo

In its 25th year, India and Singapore have undertaken their biggest and most complex bilateral naval exercise Simbex in the Bay of Bengal.

As many as 16 warships and submarines from India and Singapore accompanied by aircraft and helicopters from both sides will undertake a series of manoeuvres in the 25th edition of Simbex that began in the Andaman Sea on Thursday.

Once the island leg of the exercise is over, the ships and submarines would move to Visakhapatnam on the east coast where the final phase of the drill would be conducted between November 19 to 21.

The bilateral war drill coincides with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Singapore next week for the East Asian Summit, where Modi is likely to have a one-on-one interaction with his Singapore counterpart Lee Hsien Loong.

Simbex, 2018 will witness a diverse range of exercises at sea ranging from live weapon drills including multiple missile firings, heavyweight torpedo, and medium range gun and anti-submarine rocket firings; advanced anti-submarine warfare exercises, submarine rescue demonstrations; integrated surface and anti-air warfare, unmanned aerial vehicle operations and cross deck helicopter flying among others.

 “The number of missiles and torpedo firings being undertaken are in fact unprecedented and perhaps the largest the Indian Navy has undertaken with any foreign navy till date, indicative of the growing trust and operational comfort between the two navies,” an Indian Navy spokesperson said in a statement.

Indian Navy would field nine ships and submarines including destroyer INS Ranvijay, stealth frigate INS Satpura and INS Sahyadri and the Kilo class submarine INS Sindhukirti. Singapore Navy, on the other hand, has come with six warships and submarines besides a deep sea rescue vehicle.

With Indian Navy too acquiring its own DSRV, the exercise would offer learning opportunities to the marine force on the east coast on how to rescue distressed submarines.

In June, the two countries signed a logistics support agreement for each others’ warships, submarines and naval aircraft.

India and Singapore share special military relationship as the city-state is the only country in the world for which the doors of Indian military training establishments are always open.

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India-Singapore biggest war drill underway

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