Friday, April 12, 2024

Russia, Iran navies train in India alongside vessels from US, Europe

India has kick-started a nine-day mega naval exercise in Visakhapatnam with participation of around 50 navies that came amid the fractious geopolitical environment including growing global concerns over deteriorating situation in the Red Sea.

The naval exercises hosted by New Delhi will feature over 50 countries, including the US, UK, France, Germany, Japan, Australia, South Korea, Vietnam, and Indonesia, as well as Iran, Russia, Yemen, Qatar, and Iraq. The timing is crucial, with some of participants having deployed vessels to the Red Sea amid tensions surrounding the Gaza war.

Around 20 warships and submarines, maritime patrol aircrafts, and helicopters will take part in the drills, which will last until February 27.

“The central aim of MILAN 2024 is to enhance professional interaction between friendly navies and gain experience in multilateral large force operations at sea,” the Indian government announced.

Indian Navy chief R Hari Kumar told the media on Monday that his country is undertaking major anti-piracy and anti-drone operations in the North Arabian Sea and Red Sea amid the crisis.

“We are cooperating with friendly foreign navies, largely for information exchange. We are the largest resident naval power in the Indian Ocean region. We are not going to permit anybody to disrupt the security, stability and safety in this region,” he stated.

This year is the 12th edition of the MILAN exercises, which started back in 1995. The drills will involve harbor and sea phases, with the latter running from February 24 to 27 and including air defense exercises, anti-submarine maneuvers, and anti-surface warfare drills. Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh will hold talks with delegates from the participating nations on maritime issues of mutual concern, and will exchange potential solutions.

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