Navy's biggest war game begins in Andaman sea

Warships of 16 countries arrived in the waters of Andaman sea

Milan is a congregation of littoral navies conducted biennially by Indian Navy Milan is a congregation of littoral navies conducted biennially by Indian Navy

Amidst growing concerns of Chinese vessels floating in the Indian Ocean, warships of 16 countries arrived in the waters of Andaman sea to participate a major biennial exercise Milan, hosted by the Indian Navy.  

For the first time, Oman is also  participating in this exercise along with delegates from 18 countries under the flagship of INS Sahaydari with Fleet Commander Rear Admiral D.K. Tripathi.

Making it the largest gathering of warships since its inception in 1995, Exercise Milan will see the participation of 39 delegates from 16 countries. Owing to its internal political crisis, Maldives has withdrawn from the event, but ships from the participating countries from Asia Pacific and Indian Ocean Regions, namely Australia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand, have been berthed at the Naval and Haddo jetties.

According to the Indian Navy officials, the arrival of 11 foreign warships in Port Blair on Wednesday, has kick started the 10th edition of Milan, a biennial congregation of friendly navies. These ships were escorted into the harbour by the Indian naval ships Baratangand Bangaram and also the Fast Interceptor Crafts of the Andaman & Nicobar Command. 

Exercise Milan kicked off in the year 1995 as part of India's outreach to Southeast Asia under its Act East Policy. Only four countries—Singapore, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand—participated in the first event.

The theme of this year's exercise is "Friendship Across the Seas". The multilateral exercise at sea is organised with an aim to enhance regional cooperation for combating unlawful activities at sea. An international maritime seminar, cultural and social exchange, band concert, ship visit, sports and city parade are the highlights of Milan 2018.

According to Navy spokesperson Captain D.K. Sharma, Indian naval ships Sahyadri, Jyoti and Kirch from the Eastern Naval Command have also reached Port Blair to participate in this multilateral exercise.

On Wednesday, an international maritime seminar was conducted on Haddo, Port Blair, as part of Milan 18.

Based on the theme 'In pursuit of Maritime Good Order - Need for Comprehensive Importance Sharing Apparatus', the seminar was organised by the Naval Component under the aegis of Andaman & Nicobar Command, where eminent speakers deliberated upon various issues to evolve best practices for multilateral cooperation towards strengthening of maritime good order in IOR. 

Only last week, the Western Naval Command concluded its Ex-Paschim Lehar-2018 enabled testing and revalidation of operational plans and manoeuvres in a hostile maritime scenario on India's Western Seaboard.

Over 40 naval assets including the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, frontline ships of the Western Fleet and Eastern Fleet  (including the newly inducted Kolkata class ), submarines, potent missile vessels of the 22nd Killer Squadron, Patrol vessels and craft of the Local Flotilla and Indian Coast Guard participated in the exercise. In addition, intense flying activity by the carrier borne Mig 29 Ks, P-8Is, IL-38SDs, Dorniers as well as Remotely Piloted Aircraft also happened to be there with participation by the aircraft of the Indian Air Force. Maritime role Jaguars, Su-30 MKI, AWACS and Flight Refuellers participated in large numbers from different airfields in Gujarat, Maharashtra  and North India. An amphibious landing was also conducted, which included the participation of the 91 Infantry Brigade of the Indian Army.

Names of the ships from foreign nation

 Australia -HMAS Larrakia 

Bangladesh - BNS Dhaleshwari 

Indonesia -KRI Cut Nyak Dien and KRI Lemadang 

Malaysia - KD Lekiu 

Myanmar - UMS King Sin Phyu Shin & UMS Inlay 

Singapore - RSS Dauntless 

Sri Lanka - SLNS Samudura & SLNS Surnimila 

Thailand - HTMS Narathiwat