SITMEX 2020: India, Singapore and Thailand hold Naval Exercise

The trilateral Naval exercise, SITMEX-20 between India, Singapore and Thailand was held in the Andaman sea. The SITMEX-20 Naval exercise was scheduled in a “non-contact at sea only format” due to covid-19 restrictions. The main objective of the exercise is to increase the interoperability between the three navies. The exercise will also enhance multifaceted Maritime operations.

Apart from SITMEX, India and Singapore held SIMBEX-20 separately in the Andaman sea.

About the exercise

The exercise involved weapon firing on the surface, war at sea exercise, coordinated navigation operation and seamanship evolution. The Indian Navy was represented by INS Karmuk and INS Kamorta. The Singapore Navy was represented by RSS Intrepid, RSS Endeavour.  The Thailand Navy was represented by a Chao class frigate HTMS Kraburi.

The conduct of the trilateral naval exercise between India Singapore and Thailand was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Shangri La dialogue. The maiden edition of the exercise was held in 2019.

ASEAN

India became a dialogue partner of ASEAN in 1992. The trade between India and ASEAN has grown by 11.2% between 1993 and 2003. Much of India’s trade with ASEAN is from Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia.

India in the Indian Ocean region

India has been strengthening its presence in the Indian ocean region by signing defence cooperation agreements with countries in and around the region. Through these agreements Indian Naval ships can refuel, restock and rearm stopping at their bases. Also, India has been increasing its presence through Naval exercises. Apart from these measures, India is strengthening its submarines and aircraft fleet to increase the surveillance in the region. India recently (in November 2020) launched its ninth submarine killer aircraft P8-I. The aircraft was bought from US.

Apart from military exercises, India has been increasing its efforts under QUAD grouping. Currently the members of the grouping include India, United States, Australia and Japan. The countries have called for a free and open indo-pacific region in the recently held foreign ministers Summit.

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